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Imagine Gresham

  • We know our community has big dreams for Gresham and we want to see them come true.

    The City is building a strategic plan to keep our community thriving and start making those dreams a reality. That’s Imagine Gresham.

    Planning for your dreams

  • Step 1: Dream Big (Complete)

    Phase 1 - Community visioning (complete)

    Recently, we asked the community, “What do you imagine for Gresham?”

    See what the community is saying.

    Overall, more than 3,300 ideas and interactions poured in from community events, classroom visits, business displays and online discussions. What we’re hearing:

    • Add a full parks and recreation program with interest in a community center.
    • Increase Gresham’s vibrant small business community.
    • Add more businesses and tourist attractions.
    • Address community safety.

    Thanks for helping us dream big during this community vision phase. 

    Phase 2 Top priorities (complete)

    In April, we asked the community to rank the top priorities for Gresham.
    Stay up to date with next steps for Imagine Gresham

    Questions? Contact Imagine.Gresham@GreshamOregon.gov or call 503-618-3214.

    Step 2: Strategic Plan (In Progress)

    The City is taking your feedback and creating a strategic plan to guide the city for the next several years. 

    Why do we need a strategic plan?

    To serve our community with focus. The City faces difficult issues and limited resources. This model allows us to balance how we prioritize and address challenges over the next 3-5 years while supporting the community’s dreams.

    What is a strategic plan?

    A strategic plan establishes a vision for Gresham that:

    • Reflects the community’s dreams for Gresham’s future.
    • Defines top priorities of the City Council and community over the next three to five years.
    • Outlines key actions and how we’ll measure success.
    • Guides decisions about budgets, City services, capital investments and a long-term financial plan.

    Steps

    • In April, the City began strategic planning after the City Council identified priorities at a retreat.
    • In May, we came back and asked the community if we captured your feedback correctly.
    • In June, we asked the community to review and provide input on a draft of the strategic plan (comments closed).
    • Council is set to adopt the plan on Aug. 16.

    See Status and Updates, below, for upcoming discussions. 

    Step 3: Financial Road Map (In Progress)

    As the City plans to meet the dreams of our community, we need a long-term financial plan to pay for the things the community wants and needs.

    Why do we need a long-term financial road map?

    Our goal is to deliver exceptional services that support a high quality of life for our community.

    But we’re at a critical turning point in Gresham. Limited by property taxes and fees that haven’t been raised in years, the City’s budget struggles to keep up – let alone fund big dreams.

    A financial road map will support the City in becoming financially stable for many years to come.

    Two plans, one goal

    The City’s strategic plan and financial road map will work together to chart the course for securing the resources to fulfill the community’s needs.

    Many options are being explored, from fees to bonds to districts.

    The City Council is set to adopt both plans on Aug. 16.

    Read more about the financial road map in the Council Work Plan.

    See Status and Updates, below, for upcoming discussions. 

    1 of 3
    • We're planning for the future with you in mind!

    • A short overview of the City's budget process and structure.

  • Project information

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

    Coming up

    The City Council will discuss major funding topics in session on July 5.

    • 4:00 pm, Tuesday, July 5: Financial stability and revenue options (districts, bonds, levies, fees, etc.) Council agendas and videos

    Catch up

    Watch it June 21: Council hears community's feedback on the draft strategic plan 

    Watch it May 17: Financial road map: Revenue options (fees, bonds, districts, levies, etc.)

    Watch it April 20: Council retreat, strategic plan development

    Watch it April 19 Council presentation, Imagine Gresham engagement results

    Watch it April 5: Staffing levels, three-year plan to provide reliable community services. 

    Project timeline

    1. Community conversations (winter): Seeking big ideas and dreams (complete).

    2. Top priorities (spring): Community check-in survey to confirm the top priorities (complete). 

    3. Strategic plan development (spring): Creating a plan to guide the City for the next several years. 

    4. Sharing our work (spring): The draft strategic plan is shared with the community for feedback. 

    5. Financial plan development (summer): Creating a long-term financial plan to fund our strategic priorities. 

    6. Adoption (summer): Council adopts the plans, and we get to work. 
    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 be proud to call home.

    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.

    City strategy

    • Reviewing current and ideal future needs; staffing levels, budget.
    • Evaluating revenue tools both existing (Police, Fire and Parks fee) and new (a bond measure or special district).
    • Including community priorities through Imagine Gresham engagement.
    • Checking in with City Council at key milestones for direction.
    • Advocating for action at the state level with partners to address property tax challenges. 

    Steps taken so far

    • Holding City Council briefings on property tax system, revenue options and financial forecast. 
    • Asking voters on May 17 to extend the Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal District another six years, to 2029. 
    • Approving a five-year utility rates package starting in 2023 for future certainty.
    • Reviewing utility bill assistance needs with a community survey. 
    • Stabilizing the organization's budget gap for 2022-23 using one-time American Rescue Plan Act funds.
    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 to pay for unexpected COVID-19 expenses; thanks to Portland’s Mayor and City Commission.
    • 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 fee to $15 a month through June 30, 2023. 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.

    See the Budget and Financial Planning page for more information about the budget process.

    Contact

    Strategic Plan
    City Manager’s Office
    Ashley.Graff@GreshamOregon.gov
    503-618-2297

    Financial Road Map
    Citywide Services
    Elizabeth.Coffey@GreshamOregon.gov
    503-618-2247