PORTLAND — Special Olympics Oregon announced Monday it is canceling next month’s state competition because of financial problems.
The organization said in a news release that the decision was made after an internal financial review that occurred after the hiring of a new chief executive officer and chief financial officer. The organization said it will instead focus on local programs.
“We have searched for every possible scenario that paints a better picture, but this is where we are,” said CEO Britt Carlson Oase, who took over on June 1.
Though the state games have been canceled, a delegation of 44 athletes will still travel to Seattle early next month to compete in the 2018 USA Games. Those games occur every four years.
The Portland Business Journal reported that Special Olympics Oregon lost $325,000 on $4.5 million in revenue in 2016, the most recent annual report made public.
In its release, Special Olympics Oregon said it has taken immediate steps to organize financial records and establish a financial plan. The organization said it plans to reduce expenses, cut staff and find ways to boost revenue.
The organization said its financial review showed an overstatement of money owed to Special Olympics Oregon, specifically what is collectible in the current fiscal year. Coupled with existing debt, there is limited cash to pay vendors for the infrastructure needed to produce the state games.
“While I was looking forward to meeting our athletes, volunteers and supporters at the Summer Games, I’ll instead be making visits to the many communities and local programs to listen, learn and share our vision,” Oase said. “This will be a collaborative effort.”
Last November, Special Olympics Oregon announced the suspension of its annual snow sports Winter Games, which had been held at Mt. Bachelor ski area since the early 1990s.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Bite of Oregon, an annual food festival and Special Olympics Oregon fundraiser, has also gone on hiatus for 2018.
Special Olympics Oregon serves more than 14,000 participants with intellectual disabilities. About 1,500 had been expected to take part in the state competition.