Why is the Foundation Needed?
The Oregon State Parks have not been funded by the State General Fund (Taxes) since 1998
- In 1998, the voters approved measure 66, which allocated 15% of the State Lottery proceeds to State Parks & natural resources – Lottery funds allocated to State Parks and natural resources are administered through the Parks and Natural Resources Fund and divided equally between State Parks (7.5%) and watershed enhancement/salmon restoration (7.5%).
- Immediately after passage, the Governor removed the General Fund from the Parks Department Budget. The Legislature has not been able/willing to replace those funds since.
- In the early years of Lottery funding (2006-2015), the State Parks department was assigned the money-losing Oregon State Fair…this diverted $60 million of the lottery contribution from the other State Parks to retire debt and run the fair.
- The Lottery Funds, while important and significant to the State Parks, cover about 40% of the State Parks department budget and do not change in relation to the costs of running the State Parks.
- The amount of money from the Lottery for parks is fixed by law at 7.5% of the Lottery proceeds, which are subject to different fluctuations than the expenses of the State Parks. 12% of the funds must go to County Parks, leaving 6.6% available for the State Parks.
The Lottery proceeds fell with the Great Recession, and have remained at the new level. This resulted in a decline of contribution to the State Parks of about $10 million per year.
The State Parks are experiencing explosive growth in usage, but have not been able to increase staffing in proportion to the increase in demand – resulting in a very stretched staff and deferred maintenance.
The available funds and the staff are not able to keep up with the increased usage, and the resulting wear and tear on the system
The State Parks Department has a very broad set of responsibilities. Some may surprise you:
255 parks, including 53 campgrounds
All 362 miles of Pacific Coast Beaches
More than 1,200 miles of scenic waterways
More than 1,200 miles of scenic bikeways
Management of the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
Maintenance of the State Capitol Mall
The Oregon State Parks Foundation exists to enhance the experience of using our wonderful State Park System. Won’t you please help!