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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sunday Parkways Has $100,000 Budget Gap

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 3:40 PM

This is a map. And a bandana. And it will cost you $40.
  • This is a map. And a bandana. And it will cost you $40.
Sunday Parkways has turned from an experiment to a much-loved festival in Portland, but now it's facing a serious budget crunch along with the rest of the city. The event, first hosted in Portland three summer ago, shuts down a five mile loop between neighborhood parks for one Sunday, opening up the streets to cyclists, pedestrians, lemonade vendors—anyone but cars. Thanks to overwhelming popularity (who doesn't love playing in the street), Sunday Parkways sprawled from one Sunday in 2008 to an ambitious five slated for this summer.

But Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocate Gerik Kransky raised some alarm bells last week when he noted that the city budget for Sunday Parkways seemed to drop from $217,000 to $0.

Well, the truth is not that extreme. But the popular festival is still having trouble making ends meet. In the new draft of the budget, funding for Sunday Parkways moved from a line item to part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) "base budget" (which is why some people, like Kransky, thought it disappeared entirely) but does not meet the $474,000 that PBOT originally needed to host the five day-long events.

The city came up with $157,000 to put toward Sunday Parkways and health insurance company Kaiser kicked in a generous $100,000. Seeing that the numbers weren't going to pencil out, festival director Linda Ginenthal tightened the belt of Parkways by $80,000 (cutting mostly pre-event ads and fliers) and also dug up $35,000 from private donors (including $25,000 from Pearl District business and $1,000 from Milagros Boutique in NE).

All that leaves a $100,000 budget hole. The first Sunday Parkways, held in NE on May 16th, brought an estimated 15,000 Portlanders out onto the streets. Ginenthal's hoping the city can fundraise the $100K from mostly small, individual donors who want to see all five events take place. Some small bait to donate: Ginenthal just got in a box of Sunday Parkways 2010 commemorative bandanas, available for $40 a pop.

The mayor's office, at least, says its committed to making sure all five of the planned Sunday Parkways take place. "This is a huge benefit for the people who live in the neighborhood," says Mayor Adams spokesman Roy Kaufmann. "There’s a demand for even more of these."

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