POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Amanda Fritz What Happened?
2011 Charter Commission process Q & A

Didn't we just vote on Charter changes?  Why are we appointing another Charter Commission right now?


When the voters chose in 2007 to update several parts of the Portland City Charter, effective 2009, a new section was adopted requiring the appointment of a Charter Review Commission in January 2011.  Part of the reason (* see update added 12/17/10, below) for this was that the package of amendments offered to voters in 2007 included changing from the Commission form of government to a City Manager structure.  A relatively quick review was deemed necessary in case unintended consequences or glitches would be discovered after the change, that needed prompt correction. 



  • the voters chose not to change the form of government
  • the recession hit, with more than 10% of Oregonians out of work and many families struggling to keep food on the table and roofs over heads
  • City bureaus have made significant cuts in staffing and services to citizens -- 9% cuts in the last two fiscal years
  • the Portland Plan is in progress, with citywide, broad outreach to discuss who we are and what we want Portland to be in 2035 -- a process expected to take at least one more year before final review and adoption of the Plan by Council 
  • the last Charter Review process cost $600,000 

For all these reasons, the Council is planning a two part Charter Review process.


*  Update 12/17/10: A kind Portlander who served on the last Charter Commission informs me that another reason for requiring a Charter Commission in 2011, was that previous Charter Commissions were limited to the charges and scope requested by Council.  The last Commission wanted a robust discussion of whatever Portlanders might want to discuss, in 2011.  My reasoning that the recession and the ongoing Portland Plan would make that broad discussion more meaningful, deep, and diverse after the conclusion of the Portland Plan still stands.


What do you mean, a two part Charter Review process?

  • The Council will appoint one Charter Commission by Resolution on December 15, to start work in January 2011 as required by the Charter.  We have asked appointees to limit the scope and timeframe to three topics (see below) and six months.


  • We commit to appointing a second Charter Commission soon after conclusion of the Portland Plan, to look at wider policy changes that might be forwarded to voters.  Participation on the first Charter Commission will neither advance or detract from a citizen's opportunity to be appointed to the second one.


The Resolution to be voted on this coming Wednesday, December 15, is here.  The list of appointees to the Commission is here.



What will the Charter Commission focus on?


The 2011 Charter Commission is being asked by the Council to address three issues as its priorities:


1) Prepare a list of minor housekeeping amendments, to put on the ballot in May or November of 2011.


Perhaps because previous Charter Commissions have concentrated on Big Picture discussions of the form of government and other complicated issues, there is language in the Charter that doesn't belong there in 2011.  For example, my title is "Commission of Public Utilities".  In the olden days, candidates for office would run for and be assigned a predetermined set of bureaus - utilities, safety, public works, etc.  Now, the Mayor assigns the bureaus unrelated to the old titles, and each Commissioner's portfolio may change at will.  I am not assigned any of the utilities.  It would be less confusing for citizens if my title was simply, "Position number 1".  That's an example of one of the minor amendments that could be made.  Hopefully, the ballot measure will contain only issues without any controversy or need for extensive/intensive community discussion.  Of course, mechanisms will be provided for Portlanders to give input to and review proposed amendments, including a public hearing at Council.


2)  Develop a list of issues with policy implications, to be discussed by the second Charter Commission formed after the conclusion of the Portland Plan.


This is self-explanatory, and necessary since we don't have the budget for broad public engagement on more major policy issues in 2011.  We won't wait for the second Charter Commission to be formed, however, to begin discussions on important issues identified in the Portland Plan.  I envision Neighborhood and Business Associations, and other community groups, continuing and expanding on the conversations on identified topics, either as part of or parallel with the Portland Plan.  For instance, those with continued interest in changing the form of government could join together to identify a proposal to be considered by the second Charter Commission, between the closure of this one and the start of the next.


3)  Provide advice to the Council on how to encourage participation and applications to be appointed for the second Charter Commission.


The current Charter requires that the Charter Commission has 20 members, four appointed by each of the five Council members.  And, that the Commission shall be reflective of the City in terms of its racial and ethnic diversity, age and geography.  Earlier this year, Mayor Adams agreed to my request to assign me to coordinate formation of the 2011 Commission.  I realized that it would be very difficult to conduct an open, embracing application process encouraging anyone interested to participate, and then define a way of coordinating four nominations from five people that would end up with the required diversity in demographics.  For good reasons, people are not required to state age or ethnicity on applications.  The mechanism used to appoint the 2011 Charter Commission meets the standards in the Charter, but without inviting invitations from all interested Portland residents.  I will welcome the 2011 Commission's advice on other ways to reach the goal in the second Charter Commission process.  I will also seek advice from the Public Involvement Advisory Council, the League of Women Voters, Neighborhood and Business Associations, Diverse Civic Leadership partners, and other community groups and individuals.


