PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The Portland Charter Commission has released its draft amendments for changing the city’s form of government and is seeking public comment during May before the final versions are referred to the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The three major changes proposed by the 20-member appointed commission would:

• Expand the City Council from five to 12 members

• Elect the 12 councilors from four geographic districts with ranked-choice voting where the top three finishers would win in a single election

• Elect a citywide mayor who is not a voting member of the council to run the city on a day-to-day basis with the help of a professional manager

“We are eager to hear from the public about these draft amendments, and it is important that Portlanders know this is ultimately up to them. We have assembled these recommendations, doing our best to capture what the public wants. We will keep refining our work, and then voters will get to decide whether to change the way our city functions,” Commission Co-chair Melanie Billings-Yun said in the Tuesday, May 3 announcement.

Comments will be sought in a series of hybrid, online and in-person opportunities. Members of the public are encouraged to submit written feedback by email, mail or by phone.

The hearing schedule is:

  • Tuesday, May 10, 6-9 p.m. (hybrid)
  • Thursday, May 12, 6-9 p.m. (hybrid)
  • Tuesday, May 17, 6-9 p.m. (hybrid)
  • Sunday, May 22, noon-3 p.m. (in-person).

The deadline for comments is 5 p.m. on Monday, May 30. Finalized charter amendments will be voted on by the commission on June 14. If approved, Portland voters will decide whether to change the form of government in November.

Portland is currently the only major city in America where all members of the council are elected citywide and oversee bureaus assigned to them by the mayor. Critics say this creates siloed bureaus that do not work together to solve problems.

“No other city in the country is asking people who are supposed to be focused on policy, and big vision, to also be managing the day-to-day operations. Portland hasn’t increased its size of council in over 100 years, and our city has changed dramatically in 100 years. It’s time we invest in our democracy — we should give Portlanders a government that better represents their viewpoints and lived experiences,” said Charter Commissioner Robin Ye.

The Portland Tribune and its parent company Pamplin Media Group are KOIN 6 News media partners

More information and details about comment opportunities can be found on the commission’s website at www.portland.gov/omf/charter-review-commission.