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Imagine Gresham

  • We've heard from families, neighbors, youth and businesses with big ideas and dreams for Gresham. The City is building a long-term financial plan to keep our community thriving and start making those dreams a reality — that's Imagine Gresham.

    We want your input. Stay tuned for opportunities by signing up for email updates.

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  • Planning for your dreams

  • Imagining the Heart of a Neighborhood: Urban Renewal

    Putting people first is at the heart of the Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal district, approved by voters in 2003. For the past 18 years, we’ve been creating opportunity in the region's most diverse neighborhood.

    Our largest urban redevelopment project, Downtown Rockwood broke ground in 2019, and includes job training, entrepreneurship, medical care, a food market and community plaza.

    Other accomplishments

    • Invested $44.1 million in the Rockwood-West Gresham area.
    • Attracted four times that in private investments totaling $179.2 million.
    • 670 jobs have been added to the Urban Renewal Area through 40 new businesses. Average salary: $62,000/year.
    • These new businesses added $161 million in revenue that can then be spent back in the community.
    • 86 grants to the community that funded business expansion, storefront improvements, construction support, and repairs to apartments to provide safe and energy efficient for 1,652 living spaces.

    Watch Council presentations

    June 8: Future of Rockwood's urban renewal district

    July 20: Significant urban renewal accomplishments plus future projects, and the pros and cons of extending, expanding or ending the program

    What’s next?

    The Urban Renewal district expires in 2023. City Council could choose to allow the district to sunset or send it to the voters to choose to extend and/or expand it.

    Read more about urban renewal.

    Imagining Fire Services for a Growing Community

    In 2020, Gresham Fire and Emergency Services answered 16,817 calls to put out fires, rescue swimmers and boaters, triage victims of car accidents, aid elderly residents, and provide urgent help to residents with COVID-19, heart failures and other emergencies.

    • Gresham Fire also serves residents of Troutdale, Wood Village, Fairview and District 10. The number of residents served continues to grow as more move to East County.
    • As our community grows and needs change, Gresham Fire is examining how to best respond to emergency medical calls. An exciting new program, Mobile Integrated Health, teams a registered nurse with an emergency medical technician in smaller vehicles to address medical calls quickly and with the right resource.
    • The average age of a Gresham-owned fire station is 46 years.

    Watch Council presentations

    July 20: SAFER Report Learn more about Gresham Fire and Emergency Services.

    What’s next?

    The regional SAFER Council (Sustainable Affordable Funding for Emergency Response) is discussing what levels of fire and emergency service are needed in East County, how to best help residents who have medical emergencies, and where fire stations should be relocated to better serve the community.

    Gresham City Council will review their recommendations later this year.

    Read about public safety in the Council Work Plan.

    Imagining Parks and Recreation

    With more than 1,100 acres of parks, natural areas and trails, Gresham residents enjoy getting outside to meet their neighbors, celebrate, explore and play.

    Through partnerships and grants, the City has made the most of lean resources to build new parks and amenities. The City helps more than 9,000 kids enjoy free drop-in basketball, futsal games and free lunches and activities in our parks every year.

    What’s next?

    • From more basketball hoops to pickleball courts to more nature areas, the community has lots of ideas for how to make Gresham’s parks even better. We’ll look at community feedback to prioritize parks construction projects and plan for our future.
    • Let’s play! The City is expanding is recreation program and will be seeking input on how to build—and sustain—options for residents to have fun and stay active.

    Stay tuned

    The City will seek input along the way. In early 2022, the Parks and Community Recreation Advisory Group will make recommendations to Council about what kind of parks and recreation services the community wants and needs, as well as long-term funding options.

    Read about parks and recreation in the Council Work Plan.

  • Project information

    • Status and Updates
    • Project Background
    • How We Got Here
    Project Background

    From our small-town feel with big-city conveniences, to the green trees and rolling hills, friendly neighbors, charming downtown and vibrant cultural diversity, Gresham is a place we can all be proud to call home.

    But, we’re at a critical turning point in Gresham.

    Limited by property taxes and fees that have not been raised in years, the City’s budget struggles to keep up – let alone fund big dreams.

    That’s why we're Imagining Gresham, to create a plan for the road ahead. Many options are being explored, from fees to bonds to districts.

    How We Got Here

     In 2020-21, the City faced a $13.3 million budget shortfall. The City Council acted by:

    • Reducing expenses by more than $12 million over two years, including cutting more than 36 positions.
    • Asking and receiving $3.94 million in CARES Act funding – thanks to Portland’s Mayor and City Commission – to pay for some of the City’s unexpected COVID-19 expenses.
    • Approving one-time use of funds from the community service fee paid to the City by Enterprise Zone companies.
    • Temporarily raising the Police, Fire and Parks (PFP) fee to $15 a month through June 30, 2022. This fee had not been raised since its creation in 2012.

    These temporary actions and more balanced the City budget to keep operations steady through June 2022.

    The challenge Gresham faces

    As a Gresham resident, you pay taxes and fees. The City uses those dollars to provide core services you need to live your life … fire, police, parks, water, sewer, streets and more.

    But, the City receives only 24 cents of each dollar of your property taxes. Because of Oregon property tax law, this amount doesn’t change even though costs go up.

    Every year, this impacts our ability to serve our residents.

    Imagine Gresham is about choosing long-term solutions to move your city in a positive direction.

  • Contact

    Elizabeth.Coffey@GreshamOregon.gov or 503-618-2247.