We all pay taxes, but too often our communities don’t have a say in how our government dollars are spent. In Gresham, we are changing that when it comes to parks.
This year, the City of Gresham is considering using a process called participatory budgeting to allocate up to $5 million in parks funding. The city was allocated these funds after we organized and helped voters in Gresham contribute to the approved 2019 Metro Bond Refinement.
Participatory budgeting is an exciting tool for change that puts decision-making in the hands of community members. You will work together with community members to decide how to spend that bond money.
Parks are a big priority for me because they help build vibrant communities; increase property values; provide public spaces and forums; and during the pandemic, let us spend time together outside, safely.
Also, parks are for everyone, making this a perfect opportunity for people to work together for community good.
The benefits of participatory budgeting
The participatory budgeting process is fun, accessible, and not at all bureaucratic. It’s also transparent. We’ll all be able to see how decisions were made. It will be a change in the way we do things in Gresham. By using the participatory budget process, we will:
- Create equitable public investment in Gresham’s parks.
- Fund projects that reflect community-identified needs.
- Center underrepresented voices to ensure they benefit from the process and its outcomes. Everyone in our community gets to weigh in, not just voters.
I’m excited to introduce Gresham residents to this process. It’s popular all around the world! We are the ones who know if our parks need new benches, better lighting, or summer youth programs. With participatory budgeting, we choose! The people who know best will be heard.
How do you think we should spend up to $5 million on Gresham parks? I’d like to know!
The City Council will accept public input next week
At next week’s Gresham City Council meeting we will hear community input about the changes coming up for our parks. (For more information see the Parks Assets & Opportunities Policy Direction memo our city staff compiled.)
Let the council know that you support participatory budgeting to allocate our Metro bond money. With your help we can do what’s best for our park system!