02-01-2023  4:02 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 05 December 2022

The Portland Charter Commission, appointed by City Council in December 2020, concluded their two-year term today. The Commission referred nine proposals to the November 2024 election and recommended six proposals to Portland City Council.  

The Charter Commission’s first round of recommendations included significant changes to the City’s current form of government and way in which Portlanders vote for City officials. Those recommendations were approved by voters last month and implementation is underway.  

A second phase of the charter review process began in June.  

At least once every 10 years, City Council appoints 20 Portlanders to the Charter Commission to review and recommend amendments to the City’s Charter, Portland’s founding document that establishes the City’s governing system and structure.

The charter review process “has been an incredible process. As different as we are as a city, this has demonstrated that we can come together to get things done,” said Debra Porta, who served as co-chair of the Charter Commission.

“If we’re engaged, we can make things happen.” 

The Charter Commission voted to refer nine proposals to voters in 2024. Another six will be presented to City Council on January 19, 2023 for their consideration. Portland City Council may choose to refer those recommendations to voters during any election cycle.

Proposals referred to the November 2024 election:

  • Delete the prohibition on mandating the weatherization of structures built before September 1, 1979. 
  • Clarify language to reflect the City’s existing role to protect recreational and natural resources. 
  • Clarify language to reflect the City’s existing role to protect and manage water, sewage, and stormwater.  
  • Delete vague and archaic language: “roaming the streets at unseasonable hours”.  
  • Delete vague and archaic language: “offensive” businesses. 
  • Delete outdated, burdensome, and redundant requirements for franchise agreements. 
  • Update, and make consistent, references to “protected classes”.  
  • Replace “disability” with “incapacity” when referencing an elected official’s inability to perform their duties.  
  • Create an Independent Portland Elections Commission.  

Proposals recommended to City Council:

  • Remove the 5% cap on the City’s transient lodgings tax.  
  • Create an article dedicated to environmental issues that includes environmental justice as a core value of the City, requires the City to assess the climate impact of its decisions and establishes a right to a clean and healthy environment.  
  • Establish meaningful public engagement as a core value of the City.  
  • Require the City to create by ordinance a participatory budgeting program open to all residents.  
  • Expand right to vote in City elections to the fullest extent allowed by law. 
  • Create an Office of the Transparency Advocate. 

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