It is important to note, and all nominees are aware, that once the Charter Commission is appointed, its members decide the rules of procedure and what the Commission will address.  The 2011 Charter Commission is not bound by the Council's requests.


So how did the Council choose the 20 appointees for the 2011 Charter Commission?


With the assistance of Brian Hoop and Michelle Pellegrin in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), I conducted a survey of people currently serving on the City's 47 Boards and Commissions.  I figure these volunteers already have knowledge about the way the City works (and doesn't), and that busy people are the best choices to approach getting a task done in a pragmatic, efficient manner.  Over 80% of the members gave us the requested demographic information, giving the Council more than 300 people to select from, to invite to be appointed to the 2011 Charter Commission.  I am very grateful both to those who responded to the survey, and to Brian and Michelle for their diligent work and follow-through.


Note, identifying folks who might agree to serve on the Charter Commission was only one of the goals of the survey project.  I also wanted to find out how we are doing in terms of making Boards and Commissions accessible to all Portlanders. The survey showed that overall and in most categories, the members of the City's boards and Commissions do reflect the city as a whole.  While the proportion of women and of people self-reporting living with disabilities is less than in the general population, we have a good range of age, ethnicity and geographic residency represented.  Interestingly, approximately 20% of Board and Commission members don't live within the city limits.  More work is needed before the summary data from the survey is available for public review.  I'll provide more information on the wider project later.  Please also note that since our Board and Commission members are volunteers, the City does not share their private contact information other than the names of those serving. 


After I distributed the data compiled by Brian and Michelle, sorted by the demographics listed in the Charter, each member of the Council gave me a list of nominees.  I circulated an aggregated list of the proposed members to my colleagues, then I made all the phone calls inviting participation.  I was awed at the response.  Portlanders are wonderful!  Those invited are already serving our city, most in volunteer roles demanding huge investment of their time.  Almost everyone accepted the nomination quickly..... although most after seeking clarity on the expectation for length and intensity of service, because after all, they're busy people.  I was clear that the Charter mandates that the Commission once formed gets to set its own rules of procedure and scope of work.  There is general support among members for the two-part approach.  I am very pleased with the fine group of twenty 2011 Charter Commissioners the Council will appoint on December 15. 


The next step after the appointments on Wednesday will be setting a meeting time and date in January.  It will of course will be an open public meeting, which I'll publicize on my web site.  We will set up a separate page for Portlanders to get information to and from the Commission, in January.


Aren't you usually in favor of transparent, broad public process, Amanda?


Yes.  Some have commented that it is more than a little incongruent for someone who is a policy geek, Charter language wonk, and passionate supporter of broad, inclusive community engagement to coordinate the appointment a Charter Commission without requesting applications to serve, limiting membership to Portlanders already participating in civic systems, and requesting a short, constrained process in 2011.   


Let me be very clear: The Council is requesting a two-part Charter process.  This first Commission is being asked to provide a quick, pragmatic win to voters, offering amendments that will be non-controversial and allow Portlanders to continue to focus on surviving the recession.  The Portland Plan process will continue, and focus the limited resources of citizen and staff capacity, funding and time, to define what Portland is now and what we want it to be in 2035.  I want public outreach and engagement to concentrate on participation in the Portland Plan, aided by a Charter Commission that will propose Charter amendments that will remove distractions and organize other topics for future debate.


Then, the second Charter Commission will conduct the necessary broad-based public process that will provide the vehicle to define and offer significant policy amendments to voters.  It will be appointed long before another ten years goes by.  All Portlanders will be invited to apply to serve on the second Commission. 


I believe support of two Charter Commissions, with the Portland Plan linking the two, gives Portland citizens more opportunity to effect changes in the Charter, and that this is the right process for this time.

