Should we change Portland’s Government?

During November and December 2019, League members are considering whether and how Portland’s city government should change.  Their work is the final step in a process that began more than two years ago. In May 2017, members voted to restudy of our government.  A summary of the results of the two-year study – The City That Works: Preparing Portland for the Future – was published in September. Then the study committee sent copies to all Portland LWV members. The study’s cover is shown in the photo above. You can read the online version of the study by clicking here.

After reading the study, members are gathering in groups to discuss its findings. In preparation for the discussions, members also attended or viewed the recording of a panel discussion. The panel explored the Portland government’s strengths and weaknesses. You can see the recording of that panel discussion here. The panelists were Mike Gleason, who served for 18 years as Eugene’s city manager; Chris Tobkin, who worked for Bud Clark during his two terms as Portland Mayor; Julia DeGraw, who is part of Portland Forward and was a candidate for Portland City Council; and Betsy Pratt, who was the chair of the study committee.

We expect that the members’ discussions will lead to a general agreement or consensus on how to make Portland’s government more effective. That member agreement will become the basis for a new LWVPDX advocacy position.

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.

Special Election Ballot Measures!

Multnomah Co. Measures on Nov. 5 ballots

Read our carefully researched, detailed reports about  the November Special Election ballot measures by clicking here.

<a href="https://www.vote411.org/"> <img src="vote411.png" alt="vote411 home"> </a>

The same info is  also on our personalized voter information website, vote411.org.

Videos from Our Election Info event

Videos from the League’s informational program about these measures are now posted with each of the measures here. These videos provide additional information about the measures. They will also be broadcast on the following cable channels. See schedule below.

Police Bureau Community Engagement

On October 2, 2019, LWVPDX Action Chair Debbie Aiona testified to the Portland City Council and Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw.  She suggested ways to improve the Police Bureau’s Community Engagement Plan. She urged the PPB to be proactive in its attempts to engage the public. In addition, she offered ideas for improving the Bureau’s outreach to citizens. You can read all of her suggestions here.

Learn about the Special Election Measures

Event on Monday October 21

Get info on the November 5 Special Election measures re: water issues, bonds, levies and emergency aid.

To help voters understand the issues for the November 5 Election, the League presents an Informational Program on the four measures that will be on Portland ballots.

WHEN: Monday, October 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

WHERE: Multnomah County Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland

WHAT: Explanations of Measures 26-203, 26-204, 26-205, and 26-207

  • Metro Speakers: Laura Oppenheimer, Parks and Nature Communications Manager, and Dan Moeller, Conservation Program Director for Metro’s Parks and Nature Department, explaining M 26-203. This measure would allow Metro to issue bonds to purchase land, restore fish and wildlife habitat and complete trails through Metro’s parks and nature system.
  • City of Portland Speakers: Gabriel Solmer, Deputy Director of the Portland Water Bureau, and Michael Stuhr, Bureau Director/Administrator, explaining City of Portland Charter changes – M 26-204 to protect the Bull Run watershed and M 26-205, to authorize city participation in emergency mutual aid agreements.
  • PPS Speakers:Scott Bailey, Board of Education Director, and Claire Hertz, Deputy Superintendent of Business and Operations, explaining M 26-207.  This would continue the current tax levy for teaching positions in Portland Public Schools.
This program is free and open to the public.

Recordings of this event will be posted on vote411.org and on this website a few days later. Funding for the recordings is provided by the Multnomah Bar Foundation and the Carol and Velma Saling Foundation.

Find written explanations of All six measures on Vote411.org and on this website!

In addition to reports on the Portland and Metro measures, we have information on a bond measure for Troutdale voters and a levy for Sauvie Island voters. We thoroughly researched the measures and checked our reports with government officials, supporters and opponents. Take a look!