Hales spokesman: we haven’t killed YouthPass yet

North Portland teens using their YouthPass on the 4Responding to coverage last week of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales’s prediction that cuts are coming for high school transit riders, the mayor’s spokesman says YouthPass is just one of many endangered programs.

From spokesman Dana Haynes’s email today:

"Recommended budgets from all city bureaus have been presented to the mayor’s office. All line items in all budgets will be up for discussion by the city council, with plenty of public input. That includes YouthPass and that includes every other item funded by the city.

"There is a general fund shortfall of at least $25 million – although it could be quite a bit larger when everything shakes out. The city council’s job in the coming months will be to craft a budget that addresses the shortfall.

"I want to make sure your readers don’t think one program – one popular program – is on the chopping block while every other program is fine. Because, as you know, that just isn’t the case."

As one Portland Afoot reader noted in our much-shared Facebook post about this issue, the mayoral comment line is 503.823.4120. Another reader started an online petition that sends an email to each city council member every time it’s signed, urging the council to not include the Portland Public Schools YouthPass among the cuts. It’s gathered about 600 signatures in the last week out of its target of 1,000.

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