Fish: City Parks Bond Measure Grounded by "Headwinds"

 Portland Parks & Recreation has cancelled plans to seek a bond measure in November.

Polling commissioned by Portland Parks Foundation showed insufficient voter support for the bond, the Portland Tribune first reported this morning.

City Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversaw the parks bureau until last month, says he hopes to get public consensus for the bond by November 2014—an election when younger voters are more likely to turn out.

"For me, it's good news/bad news," Fish tells WW. "I'm very proud of the high marks voters gave to the parks bureau. We've also learned that we've got some headwinds. I think people are still experiencing some sticker shock from the last election."

Last November, Portland voters approved new taxes for the Multnomah County Library, school construction and arts education.   

Fish says the parks bureau will need to persuade voters that city recreation facilities need more money for upkeep.

"The parks community takes such pride in their work that they literally try to mask the shape the parks are in," Fish says. "In my mind, the campaign starts today. I'd rather make sure we win this thing."

The delay of a planned parks bond campaign throws a new twist into Mayor Charlie Hales' bureau-assignment process. Fish was widely considered in City Hall as a lock to keep control of the parks bureau, simply because he was the public face of the bond campaign—he had already made several public appearances for it.

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