Worst-Case Scenario for Housing Budget: Closing Clark Center, Cutting Services for Hundreds of Poor People

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It's been plain all along that this was going to be an especially ugly city budget season, what with Mayor Charlie Hales' call for universal 10 percent cuts and a fight over what scraps might be left after city council closes a $25 million deficit. But somehow that realization doesn't even begin to describe what it's like actually looking through the bureaus' proposals for how they'd manage cuts that deep.

Earlier today, I looked briefly at the police budget—where it seems like some cops, no matter how much the ax is blunted, will still be laid off. Now comes the Portland Housing Bureau, which is prepared to cut $2.3 million but begging to add back just less than half.

At worst, under the plan it submitted to the city budget office, it would close much of the Clark Center, a shelter serving hundreds of men, and also the city's winter shelters for women and kids and people suffering from mental illness. More than half of the $1.1 million in "add backs" sought by the bureau would restore those two programs.

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And at best—if all that money is restored? Hundreds of families and people of color and homeless Portlanders would still be cut off from services. The bureau was smart enough to break down how many people—and whom—would be affected by the cuts it's not looking to fight.

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