On November 12, 2019, the League submitted comments to the City Council about the process for changing City Code Chapter 3.96. This part of the City Code governs the way the Office of Community and Civic Life engages with people in Portland. Action Chair Debbie Aiona also testified at the Council’s November 14 hearing.
The City Council resolution calls for a multi-bureau work group to carry out the next phase of this process. The League urges opening the work group’s meetings to the public for observation. We also recommend following up the work group’s proposals with a thorough public process that includes a broad group of Portlanders.
The public needs more opportunities to be involved
The League of Women Voters of Portland has sent a letter to Commissioner Eudaly and Director Suk Rhee of the Office of Community and Civic Life. We are asking for more transparency and public involvement in the work of the committee proposing changes to the section of the City Code that governs community involvement and Neighborhood Associations. We believe most Portlanders don’t know about the Code 3.96 Committee’s efforts to change the City Code. The public should have their say on changes to policies that may affect how the public interacts with our city government and the livability of Portland’s neighborhoods.
“The League recommends that once the Code 3.96 Committee determines its proposal is ready for public review, it should schedule one or more public forums to address questions and accept comments and suggestions from interested community members.”
“It is hard to tell from the initial code language available on the website what the proposed changes will mean for Neighborhood Associations and other community organizations.”
“How will the public be provided avenues to stay informed and participate in a way that ensures a conduit for public input?”
“We understand the existing contracts district coalitions have with the City may be reconfigured and other entities could be chosen to replace them sometime in the future. If that is the case, will those entities provide services to Neighborhood Associations that are similar to the services provided by the district coalition offices?”
Our Mission: Encourage Public Participation
The League works to inform all people about policies that could affect their lives and to help them have a voice in government decisions. We believe the Neighborhood Associations have “the potential for serving the public good by providing important opportunities for civic participation and improving neighborhood livability.” And, “If the current system isn’t working for community members, the League is interested in understanding why and how new systems would be better.”