Chapter 2.04 Initiative and Referendum Procedures


- Note
(New Chapter Substituted by Ord. No. 163790, Jan. 16, 1991.)

2.04.010 Definitions.
(Repealed by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)

2.04.020 Applicability of State Law; Limitations.
(Repealed by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)

2.04.030 Pre-election Publication.
No City voters pamphlet shall be required for an election subject to this chapter unless the Council directs it specifically.

2.04.040 Submission of Measures to Voters.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 177200 and 184947, effective November 18, 2011.)

 

A.  Council Submission of Measures

 

1.  A measure may be submitted to the legal voters of the City by resolution of the Council.  No petition is required.

 

2.  An advisory question, measure or proposition may be submitted to the voters by resolution of the Council.  No petition is required.  The vote shall not enact the matter into law, preclude the Council from adopting an ordinance enacting the matter into law, or require the Council to enact the measure into law.

 

B.  Elector’s Submission of Petition on Legislation

 

1.  A petition initiating or referring city legislation may be submitted by electors.  The petition shall comply with the requirements of Section 2.04.050 and meet the signature requirements of Section 2.04.090.

 

C.   Charter Commission Measures

 

1.  A measure proposing a charter amendment that is supported by an affirmative vote of at least 15 members of the Charter Commission after a public hearing process prescribed by the Council shall be submitted to the legal voters of the City in conformance with the Charter and this Chapter.


2.04.050 Prospective Petition.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. The chief petitioner(s) shall file a prospective petition with the Auditor prior to circulating the petition. The petition shall be in a form required by the Auditor.
 
B. State law with regard to the form of the petition shall apply except that the City shall provide on the form a place for the chief petitioners to state at which election date the measure is to be placed on the ballot.
1. In the case of an initiative petition:
a. The chief petitioners shall specify the date at which the measure shall be submitted to the voters. The specified election date shall be a regular election date within two years and four months of the time the prospective petition is filed with the Auditor.
b. Each signature sheet shall contain the caption of the ballot title.
 
c. A full and correct copy of the legislation to be initiated must also be submitted with the prospective petition.
2. In the case of a referendum petition:
a. Each signature sheet shall contain the title, and charter section or ordinance number or section numbers proposed for referral and the date it was adopted by Council.
 
b. A full and correct copy of the legislation to be referred must also be submitted with the prospective petition.
3. If one or more persons will be paid for obtaining signatures of electors on the petition, each signature sheet shall contain a notice stating: "Some Circulators For This Petition Are Being Paid."
C. The Auditor shall provide each chief petitioner with a "Statement of Understanding" and with a copy of each of the forms and requirements listed on the Statement. A Statement of Understanding signed by each chief petitioner shall be a prerequisite to acceptance of the petition.
 
D. Prospective petitions which meet the requirements of Sections 2.04.050 A., B., and C. shall be accepted by the Auditor. The Auditor shall inscribe the date of filing upon the petition. The Auditor shall forward two copies to the City Attorney for the preparation of a ballot title not later than the sixth business day after the prospective petition is filed with the Auditor.

2.04.055 One Subject Determination.
(Added by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. The Auditor shall determine in writing no later than the fifth business day after receiving a prospective initiative petition whether the petition meets the requirements of Section 1(2)(D), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution.
 
B. If the Auditor determines that the prospective initiative petition meets the requirements, the Auditor shall publish the ballot title as required in Section 2.04.060, including a statement that the petition has been determined to meet the requirements of Section 1(2)(D), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution.
 
C. If the Auditor determines that the initiative petition does not meet the requirements, the Auditor shall immediately notify the petitioner of the determination in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested.
 
D. Any elector dissatisfied with a determination of the Auditor under Section 2.04.055 A. may petition the circuit court to overturn the determination as provided by state law.

2.04.060 Ballot Title; Publication; Legal Effect.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. The City Attorney shall prepare a ballot title within five business days after receiving the prospective petition from the Auditor, or in the case of measures referred by Council, within five business days of the request. The ballot title shall comply with the requirements of state law. The purpose of the ballot title is to accurately describe the proposed measure, and does not constitute an opinion as to whether the proposed measure is free of legal defects.
 
B. The ballot title shall consist of:
1. A caption of not more than 10 words which reasonably identifies the subject matter of the petition.
 
