Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The Charter Commission approved 15 more recommendation at its final meeting on Dec. 3.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF PORTLAND - More chnages could be coming to Portland government next year.The Portland Charter Commission has referred nine new measures to the November 2023 ballot and six recommended proposals to the City Council for consideration.

The referrals and recommendations were approved at the commission's final meeting on Saturday, Dec. 3. The commission has previously referred a charter reform measure to change Portland's form of government to the Nov. 3 ballot that was overwhelmingly approved by city voters.

The changes will be finalized in January 2025. They will include a 12-member council elected from four geographic districts, a citywide elected mayor who can only vote in cases of a tie, and the hiring of a professional manager to administer all city bureaus.

The new measures referred to the ballot would:

• Delete the prohibition on mandating the weatherization of structures built before Sept. 1, 1979.

• Clarify language to reflect city government's existing role to protect recreational and natural resources.

• Clarify language to reflect city government's existing role to protect and manage water, sewage, and stormwater.

• Delete vague and archaic language in the charter: "roaming the streets at unseasonable hours".

• Delete vague and archaic language: "offensive" businesses.

• Delete outdated, burdensome, and redundant requirements for franchise agreements.

• Update, and make consistent, references to "protected classes."

• Replace "disability" with "incapacity" when referencing an elected official's inability to perform their duties.

• Create an Independent Portland Elections Commission.

The proposals recommended to council would:

• Remove the 5% cap on city government's transient lodgings tax.

• Create an article dedicated to environmental issues that includes environmental justice as a core value of the city, requires city government to assess the climate impact of its decisions and establishes a right to a clean and healthy environment.

• Establish meaningful public engagement as a core value of city government.

• Require city government to create by ordinance a participatory budgeting program open to all residents.

• Expand the right to vote in city government elections to the fullest extent allowed by law.

• Create an Office of the Transparency Advocate within the City Auditor's Office. It is supported by a coalition that includes the ACLU of Oregon, the League of Women Voters, Open Oregon, and the Greater Oregon Society of Professional Journalists.

The charter review process "has been an incredible process. As different as we are as a city, this has demonstrated that we can come together to get things done," said Debra Porta, who served as co-chair of the Charter Commission. "If we're engaged, we can make things happen."

The Charter Review Commission will present a report on their efforts to council on Jan. 19, 2023.

Under the charter, the council appoints a 20-member commission to review and propose amendments to it no later than every 10 years. Their terms last 20 years.

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