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Apply to Charter Review Commission

Volunteer Event

All day

Deadline for Applicants: September 14, 2020 at 5:00 pm (now closed)

Staff Liaison: Shoshanah Oppenheim

Purpose and Background

Do you have a passion for civic engagement? Are you excited about the opportunity to directly shape the future of your local government? Then you might be a great candidate for the City of Portland’s 2020 Charter Commission. A charter defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. It is comparable to the Constitution of the United States or a state's constitution. The charter is, therefore, the most important legal document of any city. The work of the 2020 Charter Commission has the potential to influence and impact the future of the Portland’s form of government and how decisions are made at the City. The Commission is appointed by the City Council and comes together at least once a decade to review the City charter and recommend changes. The Charter Commission provides a report and recommendations to the City Council.  Any recommendations for amendments proposed by the Charter Commission supported by at least 12 or more members, shall be submitted to the voters at the next primary or general election. Recommendations for amendments to the charter supported by less than 15 members shall be considered by the City Council and may be referred.

Commission activities include:

  • Analyze and consider the current City Charter 
  • Engage the public on issues before the Commission
  • Meet regularly as a Commission and subcommittees to develop recommendations on any amendments to the current City Charter
  • Attend meetings by phone, virtually or in person, in person meetings will occur only if the considered in the best interest and safety of the public and the Commission.
  • Research and develop recommendations
  • Report to City Council on any recommendations to amend the City’s Charter

Total number of advisory seats: 20

Number of seats available: 20

Who Can Apply

To be eligible for City of Portland advisory bodies, members must live in the City of Portland. The Charter Review Commission has additional membership guidelines listed in the City Charter here, such as being a Portland resident. Below are attributes the selection committee will use to select candidates.

What We Look For

We want people from every part of Portland to share their voice on this committee, especially people who have not been involved before. If you want to serve your community and to help government make better choices, then we want to see your application. The attributes listed below are what will guide our selection process. It is helpful if you are specific in your answers. We do not expect you to be or have everything listed.

  • You are committed to examining how the City of Portland can improve of form of government.
  • You are willing to commit to serving at least one two-year term.
  • You are available to attend all meetings and participate in the discussions.
  • You believe government is better when community is involved.
  • You are an advocate for racial equity: you want positive and long-lasting outcomes for racial and ethnic communities who have been left out before. You can bring discussion about racial and ethnic communities who need it the most.
  • You have a perspective on physically navigating the community with a disability.
  • You have a passion for Civic Engagement and how the City works.
  • You have a diverse perspective or represent traditionally underserved communities. A minimum of two seats will be held specifically for people who represent first nation tribal communities.
  • You have demonstrated leadership, be that in your neighborhood, civic or spiritual organization, racial or ethnic community, educational institution, nonprofit, social service or business community.

Time Commitment

  • Monthly meetings will take place oat times convenient to the commission. Due to the health concerns raised by COVID-19 meetings may occur virtually, telephonically, or in person while practicing social distancing.
  • Commission members may choose to meet more regularly as full Commission or subcommittees
  • Members will be appointed for at least one two-year term.
  • Interpretation will be provided for Commissioners who are not fluent English speakers.  Every attempt will be made to translate the written materials, but we may not be able to provide translation on all meeting documents prior to meetings.
  • Members are expected to prepare for meetings on their own time. The amount of preparation time may vary depending on the issues the Commission is considering.  Applicants should expect to spend between 2 and 5 hours a week outside the meetings on Commission business.

We Remove Barriers

Let us know if there are barriers to your participation. If we meet in person, dinner and childcare will be provided at evening meetings. Public transportation or parking passes will be available if you need those to fully participate. A stipend of $500 will be provided each fiscal year to support your ability to participate.

Volunteer Ethics

People who join this committee will become what we call “Public Officials,” which means that while you serve you must behave fair and ethically. We will provide training on this once you are accepted. Part of following Public Officials Ethics laws means you must tell the group when you or a relative may financially benefit (or avoid fees) by your recommendations. This is called a “Conflict of Interest.” If you tell us about potential Conflicts of Interest that does not mean you cannot serve, in fact, many committees have potential members with Conflicts of Interest. We appreciate your ethical inclusion of possible Conflicts of Interest on the form included in the application.

The selection committee will be composed of City Council Commissioners and the Mayor. Applications will be reviewed beginning September 14, 2020. If the Council feels that it is necessary to conduct interviews, candidates will be notified.

Email AdvisoryBodies@portlandoregon.gov to request a different format accommodation for your application. To talk with someone about this opportunity or to receive assistance completing the application, you may also contact the advisory body staff liaison at charterreview2020@portlandoregon.gov

Voluntary & Confidential Demographic Information

The City is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity. Completing the demographic information on the application is voluntary, but we encourage you to provide that information.  The City uses this information to help ensure that advisory body appointments represent a broad cross-section of community. Your information will not be used during the recruitment nor the selection process. State and federal law prohibit use of this information to discriminate against you. Questions about this may be sent to AdvisoryBodies@Portlandoregon.gov

General Questions

For general questions about the Advisory Bodies program, the volunteer recruitment process, or other upcoming advisory body opportunities please email AdvisoryBodies@Portlandoregon.gov.

We welcome you to browse our website to learn more about the committee: https://www.portland.gov/omf/charter-review-commission/about-charter-commission

Do you have questions or need more information? Email charterreview2020@portlandoregon.gov.


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