Table of Contents
Residential Infill Project comments
Better Housing by Design speech
Draft Tree Code Resolution December 2019
Portland Water Bureau Annual Report on Filtration Plant Planning, June 2019
Proposed Charter Change Ballot Captions and Summaries
Proposed Charter Amendments
2019-20 Budget Speech
Speech on Withdrawing from JTTF, 2/13/19
Dr. Markisha Smith joins the Office of Equity and Human Rights
Revised Proposed Legislative Agenda 2019
Local and Federal Investments on Homelessness
Community Input on 2019 Legislative Priorities
Speech on Protest Safety Ordinance
Open and Accountable Elections ordinance 2016
Open & Accountable Elections Director Selected
Message to City Employees on All-user restrooms
Fiscal Report for my office, 2009 - 20016
My speech at Open and Accountable Elections public hearing, September 2016
San Francisco Resolution regarding policies of President-elect Trump
Report on Demolition Regulations Implementation, 2016
2012 Resolution and 2016 MOU on Tribal Consultation
Open and Accountable Elections proposed code
Chief Marshman Statement 10/12/16
Comments on Police union contract vote
Updated information on Proposed Police Contract
Frequently Asked Questions on Proposed Portland Police Association contract
Community Conversation on SE 3rd & Harrison Site: Discussion Highlights
Community Conversation on SE 3rd & Harrison Site: Discussion Highlights
A Home For Everyone Summary
My speech on Transportation Network Companies/taxis
Paid Parental Leave FAQ
Paid Parental Leave Ordinance
Decision-making on Duniway Park donation
Closed Captioning Press Release
Closed Captioning Ordiance
Especially Large Tree Development Proposal
How to Make a Difference at a Planning Commission or City Council Hearing
Noise Task Force Application
Substitute Ordinance Pile Driving
Portland's Protected Sick Time Code
Speech on JTTF Memorandum Of Understanding
ACLU letter on JTTF 2-25-15
Comments on SDC Waivers for Middle-Income Housing in Old Town Chinatown
One Key Question Press Release
One Key Question Resolution
Vending Carts Regulations brochure (pdf)
2013 Span of Control Report (pdf)
Captioned video of Council hearing on Blood Donations and HIV precautions, September 2013
DHM Oregon Opinion Poll 2013
Department of Justice Settlement Agreement
Resolution on Zoning Confirmation Letter, Oct 2, 2013
Right to Dream Too Zoning Confirmation Letter, for Oct 2 hearing
Street Musicians Agreement FAQs
Street Musicians Agreement (pdf)
Occupancy/rental taxes on hotels, rental vehicles, etc.
Adopted Protected Sick Time Ordinance 3/13/13
Adopted Protected Sick Leave Code
Metro Fact Sheet on the proposed Oregon Convention Center Hotel
Statement on proposed Public Utility District, 7/18/13 (pdf)
Comments on Parks and Development Services, one month into my assignment
Corrected Comments at the vote on the 2013 - 14 Budget
Comments at the vote on the 2013 - 14 Budget
Ordinance creating the Office of Equity and Human Rights, 09/21/10
Job Posting 3/15/13, Administrative Assistant/Constituent Services Specialist
Adopted Protected Sick Leave Code 3/13/13
Helen Moss OpEd in the Oregonian on why Sick Leave is needed now
Task Force Issues Summary
Protected Sick Time Code proposal 2-28-13 (clean version)
Protected Sick Time proposal 2-28-13 showing changes since 1-18-13
Sick Leave Task Force Meeting 3 Notes
Sick Leave Task Force Meeting 2 Notes
Agenda, Earned Sick Leave Task Force Meeting 2
Sick Leave Task Force Meeting 1 Notes
Earned Sick Leave Task Force members
Memo to Venture Portland members on Earned Sick Leave (pdf)
PSU Economists' Analysis of Earned Sick Leave costs and benefits (pdf)
Proposed Sick Leave Code
Proposed Sick Leave Ordinance
NW Parking: Phased Implementation (Exhibit C)
NW Parking: Amended TMA Structure (Exhibit B)
NW Parking: Additional Amendments to Map Boundary
NW Parking: Amended Resolution
Adopted Principles for Budget Advisory Committees
Public Involvement Advisory Council
City Budget Office proposed Code changes
City Budget Office proposed Ordinance
3-1-1 Resolution passed 10/10/12
Link to article commenting on Harvard fluoride study
Substitute Resolution on Coal Trains, 9/19/12
Statement of Intent for improvements in Portland Police Bureau policies and practices, and the City's care for people experiencing mental illnesses, 9/13/12 (pdf)
US Department of Justice Findings in Investigation of Portland Police Bureau, 9/13/12 (pdf)
Comments at the Fluoridation vote, 9/12/12
