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3.02.040 Rules of the Council.

City Code Section

(Amended by Ordinances 162784, 165402, 166075, 166314, 170834, 177787, 178617, 180371, 182515 and 188280, effective April 14, 2017.)

  1. A.  Suspension and Repeal of Rules - Robert’s Rules of Order.
    1. 1.  These rules are a combination of some provisions from the City of Portland Charter and of the Council Rules.  These rules are adopted pursuant to Charter Section 2-111.
    2. 2.  Non Charter provisions adopted under this section may be suspended or repealed as provided by Section 3.02.040 I.8.  The Charter provision may not be suspended or repealed except by a vote of the people. 
    3. 3.  “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised” shall be considered authority in deciding any questions arising on points of order not covered by these rules. 
  2. B.  Quorum Requirement.
    1. 1.  Three members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.  A quorum shall be required to conduct official City business except that less than a quorum may:
      1. a.  Adjourn or recess the meeting; and
      2. b.  Compel the attendance of the other members.
    2. 2.  In the event a quorum is not present, the members present shall adjourn to some fixed time.
    3. 3.  The City Auditor is authorized to indicate for the record when a Council meeting has been cancelled for lack of a quorum, and at that time shall identify for the record the date and time when any items scheduled for the cancelled agenda shall be considered.  Notice of the rescheduled date and time shall be placed on the Council Chamber door.
  3. C.  Presiding Officer.
    1. 1.  The Mayor shall preside over all meetings, except in the Mayor’s absence the President of the Council shall preside. 
    2. 2.  When a quorum is present, but the Mayor and President of the Council are absent, the following procedures shall be used:
      1. a.  The member present who most recently served as President of the Council shall serve as President pro tempore; or,
      2. b.  The duties of President pro tempore shall be assumed by the Council member holding the position with the lowest number if no member present has served formerly as President of the Council. 
  4. D.  Council Agenda.
    1. 1.  Ordinances, resolutions and reports shall be introduced by the Council, a committee of the Council, a member of the Council or the City Auditor.
    2. 2.  A matter placed on the Four‑Fifths agenda shall be approved for placement on the agenda by at least four Council members each of whom will be present when the matter is considered. 
    3. 3.  Time certain items shall be placed on the agenda as provided by Section 3.02.037 and shall be considered as close to the designated time as possible.
    4. 4.  Items on the regular agenda shall be considered in the numerical order listed except the order of the agenda may be changed by a majority vote of the Council.
    5. 5.  All questions relating to the priority of business shall be decided without debate by a majority vote.
    6. 6.  Postponement of Land Use Hearings.
      1. a.  A request to postpone the scheduled date of a quasi-judicial land use hearing before Council must be made in writing and filed with the City Auditor at least seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing date.  The Council will not consider or grant any request to postpone such a hearing that is filed less than seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing date unless:
        1. (1)  The applicant and appellant all agree in writing to a postponement, or
        2. (2)  The Council finds circumstances exist that justify the late filing of a written request for a postponement and that failing to postpone the hearing will result in substantial prejudice to a party’s interests.
      2. b.  The exception in Section 3.2.040 D.6.a. is available only when the applicant and appellant are different persons or entities.
      3. c.  The Council makes the final determination as to whether the person requesting the postponement under Section 3.02.040 D.6.a.(2) has adequately shown that circumstances exist justifying a postponement.  Persons relying on this exception to request a postponement should be prepared to proceed with a scheduled appeal hearing in the event the Council denies the request for a postponement.
      4. d.  Guidelines.
        1. (1)  Examples of circumstances that potentially qualify as circumstances justifying a postponement less than seven days before the scheduled hearing date Section 3.02.040 D.6.a.(2) include:
          1. (a)  Death of a family member;
          2. (b)  Illness or hospitalization of the person requesting the postponement, the applicant or the appellant, or a member of such person’s family;
          3. (c)  Unavailability of a key witness or consultant;
          4. (d)  Unavoidable scheduling conflict not known in advance (such as a conflicting court date or hearing date before another hearings body).
  5. E.  Preparation of Council Agenda.
    1. 1.  The Auditor shall prepare the agenda.
    2. 2.  The asterisk symbol, *, shall precede the Agenda number of each emergency ordinance.  Ordinances passed to second reading and continued matters shall specify the Agenda number under which the item was most recently listed.
    3. 3.  The Commissioner in charge shall report on matters in their assigned bureau and shall:
      1. a.  Prepare a report in writing which states the facts and a recommendation;
      2. b.  Sign the report, however, the report may be signed by an authorized administrative assistant.
    4. 4.  A request from the public to address Council shall be in writing, and be in a form which states:
      1. a.  the nature of the request;
      2. b.  the reason for the request; and
      3. c.  the requester’s name, address and phone number. 
