Portland Running Out of Money to Maintain the Portland Building

The Portland Building is notorious worldwide for the garish pastel facade towering over the Portlandia statue. Now the city worries it won't have the savings to keep the building and others owned by the city running as they should be.

A city finance official warns that Portland is saving just half the money it needs to maintain its buildings and technology, and within five years could face a "loss of functionality."

Bryant Enge, director of the city's Bureau of Internal Business Services, warned at a budget meeting this Monday that the city is collecting $4.8 million of the $8.8 million it annually needs to maintain its properties.

"I would be concerned about the performance of our employees," Enge told a meeting of the Office of Management and Finance's advisory committee. "If it gets to be a life, health and safety issue, we may need to issue a bond."

Enge singled out the Portland Building—which houses city bureau offices from parks to transportation—as a property the city might not have funds to restore. Officials are currently evaluating the state of the 1982 building, and Enge said they might need to issue another bond for an exterior restoration project.

His warning comes with all city bureaus instructed by City Council to trim 10 percent from their budgets to make up a $25 million-a-year shortfall in the city's five-year financial forecast.

Along with building maintenance, OMF has whipped up a list of five other "significant issues" bureau officials should bear in mind when trimming their budgets.