I am pro-parks because I am pro-business. Parks make money for cities – long-term money from new residents and tourists, not short-term money from single construction contract and low-paying service jobs.

Portland’s boom – and all the jobs and tax revenue from building new housing – resulted from its unique appeal to transplants and tourists seeking a better quality of life and a sense of community.

No one comes to Portland for yet another mid-sized hotel conference room. They come for Alive at Five in Monument Square, the farmers markets, art installations and events, all things happening in our public spaces.

New residents add millions per year to our economy and tax base and support our signature food culture. People come to Portland because it retains a sense of human scale and individual character. Parks and public space are the heart of that character.

A beautiful place for your family to picnic, a central spot to have a coffee and watch the passing scene – this is what creates quality of life and brings people who contribute to Portland’s future.

If you are tempted to think short term about construction versus preservation, look at New York’s Bryant Park: In the two years after its renovation, rental activity around the park increased by 60 percent. A place once considered to be a deterrent to renters is now a marketing tool.

A city’s long-term success depends on its ability to attract and retain people who contribute to the civic health. It is in the city’s business and financial interest to invest in its public spaces. Think what could have been done if a fraction of the time and money spent fighting the citizens had been invested in revitalizing Congress Square Park.

Don’t think short-term! Vote “Yes on 1” this June 10 to keep Portland’s economy growing.

Ashley Salisbury


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