City Charter – City Government

the Portland league endorses the Charter Amendment

The Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Portland voted on June 29, 2022 to endorse the Charter Amendment proposed by the Portland Charter Commission. The League based our endorsement on our study of  Portland’s city government in 2018-19 and position on city government adopted by our membership in 2020. We also based our support of the ranked-choice voting processes for electing the Mayor, Auditor, and members of City Council on the League of Women Voters of Oregon position on Election Methods and the League of Women Voters of the United States position on Voter Representation and Electoral Systems. The amendment will be voted upon at the November 8, 2022 General Election. The League will work to help voters understand how the proposed amendment to the City Charter will make Portland’s government more responsive, representative, and effective.

Throughout the Portland City Charter Review process, League members followed the work of the Charter Commission. We also testified to the Commission using the above positions that the League adopted after careful research and a member consensus process. Below are links to copies of our earliest written testimony. You will find this testimony also on the Recent Testimony page. More recent testimony is described on the Portland Charter Review 2021-22 web page on this website.

Testimony to Portland Charter Commission  – March 31, 2022.  In this testimony, we underscored places where the Commission’s proposed reforms align with our City Government position statement, to make the following recommendations for charter changes:

      1. Establish city council as a legislative body, not an administrative or executive one.
      2. Institute a professional city manager/administrator.
      3. Increase the number of city councilors to 10-12, plus the mayor.
      4. Retain election of the mayor and auditor on a citywide basis with ranked-choice voting.
      5. Enhance proportional representation by creating multi-member districts and using ranked-choice voting to elect city councilors.

Testimony to Charter Review Commission Form of Government Subcommittee – October 2021. In this testimony, we recommended making the City Council a legislative body, without the commissioners’ current administrative duties. We also recommended hiring a City Manager.

Testimony to Charter Review Commission Subcommittee on Elections – October 2021. In this testimony, we recommended increasing the size of the City Council and electing them in a way that would more equitably represent city residents.

Testimony about adding transparency as a priority for research – June 2021