Better Government Through Charter Reform
Instead of electing members of City Council through at-large elections, let’s use electoral districts to choose our city councilors. This simple change will ensure that voices from every corner of the city are represented in City Hall.
Let’s institute a city manager system to oversee the day-to-day operations of city bureaus. That common sense reform will make it possible for the City to deliver services more efficiently and at a lower cost with far better oversight and accountability.
We need to add more council seats so that our city’s growing diverse communities can all have a voice in local representation.
Portland is one of the last large cities in America to use a “commission” form of government. Under a commission form of government, each member of City Council is also the manager of one or more city bureaus. Between the late 1800s and the early 1900s, a handful of American cities, including Portland, experimented with the commission for government. Our commission form of government encourages City Councilors to look out for the interests of the bureaus they manage and looking past the interests of the city as a whole. We can fix this by instituting a City Manager system to coordinate the day-to-day operations of city services.