May 25, 2013

Another View: Downtown District is not neglecting Congress Square

Property owners continue to support maintenance and programming in the park.


As president of the board of directors of Portland's Downtown District, I would like to correct the misrepresentation of our mission and funding recently mentioned in an Another View column ("City should hold on to, improve Congress Square Park," May 21).

Portland's Downtown District is not funded through city taxes. Property owners in our geographically defined downtown area pay an additional special assessment above their normal city taxes.

These funds are used to pay for services above and beyond what the city of Portland already provides.

Our specific mission is that we are in the business of maintaining a clean and safe downtown while building and promoting a vibrant business, residential and tourism destination. The budget approved by the board of directors supports these goals.

Our special events are funded through obtaining sponsorship funds and Movies in the Park were discontinued when we lost sponsorship funding. We do program Congress Square during the holidays with Pandora LaCasse's Holiday Lights Sculptures, and we have scheduled five lunchtime performances there for this summer.

In regard to comments about Congress Square's cleanliness, we contract with city Public Services staff to provide extra cleaning of our 12 miles of downtown sidewalks, public spaces, plowing the sidewalks of snow and many other maintenance services. Congress Square is cleaned daily year-round and twice a day during the summer season.

We take great pride in the work we do to continually improve and ensure downtown is clean, safe and attractive for all who live, work and visit downtown.

Doug Fuss is president of the Portland's Downtown District's board of directors.

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