PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released his proposed $7.1 billion budget for the 2024 fiscal year Thursday afternoon. The budget funds services delivered by 28 city bureaus and more than 7,000 employees.
In a statement, he explained the budget continues to focus on the four shared priority areas of city council: homelessness, community safety, economic recovery and livability.
"Last year, I put forward a budget that invested in healing and building for the future of Portland," he said. "This year, my proposed budget builds on that foundation.
"Given general inflation to existing costs, sun setting of federal one-time resources to fund ongoing needs, and the elevated level of deferred maintenance, the demand for resources continues to surpass availability within the city."
However, Wheeler said the city can, and will, fund several key projects and missions.
The Mayor's budget dedicates more than $43 million dollars to continue the operation of hundreds of shelter beds. It also expands the Street Services Coordination Center, which coordinates homeless camp sweeps and connects people with services. In a news release, his office wrote with 3,400 units of affordable housing already in the development pipeline, the Portland Housing Bureau is expected to open over 625 additional units in 2023.
The budget also bolsters Portland police recruitment efforts.
"As part of my stated goal to hire 300 new officers over a three year period, I've released funding for 43 new sworn officer positions," Wheeler said.
His proposal tackles stolen vehicle recovery and retail theft investigations. It keeps funding for Portland Street Response the same. The budget also dedicates $2.6 million to reinstate Portland Fire and Rescue's rapid response vehicle program — smaller teams of firefighters, responding to emergencies — mainly on the east side.
Economic Recovery and Livability
The mayor asserts that economic recovery is tied to improved livability in the city. He plans to keep up trash collection and graffiti abatement, dedicating nearly $22 million to those efforts. Of that number, $400,000 will go to SOLVE to clean up neighborhoods and $2 million is slated for derelict RV enforcement and towing.
"We will continue funding street lighting city-wide to encourage Portlanders to get into their community, and take advantage of all that our small businesses and events have to offer," he said.
The mayor's setting aside money for those, too, through a small business stabilization program and a promise to invest in more events.
Finally, the iconic Thompson Elk Fountain will soon be restored to its "natural downtown habitat" as this budget proposes funding to restore and re-install this beloved symbol in Portland.
This budget also accounts for the overhaul to city government, approved by voters in November. Millions of dollars have been dedicated to fully implementing the charter change; the first ranked choice voting election, the arrival of a 12-person city council, a city administrator, and other reforms.