2. A question of not more than 20 words which plainly phrases the chief purpose of the measure so that an affirmative response to the question corresponds to an affirmative vote; and
 
3. A concise and impartial statement of not more than 175 words summarizing the measure and its major effects.
C. In the case of a prospective petition, the City Attorney shall transmit the ballot title to the Auditor who shall inscribe the date of receipt on it and shall:
1. Transmit a copy of the petition and the ballot title to one of the chief petitioners; and,
 
2. Publish in the next available edition of a newspaper of general circulation in the City, a notice of receipt of the ballot title, that an elector may file a petition for review of the ballot title, and the date by which the appeal must be filed.
D. Ballot titles for measures referred by Council shall be published by the Auditor as provided in Section 2.04.120 B.

2.04.070 Legal Challenge to Ballot Title.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.) A ballot title filed with the Auditor by the City Attorney or adopted by the City Council may be challenged as provided by state law.

2.04.080 Circulation of Petition.
(Added by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. The Auditor shall certify the petition to one of the chief petitioners for circulation at the conclusion of the seventh business day after the ballot title is received from the City Attorney or immediately upon final adjudication as prescribed by the court, except a referendum petition which is found by the Auditor to satisfy the provisions of Section 2.04.050 may be circulated prior to the preparation of the ballot title.
 
B. The Auditor shall advise the chief petitioner in writing that the preparation of the ballot title by the City Attorney and certification of the petition by the Auditor does not certify that the proposed measure is a proper matter for the initiative or referendum process or that it is legal or free of legal defects.
 
C. Each copy of the petition which is circulated shall consist of a cover page including the ballot title and the text of the legislation being initiated or referred backed with the signature sheet. If the text of the legislation is too lengthy to fit on the cover sheet, each person obtaining signatures on the petition shall carry at least one full and correct copy of the measure to be initiated or referred and shall allow any person to review a copy upon request.
 
D. Each elector signing the petition shall do so by affixing the elector’s signature to the signature sheet. Space shall also be available on the signature sheet for the elector's, printed name, residence address, precinct number, and date of signing.
 
E. No signature sheet shall be circulated by more than one person. Each signature sheet shall contain a certification signed by the circulator that each elector who signed the sheet did so in the circulator’s presence and to the best of the circulator’s knowledge, each elector signing the sheet is a legal voter of the City and that compensation received by the circulator, if any, was not based on the number of signatures obtained for this petition.

2.04.090 Filing Deadlines, Percentage Requirements and Signature Verification.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 177200 and 178799, effective November 5, 2004.)
 
A. The Auditor shall not accept a petition for signature verification which does not satisfy the requirements of this chapter and other applicable law. Petitions shall be verified in the order in which they are filed with the Auditor.
 
B. A petition shall not be accepted for signature verification unless it contains at least 100 percent of the required number of signatures.
 
C. In computing the required number of signatures, the required number shall be a percentage, as provided in this section, of the number of electors registered in the city on the date of the primary municipal election immediately preceding the date the prospective petition is filed.
 
D. An initiative petition shall:
1. Be filed with the Auditor for signature verification no less than four months before the election date specified on the petition. Failure to meet this filing deadline shall render the petition void.
 
2. Be signed by a number of electors equal to or greater than 9 percent of the number of electors registered in the city on the date of the primary municipal election immediately preceding the date the prospective petition is filed.
E. A referendum petition shall:
1. Be filed with the Auditor for signature verification no later than 30 days after passage of the ordinance sought to be referred, however, it must be submitted to the Auditor at least four months before an election date in order to be placed on the ballot for that election. The four months submission requirement may be waived if the Auditor can complete the signature verification process and meet the counties’ elections filing deadlines, and the provisions of Section 2.04.130 B. are satisfied.
 
2. Be signed by a number of legal voters equal to or greater than 6 percent of the number of electors registered in the city on the date of the primary municipal election immediately preceding the date the prospective petition is filed, except that a petition signed by 2,000 registered voters shall be sufficient to call a referendum upon any franchise ordinance.
F. Upon acceptance of the petition, the Auditor shall arrange for verification of the validity of the signatures with the County Elections Officers. Verification may be performed by random sampling in a manner approved by the Secretary of the State of Oregon.
 
G. The Auditor shall complete the verification process within 30 days after receipt of the petition and shall advise a chief petitioner whether the petition qualifies to be submitted to the voters.
 
