Looks like the Columbia Pool has been saved.
Portland voters approved an operating levy on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to provide Portland Parks & Recreation about $48 million annually for improving the city’s park system. “This levy is an important investment in our community’s parks and recreation system,” Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said in a statement. “Thanks to Portland voters, PP&R will now be able to keep our parks safe and clean and begin the work of making our parks and recreation system welcoming for all Portlanders.”
With additional funding from the temporary levy, PP&R will:
- Open public pools and community centers, and offer classes and camps, when public health conditions allow.
- Center equity in the delivery of its programs and services, ensuring that cost is no longer a barrier for Portlanders accessing community centers and public pools.
- Improve access for all Portlanders by making our parks cleaner, safer, and more welcoming.
- Grow nature by restoring natural areas, planting more trees, safeguarding clean water, protecting wildlife, diminishing the effects of climate change, and providing the appropriate care for the 1.2 million trees in our parks system.
Measure 26-213 is a five-year tax levy that will charge $0.80 per $1,000 of assessed value beginning in 2021. According to SmartAsset, the median home value in Multnomah County is $330,900 so the Parks levy would cost a Portland homeowner about $265 annually, or $22 a month.
North Portland residents hope the new funding source will cover the cost of maintaining the Columbia Pool, located at 7701 N Chautauqua Boulevard in Columbia Park.
In 2019, the Parks Bureau recommended closing the pool. According to the city, the pool costs $800,000 annually to operate, but only generates about $310,000 from users. The city also said the facility needs capital improvements, including a new roof, that would cost $5 million.
But many North Portland residents rallied to keep the pool open and in early March, Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the pool would be kept open another year.
Shortly after that announcement, however, all the pools closed and have remained closed due to the pandemic.
Nathan is an award-winning freelance content marketing producer (words, video, audio, strategy). He also is an award-winning newspaper reporter. He has an MBA and a BA in Editorial Journalism. He is a past director of SEMpdx’s digital marketing conference, and past director on the Society of Professional Journalists’ executive committee. He has two great kids, likes to sail, ride his road bike, and make beer.