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Chapter 13 Charter Revision and Interpretation

Article 1 Repeals, Amendments and Re-Enactments

Section 13-101 Effect of Repeal, Amendment and Substitution.

When a particular grant of authority contained in the Charter subsequently is removed, expressly or by implication, the prior grant of authority nevertheless shall continue in force unless specifically forbidden, to the following extent: if the City has contracted with another person under such authority, if the City has begun a public work, facility, structure, project or program pursuant thereto and termination would entail risk of City liability for damages, or if the Council finds that third persons have materially changed their position in reliance upon Council action thereunder, then the authority previously contained in the Charter shall continue until the contract, public work, facility, structure, project or program is completed, or the action carried out.

When a particular procedure is changed, expressly or by implication, proceedings pending or in process under the prior procedure may continue as though unchanged, or the Council may use the changed procedure for the balance of the proceedings after the change, or the Council may use the prior procedure in part and the changed procedure in part, as it finds appropriate or convenient. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 13-102 Continuance of Original Charter Provisions as Ordinances.

Ordinance provisions originally included in a Charter, subsequently continued as ordinances and not amended, repealed or superseded, shall continue in full force and effect as ordinances until amended, repealed or superseded by the Council. Reinclusion of the same authority or procedure in the Charter removes authority of the Council to affect them. [May 3, 1913, part of new sec. 96; 1914 rev. sec. 283; 1928 pub. sec. 283; 1942 recod., sec. 12-103; rev. Nov. 8, 1962.]

Section 13-103 Procedural Ordinances.

When a Charter provision is to be implemented by general ordinance, lack of general ordinance setting forth the procedural steps shall not prevent an improvement, work or act. Existing ordinances may be followed so far as applicable, and the Council may, by resolution or ordinance relating to that improvement, work or act, carry out the public purpose by resolution or ordinance recognizing and approving the procedure followed. Lack of a general procedural ordinance shall not impair the validity of the proceedings. A subsequent general ordinance need not follow the same procedure.

In following procedures provided in this Charter, the Council by ordinance may fix additional procedures in any matter for which the procedures provided in this Charter are incomplete or silent. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Article 2 Construction and Interpretation

Section 13-201 Restrictions and Limitations.

Any restriction or limitation imposed on the authority of the Council by Charter provision, applies only as its language explicitly and necessarily requires. Simultaneous or subsequent specification of authority is not exclusive and does not impair other or general authority and power granted by existing or future Charter provisions, by statute or by general law. Specification of procedures does not exclude other or alternative procedures unless expressly stated to be exclusive. The City has authority to carry out general or special powers expressed or implied by Charter, statute or general law, as the Council finds necessary or convenient. This Section applies, unless expressly negatived, to all present and future Charter provisions. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 13-202 Intent of Reinclusion of Former Charter Provisions.

Whenever a provision in a City Charter has been continued as an ordinance provision and subsequently reincluded in the Charter without substantive change, the reincluded provision shall be a continuance of the prior Charter provision to the extent of its reinclusion as though continued in the Charter without interruption. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Article 3 Provide for Periodic Charter Review

Section 13-301 Charter Commission.

(a) From time to time, but no less frequently than every 10 years, the Council shall convene a Charter review commission (“Charter Commission”) to review and recommend amendments to this Charter provided, however, that the first Charter Commission shall be convened no later than two (2) years after the effective date of this Article.  The Charter Commission shall be reflective of the City in terms of its racial and ethnic diversity, age and geography. It shall be comprised of twenty (20) residents of the City.  Each member of the Council shall nominate four (4) Charter Commission members who shall be subject to confirmation by the Council.  The term of office of each member of the Charter Commission shall be no less than two years.  The Council may reappoint members to additional terms of office or to subsequent Charter commissions.  The Charter Commission shall determine its own rules of procedure. No member of the Charter Commission shall serve as an elective officer of the City during the member’s service on the Charter Commission.  The Mayor or Council may request that the Charter Commission review specific sections of the Charter, but the work and recommendations of the Charter Commission shall not be limited to such specific sections.  The Commission shall provide a written report of its findings to the City Council.

(b) A vacancy exists on the Charter Commission upon a member’s resignation, death, inability to serve or failure of a member without cause to attend three successive regular meetings.  If there is a vacancy on the Charter Commission, the Council member who made the original nomination, or that member’s successor in office, shall nominate a person to fill the unexpired term of office, subject to confirmation by Council.  [New Section May 15, 2007, effective January 1, 2009; amended May 15, 2012, effective June 13, 2012; amended by Ordinance No. 190204, effective December 18, 2020.]

Section 13-302 Submission to Voters.

All Charter amendments proposed by the Charter Commission supported by an affirmative vote of at least fifteen (15) members of the Charter Commission, after a public hearing process prescribed by the Council, shall be submitted to the voters of the City of Portland at the next primary or general election that is at least 120 days after the date the recommendations are presented to the City Council.  All Charter amendments proposed by the Charter Commission supported by an affirmative vote of a majority but less than least fifteen (15) members of the Charter Commission shall be considered as recommendations to the City Council.  The Council may, but is not required to, refer such proposed amendments to the voters of the City of Portland.  [New Section May 15, 2007, effective January 1, 2009.]

Section 13-303 Effective date.

This Article 3 of Chapter 13 shall take effect on January 1, 2009.[New Section May 15, 2007, effective January 1, 2009.]