6.04.140 Business License Appeals Board; Hearings Officer; Appeal; Rules.

City Code Section

(Replaced by Ordinance No. 184772; amended by Ordinance Nos. 187339 and 188170, effective January 20, 2017.)

A.  Except as provided herein, the Business License Appeals Board has authority to hear and determine appeals of orders or decisions of the Division or Director made upon petitions for redetermination.  The Board may affirm, modify, or reverse such orders or decisions or dismiss the appeals and prescribe such forms, rules, and regulations relating to appeals as it may deem necessary.  In the review of the Division or Director’s decision or order, the Board may take such evidence and make such investigation as it may deem necessary.  It will give notice of its determinations in the manner prescribed for service of a notice of the Division or Director’s decision and will file a copy of each such determination with the Division.  Such determination will become final after 10 days and any increase to the determination becomes due and payable once final, subject to interest and penalties, and enforceable by the Division as an order or decision of the Division or Director.

B.  For an amount in controversy greater than $10,000 and less than $50,000, an appellant may request a hearing by an appointed Hearings Officer instead of a hearing by the Business License Appeals Board.

C.  An appeal involving an amount in controversy greater than $50,000 will be heard by a Hearings Officer instead of a hearing by the Business License Appeals Board.  The Hearings Officer will be appointed by the City Attorney, will be a member of the Oregon State Bar and will not be a City employee.

D.  In appeal hearings held before a Hearings Officer, the appellant and the City’s representative will each have the right to appear in person and be represented by legal counsel, to receive notice, to respond to and present evidence, to call and cross-examine witnesses under oath and to present argument on all issues involved. Subject to the provisions herein, the City Attorney may promulgate supplementary rules and procedures for the conduct of the hearing, the forms of notice and proceedings, and the preparation and submission of the record.

E.  The record in a proceeding before the Hearings Officer will include:

1.  All pleadings, motions, and intermediate rulings;

2.  Evidence received or considered;

3.  Stipulations;

4.  A statement of matters officially noticed;

5.  Questions and offers of proof, objections, and rulings thereon;

6.  Proposed findings and exceptions; and

7.  Any proposed, intermediate, or final order prepared by the Hearings Officer.

F.  The Hearings Officer has the power to compel attendance of witnesses by deposition or at hearing and the production of documents by subpoena to any party upon showing of general relevance and subpoena in accordance with civil law. 

G.  The formal rules of evidence do not apply and any relevant evidence that is the sort of evidence upon which reasonably prudent persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious business affairs is admissible.  Irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded.  Hearsay evidence may be considered by the Hearings Officer, but no findings may be based solely on hearsay evidence unless supported or corroborated by other relevant and competent evidence.  The Hearings Officer will give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law.

H.  The Hearings Officer may take notice of judicially recognizable facts, and the Hearings Officer may take official notice of general, technical, or scientific facts within the specialized knowledge of City employees.

I.  A verbatim, written, mechanical, or electronic record will be made on all motions, rulings, and testimony if requested by any party.  The record will be transcribed for the purposes of court review.  If the City prevails on such review, the reasonable costs of preparing the transcript will be allowed as a part of the City's costs in such action.

J.  The Hearings Officer is authorized to rule upon issues of law or fact and to determine the amount of the tax, penalty or interest due in accordance with the Transient Lodgings Tax Law.  The Hearings Office does not have any jurisdiction to waive, mitigate or suspend the collection of any tax, penalty or interest assessment found to be duly imposed.

K.  The decision of the Hearings Officer will be issued in writing in a final order. The final order becomes final on the date specified in the order, which date will be within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.  The decision is the final administrative remedy of the appellant. Any amounts due are payable to the City of Portland within 10 days of the order becoming final.  The Hearings Officer will notify the parties to a proceeding of a final order by delivering or mailing a copy of the order and any accompanying findings and conclusions to each party or, if applicable, the party's attorney of record.