Chapter 1 Corporate Existence and Powers

Article 1 Powers, Rights and Liabilities

Section 1-101 Continuation and Grant of Corporate Powers.

The municipal corporation now existing and known as the City of Portland shall remain and continue a body politic and corporate by the name of the City of Portland, shall have perpetual succession, may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in all courts of justice and in all actions, suits or proceedings; may have and use an official seal and may alter the same; may purchase, or acquire by the exercise of the right of eminent domain or otherwise, receive and hold property, both real and personal, within or without said City for municipal purposes, and shall have the right of possession, use and control of all public parks and levees, buildings and property, and of all tracts of land and rights or easements in land belonging to said City, and other property which has been or may be hereafter dedicated to the City or to the public, or in any manner obtained, for public or corporate purposes of said City, and may lease, sell, terminate the dedication or otherwise dispose of the same for the benefit of the City; may receive or reject bequests, gifts, grants and donations of money or any kind of property, or interest in property, conditionally or unconditionally, in trust or otherwise, for charitable or other purposes, and may do all acts necessary to carry out the purposes or to fulfill the conditions of said gifts, requests, grants and donations, and may manage, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the same in accordance with the terms of the gift, bequest, grant or trust, or absolutely in case such gift, bequest, grant or trust be unconditional; and shall have all general and specific powers granted to the City by any general or special law of the State of Oregon, or by the 1903 Legislative Charter of the City. All previously existing legal rights or powers of the City held or accruing to it shall continue as though no amendment of this Section had been made, and all duties and liabilities accrued or accruing to others at the time of this amendment from acts or agreements of the City shall not be affected by this amendment. [Ch. 1903, sec. 2; rev. 1914, sec. 2; 1928 pub., sec. 2; 1942 recod., sec. 1-102; rev. May 18, 1962.]

Section 1-102 Grant of General Powers.

The City of Portland shall be invested within its corporate limits and within the limits of property it holds or occupies outside its corporate limits, with authority to perform all public and private services, including those of an educational or recreational character as well as others, with all governmental powers except such as are expressly conferred by law upon other public corporations within such limits and subject to the limitations prescribed by the constitution and laws of the State, and with authority to acquire by purchase, condemnation or otherwise property within and without its limits, and to perform any function or service or to have any authority permitted by law outside its limits. [Ch. 1903, sec. 3; am. May 3, 1913, sec. 2; rev. 1914, sec. 3; 1928 pub., sec. 3; 1942 recod., sec. 1-103; rev. May 18, 1962.]

Section 1-103 Legal Proceedings.

Suits, actions and proceedings whether civil or criminal may be brought in the name of the City of Portland for the recovery of any property, for enforcement of any rights of the City or the public for whom the City may act, arising in contract or otherwise, and for the enforcement of City laws, whether arising, accruing or enacted before or after the adoption of this amendment. [Ch. 1903, sec. 5; rev. 1914, sec. 5; 1928 pub., sec. 5; 1942 recod., sec. 1-105; rev. May 18, 1962.]

Section 1-104 Alienability of Public Places and Property and Limitations Thereon.

The City of Portland may not divest itself of title it has or may acquire in and to water front, wharf property, land under water and made land built upon same, or any lands on the water side of the high water or meander lines of navigable waters as established by the original United States surveys and conformed to by the original plats of the City of Portland, or any landing, wharf, dock, highway, bridge, avenue, street, alley, lane, park or any other public place, or like property that it may now own or hereafter may acquire, except as set forth in this Charter or as provided by statute.

The City may vacate street area if such vacation would not interfere with reasonable access to the water front or any transportation terminal. Favorable vote of at least four-fifths of all members of the Council shall be required for any ordinance of vacation. The Council may impose such conditions upon the street vacation as it deems appropriate in the public interest. This Section shall not be deemed to prevent replatting of subdivisions wherever situated, nor relocation of streets.

A street shall be held to fulfill its function as a street by being used in any way for the purpose of travel, transportation or distribution by or for the public; and where a street abuts or terminates against a waterway or connects with a railroad terminal it may be occupied by any structure or machinery facilitating or necessary to travel, transportation or distribution, or facilities for the protection of persons or property, which does not prevent access of the public to uses provided; and this clause shall include and apply to all structures necessary in the improvement of the public docks.