    5. The Clerk will notify the requester of the date it will be considered by Council; the request will normally be placed at the beginning of the Regular Agenda at the Wednesday morning session.  The requester will be given three minutes to testify but may also submit written materials before or at the meeting.  Only five communication requests will be placed on the Agenda per week.  Requesters are limited to one oral communication to Council per calendar month under this section.  Once a requestor has presented an oral communication to the Council under this section, the Clerk shall not schedule that person for another oral communication to Council in the same calendar month.
    6. 5.  Matters being placed on the agenda shall be:
      1. a.  Signed by a Commissioner or the City Auditor or a designee for whom an authorization has been filed with the City Auditor.  When the matter is not signed by the Commissioner in Charge or the Auditor, then notice of such action shall be given to all members of Council at least one week prior to the hearing of the matter.
      2. b.  Approved by the City Attorney in the case of contracts, amendments to contracts, easements, Code changes, Charter amendments and Comprehensive Plan amendments.
  6. F.  Duties of the Presiding Officer.
    1. 1.  The presiding officer shall:
      1. a.  Preserve order and decorum;
      2. b.  Name who is to speak first when two or more members address the presiding officer at the same time;
      3. c.  Limit discussion by Council members so that no member speaks more than once on an agenda item until every other member choosing to speak has spoken unless the requested speech is necessary for others to understand the issue being considered; and,
      4. d.  Decide all questions by Order subject to an appeal to the Council as a whole by any two members. 
    2. 2.  The presiding officer may:
      1. a.  Speak to points of order before other members speak; and,
      2. b.  Set limits for public testimony.
      3. c.  Enforce the Rules of Conduct at City Council meetings described in Section 3.02.060.
  7. G.  Readings, Public Testimony and Council Debate.
    1. 1.  Non Emergency Ordinance.
      1. a.  A non‑emergency ordinance shall have two public readings of its title or the effect of the ordinance.
      2. b.  Except as provided in the Charter for ordinances approving a franchise, at least five days shall elapse between the introduction and final passage of an ordinance, and no ordinance shall be amended within five days of its final passage.
    2. 2.  Emergency Ordinance.
      1. a.  An emergency ordinance shall have one public reading of its title or the effect of the ordinance.
      2. b.  An emergency ordinance may be enacted upon the date of its introduction provided that:
        1. (1)  It contains a statement that an emergency exists; and,
        2. (2)  It specifies with distinctness the facts or reasons constituting the emergency. 
    3. 3.  Resolutions.
      1. a.  A resolution shall have one public reading of its title or the effect of the resolution.
    4. 4.  Procedures for Ordinances and Resolutions.
      1. a.  The Commissioner in charge shall have the privilege to speak first on the matter under consideration.
      2. b.  Public testimony shall be limited to the first reading of any type of ordinance unless otherwise stated on the record by the Presiding Officer at the end of the public testimony on the first reading.
    5. 5.  Reports.
      1. a.  The presiding officer shall determine whether public testimony shall be received and the amount of time which shall be allotted to each person.
    6. 6.  Public testimony will be allowed on the first reading of an item for three minutes per person unless time limits have been otherwise specified.
    7. 7.  Council members shall confine themselves to the question in debate, shall avoid personalities and shall address the presiding officer before speaking. 
    8. 8.  A Council member called to order by the presiding officer shall immediately cease speaking unless permitted to explain by the presiding officer.  The member may ask the Council to rule on the question of being able to continue with speech, but there shall be no debate.  Three affirmative votes shall be required to overrule the presiding officer. 
  8. H.  Motions.
    1. 1.  All motions shall be distinctly worded, and the individual vote on each motion shall be recorded. 
    2. 2.  No motion shall be received when a question is under debate except for the following:
      1. a.  To lay the matter on the table;
      2. b.  To call for the previous question;
      3. c.  To postpone to a date certain;
      4. d.  To refer;
      5. e.  To amend; or,
      6. f.  To postpone indefinitely. 
    3. 3.  Motions set forth in Section 3.02.040 H.2. shall have the following priority; Section 3.02.040 H.2.a. shall have the highest priority and Section 3.02.040 H.2.f. the lowest.  A demand for a roll call shall not abrogate the right to make any of the motions in accordance with the priorities. 
    4. 4.  No motion shall be considered unless it is seconded and once a motion is seconded:
      1. a.  It shall be stated by the presiding officer before debate; and,
      2. b.  It shall be reduced to writing if requested by a Council member. 
    5. 5.  A motion may be withdrawn by the mover at any time before an amendment is made to it or if no amendment is made, before a vote is taken on it. 
    6. 6.  A Council member may have a motion divided which contains several elements, but the mover shall have the right to designate upon which element the vote shall first be taken.
    7. 7.  A motion to call the previous question shall preclude all amendments and debate on the main question until it is decided.
    8. 8.  A motion to lay a matter on the table shall be decided without debate.  A matter on the table may be considered at any regular, recessed, or special meeting of the Council except that Four‑Fifths agenda items require a vote as provided in Section 3.02.040 I.7.
    9. 9.  The presiding officer shall allow sufficient time for an amendment before ordering the roll to be called.  No amendments shall be considered during the roll call, but a Council Member may explain succinctly the reasons for the vote.