H. A date shall be placed on the petition or on a certificate attached to the petition which shows the date the verification process was completed. Measures which qualify for placement on the ballot shall be certified by the Auditor as meeting the requirements of this chapter and shall be submitted to the Council for action as provided by 2.04.100. The Auditor shall certify to the County Elections Offices each measure which qualifies for placement on the ballot, unless the measure has been enacted by the Council.

2.04.100 Council Action; Competing Measure and Certification.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. The Auditor shall file with the Council each initiative and referendum measure submitted by the electors which qualifies for placement on the ballot for action by the Council as follows:
1. The Council may adopt an ordinance which codifies an initiative measure proposing a change to the City code. The Council shall act by a non-emergency ordinance not later than the 30th day after the measure has been certified by the Auditor for Council action and not later than the date the measure must be certified to the County for placement on the ballot. Approval of the ordinance shall void the initiative petition.
 
2. The Council may repeal an ordinance provision which is the subject of a referendum petition. The Council shall act by a non-emergency ordinance not later than the 30th day after the measure has been certified by the Auditor for Council action and not later than the date the measure must be certified to the County for placement on the ballot. Repeal of the referred ordinance provision shall void the referendum petition.
B. All measures involving charter language which qualify for placement on the ballot shall be submitted to the voters.
 
C. The Council may refer a competing measure, however, it shall prepare the measure not later than the 30th day after the measure has been filed with the Auditor for signature verification.

2.04.110 Measures Proposed by the Charter Commission.

(Added by Ordinance No. 184947, effective November 18, 2011.)

 

A.   Preparation of Ballot Title

 

1.   When a measure proposing a charter amendment is supported by an affirmative vote of at least 15 members of the Charter Commission after a public hearing process prescribed by the Council:

 

a.  The Commission shall notify the Auditor and submit to the Auditor the text of a proposed measure.

 

b.  Within seven business days after submission of the proposed measure to the Auditor, the Auditor shall file the measure as a report from the Charter Commission to the Council and place it on the Council agenda.

 

c.  Within two business days after the Charter Commission presents the measure to the Council at a Council meeting, the Auditor shall forward the measure to the City Attorney for preparation of a ballot title and explanatory statement in conformance with the requirements of state law. 

 

d.  Within five business days after receiving the measure from the Auditor, the City Attorney shall prepare and transmit to the Auditor the ballot title and explanatory statement.

 

e.  After receiving the ballot title, the Auditor shall publish in the next available edition of a newspaper of general circulation in the City, a notice of receipt of the ballot title, that an elector may file a petition for review of the ballot title, and the date by which the appeal must be filed.

 

f.  Following completion of the ballot title challenge process, the Auditor shall file the measure, ballot title and explanatory statement with county elections officers.

 

g.  A measure shall be considered referred under this Section as soon as the measure is certified to the ballot. The measure shall be placed on the next primary or general election ballot that is at least 120 days after the date the Charter Commission presents the measure to Council. As part of its affirmative vote supporting a measure, the Charter Commission may specify whether the measure shall be submitted to the voters at the primary election or at the general election.


2.04.120 Measures Referred by the Council.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. Preparation of Ballot Title and Resolution; Effective Date.
1. Prior to final Council action on a measure to be referred to the electors, an elected City official shall submit a resolution and ballot title to the Council Clerk for placement on the Council agenda. The ballot title may be prepared by:
a. the City Attorney at the request of the Council or elected official;
 
b. the Council; or
 
c. an elected City official.
If the City Attorney is asked by the Council or an elected official to prepare the ballot title and resolution, the ballot title and resolution shall be transmitted to the Council or elected official within five business days of the request, unless a longer time period is specified by the Council or elected official.
 
2. The ballot title shall comply with the requirements of Section 2.04.060 B.
 
3. A measure shall be placed on the ballot if the Council enacts a resolution directing that a measure be placed on the ballot.
 
4. A measure shall be considered referred under this section as of the date the Council adopts the resolution directing placement of the measure on the ballot.
B. Publication. Upon referral of the measure as outlined in Section 2.04.120 A., the Auditor shall publish in the next available edition of a newspaper of general circulation in the City, a notice of receipt of the ballot title, that an elector may file a petition for review of the ballot title, and the date by which the appeal must be filed.
 
