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Council poised to expand Portland Children's Levy programs

The City Council will consider funding programs to fight child hunger with money from the Portland Children's Levy for the first time this week.

Portland voters authorized spending levy money for such programs with they reauthorized it in 2013. A five-person Citizen Allocation Committee has recommended spending approximately $2.6 million of the levy's nearly $33 million on two hunger relief programs. The recommended amounts are around $1.35 million to the Meals on Wheels People and about $1.3 million to the Oregon Food Bank.

The council will consider approving the committee's recommendations at its Wednesday, June 25, meeting.

The Portland Children's Levy was developed by Commission Dan Saltzman. It raises property tax money for existing nonprofit organization to provide services to at-risk youth. Saltzman convinced the council to first put it on the November 2002, where it was approved. Portland voters renewed it in november 2008 and May 2013.

The original program categories eligible for funding were: early childhood development; after school and mentoring; and child abuse prevention and intervention. Saltzman added the foster care category to the measure approved by voters in 2008. He added the child hunger category to the 2013 measure after becoming concerned over the large percent of children in the Portland area are going hungry, especially when school is out and subsidized meals are no longer available.

Counting the two hunger relief programs, the allocation committee has recommended funding 59 programs in the various categories. The largest amount — about $10.3 million — is recommended for early childhood programs. The next largest amounts are nearly 6.5 million for child abuse prevention and intervention, and about $6 million for after school programs.

A short history of the program and the full list of the recommendation can be seen at: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=494468