PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Recently, a charter commission approved their proposal for Portland’s new form of government, sending the issue to voters in November.

The proposed change would create 12 city council seats across four districts with 3 members each, selected by ranked-choice voting. The mayor would not have veto power, but would serve as a tie-breaking vote.

While many, including current city leaders, have said Portland’s current form of government is outdated and inefficient — not everyone agrees on what form of government the city should switch to.

A new political action committee announced Wednesday that it is against the proposed change to the city government, calling the proposal deeply flawed. The group calls themselves the Partnership for Common Sense Government.

The initial three directors are Vadim Mozyrsky, a Federal Administrative law judge and recent
candidate for the Portland City Council, Steven Moskowitz and Charles Duffy. Moskowitz and
Duffy, both lawyers, are former staff members for Mayor Bud Clark.

The PAC said the charter commission’s proposal of 12 city council members will be costly. They called ranked-choice voting confusing and criticized what they say is a lack of mayoral veto power.

“We think the package is extreme and we think confusing and we think it costs way too much money,” said Charles Duffy, the PAC’s director. “The parts that we’re very concerned about is the combination of ranked-choice voting with multi-member districts — because that is an idea that nobody in the country is using … After this measure is defeated, we will work with the council and other groups to put a sensible measure on the ballot soon.”

The group in opposition fears that the combination of large multi-member districts selected by ranked choice voting would encourage politicians to run as a group.

“It creates factions. It creates many political parties. It accentuates the power of of special interest groups,” Duffy said.

Charter commission member Melanie Billings-Yun helped create the proposal. She refutes the PACs concerns, saying the Portland Charter Commission compiled research for over a year on effective governments all over the world to come up with the current proposal on the ballot.

“This has been a moving target from them from the beginning, which makes me feel that it is not completely sincere. Initially, they complained that it was a system not used anywhere else in the world. When we pointed out that it’s used in 85 countries, including 40 of the 42 countries in Europe, they changed it to ‘It’s a system that’s never been tried in the U.S,'” she said.

Portland’s population has grown exponentially since the early 1900s when the current commission form of government was established.

“So we need a bigger council if we really want to represent Portlanders,” Billings-Yun said.

Meanwhile, the PAC said they do not have their own proposal yet. However, they have consensus on what think would be better. They prefer a mayor and city manager form of government, where the mayor has veto power. For accountability, the PAC would prefer smaller, single-member districts, with regular voting.

Portland City Council members are also weighing in with their thoughts on the proposed new form of government.

“Ultimately, I hope to be able to support the Charter Reform measure on the ballot in November. However, as I said in Council recently, I do have concerns regarding elements of the measure. I am also increasingly concerned about the Mayor’s lack of veto power. If the Mayor has no veto power or check and balance relative to the legislative body, there will be a lack of transparency and accountability. I look forward to seeing the final language before making my decision,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said.

In an interview, Commissioner Mingus Mapps told KOIN 6 that he agrees with some aspects of the current proposal — but opposes other parts. Mapps likes the city administrator aspect and says it’s prudent that Portland increases the size of the city council.

“It’s a new form of government that we’ve never seen before in the United States. The combination of multi-member districts chosen by ranked-choice voting — that’s such a unique system I just don’t know how it’s going to work. My primary concern with charter reform is that we wind up with a government that works better than what we have today. What we have today is failing us because it’s antiquated,” Mapps said.

Commissioner Dan Ryan blamed the current system for his inability to quickly open tiny-house villages for homeless people. Ryan has also expressed concerns about the current proposal, but is out of town and did not clarify what aspects he’s against.

In a joint statement, Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Carmen Rubio said that “the Charter Commission has worked incredibly hard to prepare this recommendation for Portlanders, and we thank them for their service to the City. We have months left to discuss this as a community, and we would like to hear directly from members of the public. We’ll share our unique perspectives as the elected leaders charged with making Portland city government work, but we also want to give Portlanders the space to reach their own informed conclusions. As always, we are honored to serve Portlanders and we will support and execute the will of the voters.”

KOIN 6 News’ Alex Heiden contributed to this article.