Wharves, docks, port and harbor facilities and other City-owned property or structures may be rented, leased or pledged, provided that the present or future right of the public to use thereof is preserved or will be promoted.

No dedication by the City of any park, playground or public place shall be terminated unless the Council finds that such dedicated area is no longer needed for the dedication purpose, or that another public use has a greater need for such property, or that another location would further the public use. When such dedication is terminated, the property may be leased, sold or exchanged.

The Council may rent or lease area below or above parks, public places, streets, viaducts, tunnels and other facilities, where the public use is preserved.

The City may sell, dispose of or exchange any buildings, structures or property, real or personal, which it owns or may acquire not needed for public use, by negotiation, bid, auction or any other method the Council finds appropriate. Favorable vote of at least four-fifths of all members of the Council shall be necessary for any ordinance authorizing such sale, disposal or exchange. The City may sell property on contract for such term as the Council finds appropriate, notwithstanding any term limit elsewhere prescribed in the Charter. In cases where property to be exchanged is held by the City upon any trust (including property held as security for bond issues) the property received in exchange shall be similarly held and any net income therefrom shall be applied to such trust.

The City may rent or lease property which will not be needed for public use during the term of the rental or lease for any term permitted by statute. [Ch. 1903, part of sec. 93; am. June 5, 1911, part of sec. 93; am. Nov. 2, 1912, part of sec. 93; am. May 3, 1913, part of sec. 66; rev. 1914, sec. 7; am. June 7, 1921; 1928 pub., sec. 7; 1942 recod., sec. 1-107; new sec. Nov. 2, 1948; rev. May 18, 1962.]

Section 1-105 Nonliability for Defective Sidewalks, Etc.

No recourse shall be had against the City for damage or loss to person or property suffered or sustained by reason of the defective condition of any sidewalk, curb, street, avenue, lane, alley, court or place, or by reason of the defective condition of any sewer, or by reason of any defective drainage, whether any of said defects originally existed, or whether they were occasioned by construction, excavation or embankment; nor shall there be any recourse against the City for want of repair of any sidewalk, curb, street, avenue, lane, alley, court or place, or by want of repair of any sewer; nor shall there be any recourse against the City for damage to person or property suffered or sustained by reason of accident on sidewalk, curb, street, avenue, lane, alley, court or place or by falling from any embankment thereon or into any excavation therein; but in such case the person or persons on whom the law may have imposed the obligation to repair such defect in the sidewalk, curb, street, or public highway, or in the sewer, and also the officer or officers through whose official negligence such defect remains unrepaired shall be jointly and severally liable to the party injured for the damage sustained. [Ch. 1903, sec. 8; rev. 1914, sec. 281; 1928 pub., sec. 281; 1942 recod., sec. 1-110; rev. May 18, 1962.]

Section 1-106 Damage Claims, Insurance.

Notice of and claims for damages arising out of the alleged torts of the City and those of its officers, employees and agents acting within the scope of their employment or duties, must be presented within the time prescribed by law.  The Council shall establish a Loss Reserve Fund and shall annually budget an amount sufficient to maintain such Fund on an actuarially sound basis.  The monies in such Fund may be invested and reinvested in the like manner with other City funds and the earnings from such investment and reinvestment shall be credited to the Fund.  Payments may be made from the Loss Reserve Fund to pay claims against the City, its officers, employees and agents, procure insurance against such liability, and pay costs related to the payment of claims including but not limited to payment of investigative, legal and administrative expenses.  In the event the Council shall deem it advantageous to procure insurance against claims, the existence of insurance shall be considered in determining the funding necessary to maintain the Loss Reserve Fund on an actuarially sound basis.  The Commissioner In Charge may negotiate, compromise and settle any claims and may authorize the payment of any claim in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).  Payment exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) for any claim must be authorized by an ordinance.  [Ch.1903, sec. 9; rev. 1914, sec. 282; 1928 pub., sec. 282; 1942 recod., sec. 1‑111; rev. May 18, 1962; rev. Nov. 2, 1976; am. May 20, 1986; amended May 15, 2012, effective June 13, 2012.]

