Portland City Council formally appointed 20 community members to the 2021 Charter Commission on December 3, 2020.
The Commission was scheduled to meet throughout a two-year period to identify issues with the current City Charter and suggest remedies and/or modifications for public vote.
Since that time, the Commission has been busy learning the charter review process and taking testimony from the public and city officials. Monthly public meetings have been held, available at portland.gov/omf/charter-review-commission/events.
In addition, the Commission has divided itself into research groups to look into such issues as community involvement, form of government and elections.
To ensure adequate public support is being received, process transparency is diligently practiced.
Besides the monthly public meetings, the Commission has held two Community Listening Sessions (November 13 and 16), where members of the public were able to participate in work groups to discuss specific questions the Commission is addressing.
A major issue discussed was how to promote better equity in public participation and encourage broader BIPOC participation since most public participants of these sessions were white. That issue is still under discussion.
The Commission held a public meeting December 13, 2021 to discuss the progress of the city’s Charter Review process and input received from the November Community Listening Sessions, accept public testimony and to identify next steps.
63 public comments were submitted for review for that meeting. As of that date, a total of 699 public comments had been submitted.
The vast majority of comments called for change in Portland’s commission process, quicker action to address problems and improved accountability, and response to public input and concerns.
A second set of Community Listening Sessions where the public can participate with Charter Commission members is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 6-8 pm and Saturday, January 22, 12-2 pm online.
Based on input received, the Commission will address a variety of City Charter issue areas with the intent of submitting suggested charter revision language to City Council in June for referral to the public by the City Council for a charter update vote scheduled for November 2022.
Additional information about the Charter Commission process and Listening Sessions is at portland.gov/omf/charter-review-commission.