League of Women Voters of Portland Endorses 2022 Charter Amendment

Portland City Hall by M.O. Stevens – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10470949
It is time to make Portland’s government more responsive, representative and effective.

At its June 29 meeting, the LWVPDX board voted to endorse the Portland Charter Commission’s proposed amendments to the City Charter. After in-depth studies of Portland’s government and of alternative voting methods,  LWVPDX concluded that the proposed amendments will substantially improve our city government. The amendments will be included in a ballot measure for the November 8, 2022, General Election.

The main charter reform proposals are to:
    • Elect candidates using ranked choice voting.
    • Increase the size of the  City Council to 12 members, electing three members each from four new geographic districts.
    • Establish City Council as a legislative body, without its current administrative responsibilities.  
    • Elect the Mayor citywide to run day-to-day operations along with a professional City Administrator.
Why approve these changes?
    • Proportional ranked choice voting can allow voters to elect a more representative council.  A significant majority of voters will be able to elect city councilors who represent their interests and concerns.
    • District elections with proportional ranked choice voting give Portlanders the power to elect a City Council that reflects the population they serve.
    • A larger City Council will be more responsive to our growing city population. Our population is more than 3 times larger than it was when the current 4-member council (plus the mayor) was established.
    • A legislative city council without administrative responsibilities can devote more time to setting policies and responding to constituent concerns.
    • Delegating the administrative duties to the Mayor and a professional City Administrator provides more effective management of bureaus.
    • Separating the legislative and administrative functions of government allows more accountability. The public knows who is responsible for policy-making, appropriations, and spending.

Learn more about the Charter Commission and LWVPDX’s advocacy with the Commission here. In the next few months, look for more information about how these changes would benefit Portland.

LWV and Advocacy

As a non-profit organization, LWVPDX balances advocacy and voter information.  LWVPDX’s advocacy arm can endorse a campaign or advocate on an issue.  LWVPDX’s voter services provide balanced, objective informational resources about all sides of a campaign. Across all its work, LWV is nonpartisan and will never support or oppose a candidate or party.

Change Portland’s Government!

We have a new Position!

The Board of Directors of the Portland League has approved a new – and dramatically different – advocacy position on Portland’s City Government.

The position is the result of a thorough two-year study of Portland’s government, which led to the report shown at the left. After publishing this report, the study committee presented a panel discussion. Then, groups of League members discussed the findings and agreed upon key changes needed for Portland’s government.

The League’s new City Government position calls for major improvements in the government’s structure and also in the way voters elect the City Councilors. Here are some of our recommendations, which we will use during the City Charter Review process in 2021:

  • improve citizen representation by increasing the number of commissioners
  • institute a city manager
  • establish the City Council as a legislative or policy-setting body
  • elect some or all city councilors by district

You can read the entire new League position by clicking here.

During their two-year study, the study committee read more than 30 source documents. They also interviewed 15 government experts and city officials. Then they wrote their report, The City That Works: Preparing Portland for the Future. You can read the this report here. You may view the video of the panel discussion of Portland’s government here.

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.