The OPA Legislative Committee is committed to working with our partners at all levels of government to advance our priority issues relating to parks and recreation in the State of Oregon, as described below.
• Advocate for adequate funding and security for our state agency partners-Park programs across the State of Oregon are dependent on successful partnerships with state agencies such as the Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. OPA will strongly advocate for funding at the level requested by these departments and will oppose any efforts that would result in a decrease in the level of service from our partners and reduction in grant funding available to local park providers. All dedicated funding within these programs should be secure and OPA will oppose any efforts to use such funding for other purposes.
• Closely monitor legislation relating to land-use issues-Land use decisions have a significant impact on park and recreation planning and development, particularly relating to resource zoned lands. OPA will closely monitor and oppose all legislation that restricts and/or places undue hardship on departments seeking public park development in resource zones. OPA will promote legislation that identifies public park development as an appropriate use of resource lands.
• Oppose legislation that limits local government's ability to collect SDC's for park development-For many of our members, system development charges (SDC) are a key component to expanding park programs to meet the needs of growing communities. OPA will oppose all legislation that seeks to limit the ability of local government to assess and collect SDC's for park purposes.
• Advocate for increased funding of County Parks programs-As County governments state-wide are faced with declining revenues from state and federal sources, county park systems are forced to absorb large reductions in both operating and capital budgets. OPA will actively seek opportunities to increase funding to our member's programs, advocating for the importance of regional parks and recreation programs in our communities. Regional parks provide vital opportunities for local residents to access nature, encouraging healthy play in our natural environment.
• Remain active in State agency rulemaking-OPA realizes that many of the factors affecting park operations are decided on at the rule-making level of natural resource agencies in State government. Therefore, it is in our best interest to stay active and follow this public process, while continuing to provide a strong voice for local parks and recreation concerns.
At OPA we believe recreation to be one of the fundamental factors contributing to a happy, well-balanced life. We feel that all the people of the State should have the opportunity to experience a variety of significant, purposeful recreation activities. It is essential that adequate provision be made for recreation areas, facilities and programs that satisfy the leisure time needs of the people and contribute to the refreshment of body, mind and spirit.