Portland’s Government – An Analysis

Video of LWV Panel Discussion

Could Portland’s Government be more effective with a new structure?

Click below to watch the video of our panel discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Portland’s form of government.

If you prefer to watch the video on your Tv, here is the cablecast schedule:

You can also read the study report here.

 

New Study of Portland’s Government!

Just Released: Restudy of City government

In September 2019, the League of Women Voters of Portland  completed our city government study, The City that Works: Preparing Portland for the Future.”

Portland League members voted to conduct this two-year restudy of city government in May 2017. Members realized that Portland’s voters needed more up-to-date and complete information to decide on possible changes to the City Charter.

The restudy looks closely at many parts of our current government. It examines strengths and weaknesses of the government’s structure and then explores different options for changing it. The goal is to provide useful ideas for how to improve the government so it serves the people of Portland as well as possible.

Read the study

You can read full text of the study report here.

View the panel Discussion

The video of a panel discussion about Portland’s government is now available here.

The panel included these speakers:

  • Mike Gleason, speaking on Why Do Cities Matter? What Does It Mean to Be a Successful City? Gleason served for 18 years as Eugene’s city manager.
  • Chris Tobkin, addressing the strengths of Portland’s commission form of government. Tobkin worked for Bud Clark during his two terms as Portland Mayor.
  • Julia DeGraw, looking at the weaknesses of the commission form, why it needs to change, and what should be changed.  DeGraw is an  activist and community organizer.
  • Betsy Pratt concluded the panel presentation with additional information on Portland’s government. Pratt was the chair of the League of Women Voters of Portland city government study committee.

The Multnomah Bar Foundation and the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation donated funding for the recording.

The LWV Way: Study First!

Early LWV History

(Excerpts from More Power than We Knew, A History of the League of Women Voters of Oregon: 1920-2012)

“In 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted, Oregon women already had the right to vote…In 1912, Oregon became the ninth state to grant full suffrage to women.”

When the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NASWA) held its 50th anniversary convention in March 1919, “The call to the convention included an invitation to ‘the women voters of the fifteen full suffrage states*…to join their forces in a League of Women Voters, one of whose objects shall be to speed the suffrage campaign in our own and other countries.’”… “(T)he governing council of the new League decided to recommend as its first activity a study of state laws having to do with education and the legal status of women. That recommendation set the pattern the League was to follow all its life—study first, then action.

Today –

 “Study first, then action.” This is the process the League of Women Voters has followed since its beginning. Our activities are based upon thorough, balanced studies of public policy issues.

  • We offer nonpartisan and unbiased information to voters through our voter service activities, such as election forums, debates and carefully researched voting guides.
  • We conduct multiyear studies of governmental, environmental and social issues. Our study committees read relevant research and interview experts and advocates representing many different viewpoints. The committees publish reports about what they have learned. LWV members and the public can read these reports online or in print.
  • When LWV members discuss a study, they may come to an agreement about how to address the issues. Their discussions lead to our advocacy positions

The League of Women Voters of Portland is now finishing a restudy of Portland’s City Government. The League of Women Voters of Oregon recently completed a study of Hard Rock Mining in Oregon. Also, LWVOR members just voted to study Cyber Security and Privacy and Pesticides and other Biocides in Oregon. You can read about all these studies here. Then you can view our advocacy positions, based on previous studies, here.

 

*States granting women the right to vote prior to the 19th Amendment: Wyoming 1890, Colorado 1893, Utah 1896, Idaho 1896, Washington 1910, California 1911, Arizona 1912, Kansas 1912, Oregon 1912, Montana 1914, Nevada 1914, New York 1917, Michigan 1918, Oklahoma 1918, South Dakota 1918

Source: National Constitution Center