Portlanders say economy still in bad shape

A new survey says most residents want city money spent where it is needed, not on big projects
by: Tribune file photo A new survey found that Portland residents were just about evenly split on the issue of charging a fee for the city to collect leaves every fall in neighborhoods.

Although some economists say the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, most Portlanders think the local economy is still in the tank, according to a new city survey.

According to a new survey, 56 percent of local residents believe the economy is either still in a recession or a depression.

In contrast, 38 percent believe the economy is either recovering or not getting any better or worse. The rest do not know or say none of those terms describe it.

• Click here to read the city's survey.

The telephone survey of 500 Portlanders was conducted by the Portland polling firm Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall Inc., between March 10 and 15. It was intended to assess their feelings about the community and budget priorities as the City Council works on the new budget that takes effect July 1.

Among other things, the survey found that the public was evenly split about some of Mayor Sam Adams' priorities, including the creation of a new downtown urban renewal area around Portland State University. According to the survey, 49 percent support the creation and 42 percent oppose it.

Portlanders were also evenly split on whether the city should charge a fee to residents of neighborhoods where leaves are collected each fall. The survey found 47 percent support such a fee, 48 percent oppose it.

Residents also split on whether the city should take over ownership and maintenance of Willamette River bridges from Multnomah County. According to the survey, 46 percent support the idea, 41 percent oppose it.

Racial inequality

When it comes to spending city money, 68 percent said the city should spend more money providing services in neighborhoods with the greatest needs, while 29 percent said the city should spend the money equally throughout Portland based on the number of individuals in each neighborhood. Asked for details, 83 percent said the city should spend money on adding sidewalks in neighborhood areas that have the greatest need for them, 74 percent said the same of improving sidewalks, 68 percent for improving parks and 65 percent for adding a park in neighborhoods that do not have one.

A slim majority - 52 percent - of Portlanders believe racial inequality is a problem the city should address. The rest believe racial inequality is not a problem in Portland, not a problem the city should address or have no opinion about it.