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.”
You may read the League’s testimony
If you would like to see how we testified on the changes we want, you can read our testimony below. These statements use information we learned in our research, as well as our position statements. We used not only our City Government position and study, but also our positions on Election Methods.
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.
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:
- Read some background about the Commission’s two subcommittees on Form of Government and City Council Elections.
- Refresh your memory of the LWVPDX position on local government.
- 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.