Section 1-107 Certain Fair and Moral Obligations May Be Paid.

To the end that the Council may provide for paying claims which it finds to be fair and moral obligations of the City but limited to claims that are barred by Charter exemption or by reason of governmental immunity or that are asserted by employees for the replacement of personal property damaged in the course of performing their employment duties, it may in its discretion direct payment or settlement, provided that an affidavit of the claimant or person representing the claimant and having knowledge of the facts is filed with the City Attorney within thirty (30) days after the event which caused the claim (unless the Council, upon proof of a good excuse, permits later filing) showing therein the name, age, and address of the claimant, the time and facts which give rise to the claim, the persons present, if any, able to substantiate the facts and circumstances, the name of the City officer or employee first contacted with reference to the claim, the name and address of the physician and/or surgeon who attended the claimant if the claim be based on personal injury treated by a physician or surgeon, a description of the injuries if personal injury was sustained, a particular statement of the damage, if real and/or personal property was damaged, the places of residence and address of the claimant during three (3) years preceding the claim, a detail of the expense constituting the claim, in so far as expense shall have been and/or probably will be incurred, and such other data as will give the City an opportunity to readily ascertain the facts, extent of injury, cost resulting therefrom and the integrity of the claimant. When insurance (covering the claimant, the City or the City employee involved) applies, the claim shall not be allowed as to any portion covered by the insurance. No claim shall be allowed the enforcement of which would be barred by the statute of limitations, and no payment shall be made unless the claimant accepts the amounts allowed as in full compromise and settlement of all amounts claimed or to be claimed against the City, its officers or employees arising from the same facts. In the event that no settlement is made, nothing herein contained or done hereinunder shall prejudice the City in any defense that it may have in any suit or action. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as giving any right to institute or maintain any suit or action which would not otherwise exist. [May 17, 1946, new sec., 1-112; recod., May 18, 1962; am. May 20, 1980; am. May 20, 1986.]

Section 1-108 Mandatory Weatherization for Existing Buildings Requires Vote of the People.

Except for the provisions of the Building Code of the City of Portland in effect on September 1, 1979, the Council of the City of Portland shall not pass or enforce any ordinance, resolution, law or program mandating weatherization for any building or structure built in the City of Portland prior to September 1, 1979, unless such ordinance, resolution, law or program is referred to the citizens of Portland for a vote. (Add. Nov. 4, 1980.)

Article 2 Boundaries and Annexation

Section 1-201 Boundaries.

All property surrounded by the corporate limits of the City of Portland as described and officially filed from time to time as set forth in this Section is hereby embraced within the City of Portland. Within ten (10) days after this amendment becomes effective and the official canvass of votes is completed and results of election on this amendment are proclaimed, the Council shall adopt a resolution describing such boundaries. Certified copies of such resolution shall be filed with the Secretary of State and the librarian of the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon, with the County Commission or county court of each county in which a portion of the City is located, and with the Clerk, Assessor, Surveyor, Engineer, Elections Officer, and Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission, if any, of each such county, and such other official as may be required by statute. [Ch. 1903, sec. 12; rev. 1914, sec. 9; 1928 pub., sec. 9; 1942 recod., sec. 1-201; am. May 18, 1962; am. May 20, 1986.]

Section 1-202 Annexations.

The City of Portland may annex additional territory and other cities or areas may be consolidated or merged with the City in any manner permitted by statute. [Ch. 1903, sec. 13; rev. 1914, sec. 10; 1928 pub., sec. 10; 1942 recod., sec. 1-202; am. May 18, 1962.]

Section 1-203 Boundary Changes.

Within ten (10) days after the effective date of any annexation or ten (10) days after the proclamation of results of any election on merger or consolidation, if such merger or consolidation is successful, the Council shall adopt a resolution describing the new boundaries, certified copies of which shall be filed as set forth in Section 1-201 of this Charter. [Ch. 1903, sec. 17; rev. 1914 sec. 14; 1928 pub., sec. 14; 1942 recod., sec. 1-206; rev. May 18, 1962.]