    10. 10.  The minutes shall include all motions.
  9. I.  The Required Vote.
    1. 1.  Non Emergency Ordinances.
      1. a.  An Ordinance Involving a Fee Matter.  An ordinance involving a fee matter is an ordinance which approves, approves with conditions or denies a request for which a fee has been paid.  Three affirmative votes shall be required to pass an ordinance involving a fee matter.  In the event there is a tie vote, the matter shall be continued to the next regular agenda or to such other times as the Council may direct.
      2. b.  An Ordinance Not Involving a Fee Matter.  Three affirmative votes shall be required to pass a non‑emergency ordinance which does not involve a fee matter.  In the event there is a tie vote, the matter shall fail.
    2. 2.  Emergency Ordinances.  The unanimous vote of all members present and no less than four members shall be required to pass an emergency ordinance.
    3. 3.  Resolutions.  Three affirmative votes shall be required to pass a resolution. 
    4. 4.  Land Use Planning Orders.  Three affirmative votes shall be required to deny or affirm an appeal of a quasi‑judicial matter before the Council and to adopt the findings, conclusion and order.
    5. 5.  Consent Agenda.  The unanimous vote of all members of the Council present and no less than four members shall be required to approve the matters on the consent calendar.
    6. 6.  Reports.  Three affirmative votes shall be required if approval or acceptance of a report is requested.  No vote shall be required on reports of an informative nature which request no Council action; they will be placed on file or filed for no further consideration.
    7. 7.  Four-Fifths Calendar.
      1. a.  Three affirmative votes shall be required to pass a matter on the Four-Fifths Calendar.
      2. b.  A Four‑Fifths matter laid on the table may not be taken up at the same meeting without a Four-Fifths vote, but it may be taken up at a subsequent meeting by a majority vote.
    8. 8.  Suspension of Rules.  Four affirmative votes shall be required to suspend or rescind a rule contained in this Chapter, however, rules in this Chapter which also appear in the Charter shall not be suspended or rescinded.
    9. 9.  Exceptions.  The requirement of three affirmative votes shall not apply to a motion to adjourn or recess or to compel the attendance of absent members.  It shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of the Council Members present.
    10. 10.  Ordinance Granting Franchise.  Four affirmative votes shall be required to pass an ordinance granting a franchise.
    11. 11.  Recordation of Vote.  The minutes shall include the results of all votes. 
    12. 12.  Order of Voting. In all roll call votes, the Mayor shall vote last. The roll call for Commissioners’ votes shall be in order of position. Beginning January 1 of every year, the Commissioner in Position No. 1 shall vote first, followed by the Commissioner in Position No. 2, then the Commissioner in Position No. 3, then the Commissioner in Position No. 4. The roll call order shall be modified on the first day of each subsequent calendar quarter so that the Commissioner whose position number was first in the roll call order in the previous calendar quarter shall vote last.
  10. J.  Reconsideration.
    1. 1.  It shall be in order for any member who voted with the prevailing side to move for reconsideration.  Any member may second the motion.  No motion shall be made more than once.
    2. 2.  No motion for reconsideration shall be made after the ordinance, resolution or act has gone out of the possession of the Council.  The motion shall be made before the final adjournment of the meeting when the item goes out of possession of the Council.
    3. 3.  The prevailing side in a motion to remove the emergency clause from an emergency ordinance is the side which prevented the emergency ordinance from being enacted.
  11. K.  Effective Date.
    1. 1.  The following ordinances shall take effect immediately upon the passage or at any specified date less than thirty days after passage.
      1. a.  Ordinances making appropriations and the annual tax levy;
      2. b.  Ordinances relative to local improvements and assessments; and
      3. c.  Emergency ordinances.
    2. 2.  A non-emergency ordinance except as provided in Section 3.02.040 K.1.a. and b. and the Charter for an ordinance granting a franchise shall take effect thirty days after passage unless a later date is fixed on the ordinance in which event it shall take effect at the later date.  The filing of a referendum petition shall suspend the effective date of the ordinance.
    3. 3.  A resolution shall become effective upon adoption unless otherwise stated in the resolution.
  12. L.  Objection to Ordinance.
    1. 1.  At any time within ten days after the passage of any ordinance which does not take effect immediately, any member of the Council may file, in writing, objections to the ordinance, which shall be considered and voted by the Council at its next regular meeting.
    2. 2.  If a majority vote to sustain the objections, the ordinance shall be deemed repealed and shall not take effect unless again passed in the same manner as a new ordinance.
  13. M.  Appointments.
    1. 1.  The Mayor shall make all appointments to Committees unless otherwise ordered by the Council or otherwise provided by Charter or Code.
    2. 2.  The member first named shall act as chairperson.
  14. N.  Adjournment.
    1. 1.  A motion to adjourn shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of the Council Members present and shall be decided without debate.
    2. 2.  When a motion to adjourn has been put to a vote, and it has failed, it shall not be considered again until some other business has been considered.