$6.4 Million in One-Time Money is On the City Hall Chopping Block

Mayor Charlie Hales is entering city budget season facing a much-publicized $25 million shortfall. But the hole could be bigger than that.

Last year's city budget included $13.7 million in one-time funding for a swath of projects. "One-time funding" doesn't mean a project isn't coming back for another round of money. It just means the expense isn't factored into the general-fund budget each year.

Last year's $13.7 million included one big-ticket request: then-Mayor Sam Adams' famous $6.6 million contribution to Portland Public Schools. The school system isn't expected to come asking again this year.

But that leaves more than $6.4 million paid to recipients the city expects to hear from again.

A summary of those one-time expenses has been making the rounds at City Hall. WW has obtained a copy. You can read it here.

Of the $6.4 million, some were high-profile giveaways to groups outside city government: $248,000 for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, $100,000 for the Oregon Food Bank, and $70,000 for the Rose Festival. But the list is deeper than that.

Any list of one-time budget expenses is a good indicator of a mayor's priorities, and this one shows that Adams placed a high value on human services, many of them outside the city's core duties.

Last year's one-time expenses range from more than $1 million for the CHIERS van and sobering center to $26,897 for a restorative justice program in the East Portland neighborhood of Parkrose.

Other notable expenses include $247,000 for a Janus Youth Services program to fight human trafficking, $120,000 for Sunday Parkways, and $51,000 for studying development on West Hayden Island.

Many of the constituencies receiving this money will be hoping for another round of city dollars this year. So we're asking you, WW readers: Who on this list deserves to be spared from the belt-tightening?

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