Open Reservoir Work Session Follow-Up Storage Volumes
Open Reservoir Work Session Follow-Up 08-27-12
DRAFT Summary of current City payments of County services
Library District Budget Impacts
Office of Equity and Human Rights Powerpoint Presentation
Office of Equity and Human Rights One Year Work Plan
Letter to the OLCC from Nine Portland-Area State Legislators
2012 Spirit of Portland Awards Nomination Form
Ordinance Related to Licensing Exterior Areas
OLCC Exterior Areas Petition Document
West Portland Crossroads Report by Patty Lee
Council presentation on Portland Harbor from March 28, 2012
Final State Legislature Summary, 3/7/12
Sidewalks Data
PBA Letter on Downtown Marketing Initiative funding, 2/12
State Legislative Update 2/17/12
Team statistics for the 2009 calendar year
State Legislative Update
Final Resolution on Corporate Personhood
Speech from Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen
Cox v. New Hampshire 1941 U.S. Supreme Court decision
Letter from CFO Rich Goward Regarding City Investment of Funds
Office of Equity and Human Rights Seeks Director
Report from the 1st International Conference on Age-Friendly Cities, Dublin, Ireland September 28-30, 2011
Letter to the Postmaster General
Office of Equity and Human Rights
Response to NECN regarding Last Thursday, 7/28/11
Safer PDX Report Powerpoint
Mid-project Presentation to Council, Safer PDX
Proposed Office of Equity Work Plan, 8/17 Public Review Draft
Proposed draft Equity Office creation ordinance, 8/17 public review draft
Garbage Rates and Options, October 2011
East Portland Expo Program 2011 (pdf)
State Legislative Update 6/30/11
Technology Oversight Committee Application information (pdf)
State Legislative Update 6/24/11
State Legislative Update 6/19/11
State Legislative Update 6/10/11
State Legislative Update 5/28/11
Reports on Equity/Disparities
State Legislative Update 4/29/11
BOEC (9-1-1 Center) 2011-12 Budget Advisory Committee presentation
Equity Office Concept - DRAFT 3/22/11
Equity Office Concept - DRAFT 3/22/11
3/3/11 Update on siting of Wireless Antennas in neighborhoods
Video of Portland Broadband Strategic Plan kickoff session
Biographies of 2011 Charter Commission members
Mayor Adams's response on Human Trafficking statistics and the real problem we face
2011 Charter Commission process Q & A
Appointees to the 2011 City Charter Commission
2011 Charter Commission Appointment Resolution
Sidewalk Management Citations Data, June - August 2010
Resolution on Broadband Strategic Plan, 9/22/10
Summary of Proposed Portland Alcohol Impact Area
OLCC information on Alcohol Impact Areas
National Women's Health Week Project Report
Sidewalk Management Plan updates
Planning for SW Parks
Comments on West Hayden Island Resolution 7/29/10
Amanda's Amendments on West Hayden Island Resolution 7/29/10
Public Safety bond referral
Process for review of Cellular facilities in neighborhoods
Schools/Parks Amendments 4/28/10
Memo to Council on Schools/Parks Code project
City report on 2010 Oregon Legislative session
Central City Concern - spending taxpayers' money wisely
Report on Central City Concern's program effectiveness
Tree removal and construction on I-5 in SW
2010 Regional Graffiti All-Stars
Tibet Proclamation
Neighborhoods in the News, Summer/Fall 2009
Dirty Duck Demolition Permit remarks
Human Rights Commission statement on Aaron Campbell shooting
Questions and Comments on Bull Run Land Exchange and new Bull Run Code
US Postal Service letter on schedule for changing address from 39th Avenue to Cesar E Chavez Boulevard
Water Bureau Fulton/Willamette Park Pump Station
Independent Police Review Dec 2009 Quarterly report
Status of the Columbia River Crossing Bridge
Willamette Week article on Riverfest 2009
Potential Health Impacts of Wireless Facilities
Report on Prostitution Advisory Committee on 82nd Avenue (pdf)
Winter shelters information
Sharing Public Spaces Report
Visit with Gateway Area Business Association
Comments on Bull Run water treatment options, 7/27/09
Community Discussion on Sharing Public Spaces, 7/21/09
Community Discussion on Sharing Public Spaces, 7/18/09
Comments on Proposed Stadium in Lents Park
Statement of Concerns on Major League Soccer
Hayden Island Plan
My first 100 days
Report on the Office of Healthy Working Rivers
City Auditor Report on the City Government's Financial Condition
Office of Healthy Working Rivers organizational meetings
The Great Soccer Debate
"Made In Oregon" sign
Progress on defeating Graffiti
Radon Awareness Month