Help fund trails in our parks; speak up for higher SDCs

Buckman Elem. bike safety class
A Buckman Elementary School student
rides in Laurelhurst Park.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

System Development Charges (SDCs) are one-time fees assessed on new development that go towards paying for impacts of that new development on things like our roads and access to city parks.

Back in August, I shared that some bike projects were eligible for this funding mechanism.

Now, it’s our city parks that need support.

According to Bob Sallinger, conservation director for Portland Audubon, Portland Parks’ current SDCs cover only 25% of park costs associated with servicing new development. He says that’s one of the lowest parks SDCs rates of any city in the region.

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman
, who oversees Portland’s parks and recreation department, wants to bump the parks SDC rate up from 25% to 75%.

Starting this week, Portland Parks & Recreation is holding a series of important public meetings on this issue. The results of these meetings will help determine whether developers adequately pays for the costs incurred to increase access to parks as a result of their developments.

Local parks advocates say Saltzman’s SDCs proposal is “a crucial funding issue”. They estimate that SDCs alone could be the catalyst to fund land acquisitions for 8.5 to 14 miles of new parks trails.

There are a variety of ways to make City decision-makers aware of your support of Parks SDCs. Please consider attending one of the public hearings (listed below). It will be particularly important to pack the City Council hearing on December 12th.

Here are the details for the upcoming meetings:

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