C. Legal Challenge to Ballot Title. A ballot title adopted by Council may be challenged as provided by state law.

2.04.125 Advisory Questions Referred by Council.
(Added by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. Preparation of Ballot Title and Resolution; Effective Date.
1. Prior to final Council action on an advisory question to be referred to the electors, an elected City official shall submit a resolution and ballot title to the Council Clerk for placement on the Council agenda. The ballot title may be prepared by:
a. the City Attorney at the request of the Council or elected official;
 
b. the Council; or
 
c. an elected City official.
If the City Attorney is asked by the Council or an elected official to prepare the ballot title and resolution, the ballot title and resolution shall be transmitted to the Council or elected official within five business days of the request, unless a longer time period is specified by the Council or elected official.
 
2. The ballot title shall comply with the requirements of Section 2.04.060 B.
 
3. An advisory question shall be placed on the ballot if the Council enacts a resolution directing that a measure be placed on the ballot.
 
4. An advisory question shall be considered referred under this Section as of the date the Council adopts the resolution directing placement of the question on the ballot.
B. Publication. Upon referral of the measure as outlined in Section 2.04.125 A, the Auditor shall publish in the next available edition of a newspaper of general circulation in the City, a notice of receipt of ballot title, that an elector may file a petition for review of the ballot title, and the date by which the appeal must be filed.
 
C. Legal Challenge to Ballot Title. A ballot title adopted by Council may be challenged as provided by state law.

2.04.130 Election Dates; Special Election.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. An initiative measure shall be placed on the ballot at the primary or general election date specified on the petition.
 
B. A referendum measure shall be placed on the ballot at the next primary or general election unless the Council finds that the public interest in a prompt resolution of the question outweighs the costs associated with a special election. If the Council chooses not to place the matter on the ballot at the next primary or general election, the Council may call for a special election at the next available date or call for a special election at an election date when other measures are on the ballot thus reducing the cost.
 
C. A measure or advisory question referred by Council shall be placed on the election ballot specified in the resolution directing the measure or question to be referred to the voters. This shall be a primary or general election date, unless the Council finds that the public interest in a prompt resolution of the question outweighs the costs associated with a special election. If the Council chooses not to place the matter on the ballot at the next primary or general election, the Council may call for a special election at the next available date or call for a special election at an election date when other measures are on the ballot thus reducing the cost. If no date is specified in the Council resolution, the measure shall be placed on the ballot at the next available primary or general election.

2.04.140 Ballot Designations.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 177200 and 184947, effective November 18, 2011.)

 

Measures referred by the Council shall be designated on the ballot “Referred to the People by the City Council.”

 

B.  Advisory questions referred by the Council shall be designated on the ballot "Advisory Question Referred to the People by the City of Portland."

 

C.  Measures proposed by referendum petition shall be designated on the ballot “Referred by Petition of the People.”

 

D.  Measures proposed by initiative petition shall be designated on the ballot “Proposed by Initiative Petition.”

 

E.  Measures proposed by the Charter Commission supported by an affirmative vote of at least 15 members of the Charter Commission shall be designated on the ballot “Referred to the People by the Charter Commission.”


2.04.150 Computation of the Vote.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. No measure shall be adopted unless it receives an affirmative majority of the total number of votes.
 
B. A measure that falls under the requirements of Article 11, Section11 (8) of the Oregon Constitution shall be adopted only if it receives an affirmative majority of the total number of votes and:
1. At least 50 percent of registered voters of the City cast a ballot; or
 
2. The election is a general election in an even-numbered year.
C. If there are two or more measures on the ballot on the same subject or containing conflicting provisions, the measure receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall be the measure adopted.

2.04.160 Effective Date.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)
 
A. The Auditor shall submit the abstract of votes for each measure from the County Elections office to the Council within 30 days after the date of the election. The Mayor shall issue a proclamation giving the number of votes cast for or against a measure and declare the approved measure as the law on the effective date of the measure. If two or more approved measures contain conflicting provisions, the Mayor shall proclaim which is paramount, as provided by Section 2.04.150 B.
 
B. An initiative or referendum measure adopted by the electors shall take effect upon proclamation by the Mayor unless the measure expressly provides a different effective date.

2.04.170 Computation of Dates.
(Repealed by Ordinance No. 177200, effective February 21, 2003.)