How Civic Life Supports Neighborhood Associations
There are 94 City-recognized neighborhood associations within the City of Portland. Each neighborhood association is connected to a geographic neighborhood boundary. Neighborhood associations are one way that neighbors can organize to address important issues within their neighborhood and create a sense of community and belonging.
Every bureau with the City of Portland has a set of codes. These codes detail rules and regulations that each bureau must abide by. Code 3.96 is the portion of Civic Life’s code that establishes the City’s recognition of neighborhood associations as well as the bureau’s responsibly to those neighborhood associations. Neighborhood associations recognized by Code 3.96 agree to follow the ONI Standards.
Portland is divided into seven neighborhood districts. Civic Life supports the neighborhood associations within each district in one of two ways; grant funding to an independently managed District Coalition Office (DCO) or direct support through Civic Life. See Neighborhood Association Structure and ONI Standards section below for more details.
DCOs use funding received from Civic Life to
- provide a mailing address for neighborhood associations,
- secure insurance for neighborhood associations to ensure events are safe for all participants, and
- offer event support, connection to City resources and meeting space for neighborhood associations.
Additional support Civic Life provides to neighborhood associations:
- Civic Life maintains a database of neighborhood association leadership contacts. This database is used by City bureaus to deliver important communications, such as land use notifications, outreach for community involvement opportunities and community improvement project updates.
- A public directory of neighborhoods can be found on the City's website. Each neighborhood page contains neighborhood association contact and event information. PortlandMaps addresses include a neighborhood page link to help Portlanders connect with their neighborhood association.
- Civic Life promotes neighborhood association work through social media and a bi-monthly newsletter.
Neighborhood Association Structure and ONI Standards
Most Portland neighborhood associations are incorporated non-profit organizations. Some also have acquired federal tax-exempt status under the IRS rules. Neighborhood associations are not obligated to adopt a particular structure or model of governance. In fact, neighborhood associations, through their bylaws, may construct models of governance that fit their unique needs.
Regardless of a neighborhood association’s structure, each association is required to follow Civic Life’s ONI standards to be officially recognized by the city. The ONI Standards establish broad rules for the operation of neighborhood associations and bylaws.
Find Your Neighborhood Association
Find out which neighborhood association services your neighborhood by visiting Portland Maps. Enter in your address and the result screen will show a map of your area on the left and property information on the right. Click on the Neighborhood name listed to view neighborhood association information.
History of Neighborhood Associations
In 1974, the City of Portland created the bureau, the Office of Neighborhood Associations. In part, the City prioritized creating this bureau to support Portland’s unique commissioner form of government.
Portland’s government structure is unique because commissioners represent the entire city, unlike other cities that elect politicians to advocate for the needs of specific neighborhood boundaries. By creating the Office of Neighborhood Associations, the City was establishing a direct channel for neighborhood associations to engage in City decision-making, determine neighborhood needs, and represent neighborhood interests in land use and development decisions.
More than 40 years later, our bureau has expanded our support to include not just neighborhood associations but culturally specific organizations and non-profit organizations. We also changed our name to the Office of Community & Civic Life to better reflect that there are many ways neighborhoods and communities organize.
However, throughout all these changes, our bureau remains committed to providing support the work of Portland’s 95 volunteer-led neighborhood associations. We believe that a neighborhood association is one way that neighbors can organize and address important issues within their neighborhood. Neighborhood associations also play a role in creating a sense of community and belonging.
Sign Up to Receive Updates
We encourage you to sign-up for the Civic Life bi-monthly newsletter for funding opportunities and updates about free resources and services offered by the City of Portland. Our newsletter promotes opportunities for civic engagement, volunteerism, paid-public-insight and public input opportunities for City-led projects.
Neighborhood Association Contact Lists
If you are a city employee and need a comprehensive list of neighborhood association contacts, please visit this page.
For members of the public, each neighborhood page lists neighborhood association contact information. If you need a list that includes contacts for several different neighborhood associations, please email your request to: CivicNotification@portlandoregon.gov.
Resources for Neighborhood Associations
ONI Standards: Rules governing Portland’s Neighborhood and Business Association system
Code 3.96: The framework by which the people of the City of Portland may effectively participate in civic affairs and work to improve the livability and character of their Neighborhoods and the City. This Chapter sets out the basis for City recognition of Neighborhood Associations, District Coalitions, and the responsibilities and benefits accruing thereto.
Notice List for Recognized Organizations: A list of all the possible public notices that a recognized organization could receive with an explanation of the notice, how it is delivered, who sends the notice and who receives it, and whether there is any action that the recognized organization could consider making in response to the notice.