Portlanders: Share Public Testimony with the Charter Review Commission

Important topics for comments now

Do you think Portland should have a city manager? Should city commissioners be elected by districts? Does the Portland City Council need more members? Should the City Council be primarily a legislative body (and not also an administrative one)?

League members and the public are invited to share their thoughts with the Portland City Charter Review Commission. The commission has decided to focus their initial research on two topics. These may result in ballot measures in the November 2022 election, if they identify the need for change:

      • the city’s form of government;
      • the election methods used for selecting city councilors.

After the Portland League restudied our city government in 2017-19, we adopted our current 2020 LWVPDX position. This position features the two topics the commission selected (as well as several other topics). Here is an excerpt from our position:

“The highest priorities for change are to improve citizen representation by increasing the number of commissioners, to institute a city manager, and to establish the city council as a legislative or policy-setting body. We also support electing some or all city councilors by district.”

Transparency is important too

The issue of transparency in city government is also of concern to the League; we offered testimony about it to the Commission in June, and will follow up this topic next year when the Commission returns to study the issue.

How to share your ideas

The Commission accepts written public comment from Portlanders at any time, not only at meetings. Now is the time to share your support for changes in these two important areas! We encourage you to submit a public comment about why these two topics are important to you. If you are a League member, please remember that when you do so, you are testifying as a private individual and not as a representative of LWVPDX. If you agree with the League’s positions, you  may quote LWVPDX statements in your testimony as a private individual.  Of course you also may offer your own ideas or ideas from other organizations. (Learn more about League testimony guidelines here.)

Three steps to speaking out at this important moment:

  1. Read some background about the Commission’s two subcommittees on Form of Government and City Council Elections.
  2. Refresh your memory of the LWVPDX position on local government.
  3. Share your public comments. (When you send your comments, please thank the commissioners for their service. They are volunteers.)
More about the Charter Review Commission

In July 2021, the League posted an explanation about the work of the Charter Review Commission. You can read that here.

Thanks for taking action!

Pesticides: Balancing Benefits & Risks

Announcing a new LWV of Oregon Study and LWV of Portland Video on Pesticides

Cover of the LWVOR 2021 Study Report on Pesticide Use in Oregon

What are the best ways to control pests, while also protecting our environment and people’s health? To address these issues, the League of Women Voters of Oregon has published a study report on improving the safe use of pesticides in Oregon. You can read the full study report at the LWVOR.org website.

To supplement the study, the Portland League has recorded a panel discussion on what Oregonians should know about pesticides. The video recording of this presentation may be viewed by clicking on the arrow below.

The distinguished panel in the video presentation includes:

    • Amelia Nestler, PhD, Chair of the League Study and Senior Scientist at Northwest Green Chemistry
    • Kevin Masterson, Toxics Coordinator, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
    • Lisa Arkin, Executive Director, Beyond Toxics
    • Andrea Sonnen, Enforcement Case Reviewer, Interim Pesticides Lead Investigator, Oregon Department of Agriculture – Pesticides Program
    • Stephanie Page, Director, Natural Resources Program Area, Oregon Department of Agriculture (participating for the Q & A)
    • Moderator,Paula Grisafi, Co-Chair of study.

The study identified five key areas of pesticide policy to be considered, with recommendations for action.  These include   1) Education, Training and Labeling, 2) Transparency and Information Gathering, 3) Funding, Research, and Evaluation, 4) Adaptive Management and Integrated Pest Management, and 5) Burden of Proof and the Precautionary Principle.

During the fall of 2021, local Leagues throughout Oregon discussed the study and video.  The goal is to find consensus on how the League should support or oppose policies that will affect the use of pesticides and biocides in the future.

MetroEast Community Media records Portland League programs for rebroadcast and online streaming from lwvpdx.org . Funding is provided by the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation.

To find recordings of previous LWVPDX panels on community issues, click here.

Combatting Injustice

The death of George Floyd has focused attention on the injustice and discrimination African Americans face in our nation.

The LWVPDX, along with Leagues around the country, is speaking out against police brutality and racism. For more than 40 years, the Portland League has worked with other organizations to improve police accountability and oversight.  We are committed to ending the inappropriate use of deadly force by police. We are combatting injustice against African Americans in Portland and in the U.S.

Below is part of a May 29 press release from the LWVUS.

As an organization whose mission is to empower voters and defend democracy, we stand in solidarity with all Black communities. The League shall do so not only by speaking out against racism in all forms, but by doing the work required of us to be anti-racist.

You can read all of the press release here.

The League bases our advocacy on balanced studies, testimony, and peaceful demonstrations. In early May, our members voted to study Police Accountability in Portland.  This study will build on the work of our Justice Interest Group. Careful research provides the data that strengthens our voice as we work to protect the rights and lives of all Americans.

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:

The Multnomah Bar Foundation and the Carol & Velma Saling Foundation donated funding for the recording by MetroEast Community media.

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.