Criteria for Sister City Relationships
Binding City Policy
BCP-ART-1.01 Exhibit A
Section I- Selection Criteria
- A proposal to establish a sister city relationship shall be submitted to the Mayor, who will forward the proposal to the Director of the Office of International Relations for a recommendation. The Director shall respond to the Mayor's request for a recommendation within 45 days. Upon the Mayor's approval for the adoption of the sister city, the Mayor shall forward the proposal to the City Council within fourteen days.
- The sister city proposal, and all documents required by the City Council, shall be filed by non-emergency ordinance, or to be subject to a 30-day review period. The proposal shall be subject to a process of review as provided in these criteria.
- Preference shall be given to a city requesting a sister city relationship with the City of Portland, if that city has no other sister city in the United States.
- The City of Portland shall establish a sister city relationship with only one (1) city per country.
- The City of Portland shall give preference to cities in those nations that maintain a consulate or trade mission office in Portland.
- The City of Portland and the proposed sister city shall be of similar size and role, either absolutely or in relation to their regions.
- The City of Portland shall have cultural, educational, economic, governmental, and social interests in common.
Section II - Requirements for the Establishment of a Sister City Relationship
In recognition of the people-to-people philosophy underlying the sister city program, the City of Portland shall not establish and maintain a sister city unless the following criteria are met:
- There exists in the Portland community substantial, long-term, broad-based interest in establishing the relationship --interest that transcends transitory, political, or social concerns and that reflects ongoing community involvement with the sister city's region or people.
- A committee has been formed as a nonprofit entity under Oregon laws and is prepared to undertake the financial and staffing requirements necessary to properly administer such a relationship.
- The committee has presented a plan of action for the first year of such a relationship that demonstrates, whether through volunteer or professional time commitment, the ability to respond in a timely fashion to communications from the sister city, to work with the Mayor's Office and with other community organizations in furthering the relationship, and to represent the City of Portland with competence and integrity.
- The committee has demonstrated a financial capability sufficient fully to fund its operations and the various visits, receptions, delegations, and other similar functions such a relationship entails, without financial contributions from the City. Financial capability as defined in this section means that each association shall have an average monthly minimum balance of $10,000 in its account.
- Approval of any new sister city shall be on a one-year trial basis, with formal approval to follow a recommendation from the Director of the Office of International Relations. During the first year of the relationship the city shall be
designated a "friendship city", and if approved after a one-year trial basis, will be formally adopted as a "sister city" by the City Council, following the procedures outlined in Section I, B. "Friendship city" as defined in this section means that there is no formal structure to the city-to-city relationship and that there are no formal obligations between the cities.
- When an ordinance is passed establishing a new sister city, the Mayor will appoint an initial board of directors, based on the recommendations of the citizen group supporting the ordinance. The make-up of the board will be included in the bylaws of the association.
- Filing Requirements
The State of Oregon requires that the association file the Articles of Incorporation with the Corporation Division and if the association will be soliciting funds for charitable purposes, register under the Charitable Trust and Corporation Act with the Department of Justice. The association must file Form 1023 with the Internal Revenue Service for recognition of exemption (501(c)(3) status). Copies of documents filed shall be submitted to the Office of International Relations.
- Each sister city association is required to file an annual report (January 1 - December 31) with the Mayor's Office. This report shall include a description of all projects undertaken for the year and a financial report. In addition, the association shall submit a proposed budget for the upcoming year which shall include possible projects and anticipated revenues and expenditures. The report shall also include such data as required by the Office of International Relations. The reports shall be submitted no later than the first week of January each year.
Section III - Director of the Office of International Relations
The responsibilities of the Director, in relation to the sister city program, shall be to act as a liaison between the Mayor's Office and the associations, and to fulfill such other duties as the Mayor may assign.
Section IV - Responsibilities: Office of International Relations
Following are the responsibilities of the Office of International Relations to the sister city associations of Portland:
- By March 1 of every year the Director of International Relations shall certify that each sister city association has met all requirements listed in this ordinance.
- The Office of International Relations shall forward copies of all official correspondence sent by sister cities to the Mayor or Office of International Relations to the appropriate association.
1) The Office of International Relations will respond directly to inquiries to the Mayor from sister cities, if assistance from the corresponding sister city association is not required in order to respond to the request.
2) Inquiries requiring the review/input of a sister city association shall be referred to the appropriate association.
- The Director of the Office of International Relations, or a designated representative, will attend sister city association board meetings when possible.
- The Office of International Relations will, when feasible, assist sister city associations with the hosting of official incoming delegations.
- The Office of International Relations shall pay the Sister Cities International annual membership fee and disseminate SCI program information to each association.
- The Office of International Relations will help to promote association activities.
- The Office of International Relations will maintain a current board member list.
- The Office of International Relations will respond to requests from the community for information regarding sister city associations.
- The Office of International Relations will assist in building community awareness and understanding of the sister city associations and sister city relationships.
Section V - Requirements for the Maintenance of a Sister City Relationship
- The president of each sister city association, or a designated representative, shall meet annually with the Office of International Relations in order to review association activities, discuss strengthening of the organization, and set an action plan for the coming year.
- The sister city association shall submit a board list, including terms of office, to the Mayor/Office of International Relations whenever board members are added or deleted, or upon request by the Mayor.
- The sister city association shall hold at least one board meeting every quarter.
- The sister city association shall notify the Office of International Relations of all board meetings scheduled, and provide minutes of those meetings.
- The sister city association shall submit changes to association bylaws to the Mayor for his/her approval.
- The sister city association shall notify the Mayor of all incoming official delegations.
Section VI - Revocation of Sister City Status
- Persistent failure to meet requirements under Sections II or V shall result in the revocation of sister city status, following the procedure listed below.
- If a sister city organization fails to meet requirements listed in these criteria, the following process of notification shall take place:
1) The president of the sister city association shall be notified in writing by the Director of International Relations of failure to comply with guidelines. Notification shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested. The sister city association shall have 30 days to respond.
2) The Director of International Relations will form a recommendation as to the viability of the sister city association, and refer that recommendation to the Mayor. The Director of International Relations shall recommend one of the following alternatives to the Mayor:
a) to put the sister city association on a one-year probation,
b) to change the status of the sister city to that of "friendship city",
c) to terminate the sister city relationship, or
d) to maintain the relationship with no changes.
3) The Mayor shall review the recommendation. If the Mayor determines a change is required, the Mayor shall forward the recommendation to the City Council in the form of an ordinance.
Section VII - No Retroactive Effect
Sister city relationships established before October 31, 2001 shall continue in force and need not pass through the initial approvals process here set forth. They are, however, subject to all other requirements of these criteria.