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Auditor's Office Declines to Conduct Constitutional Review for Charter Commission Proposed Measure

Press Release
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The City Auditor’s Office today declined a request from the Portland Business Alliance to conduct a constitutional review of the Charter Commission’s ballot measure to transform Portland’s form of government.

City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero said in a letter to the Alliance’s legal counsel that her office does not review measures approved by a Charter Commission. Constitutional reviews conducted by the Auditor’s Office are authorized in City Code for proposed initiative petitions prior to the signature-gathering required to qualify them to the ballot.

“A referral by a Charter Commission is different,” Hull Caballero said. “Code affords special consideration to a Charter Commission when a supermajority of its members refers measures to the ballot. My office plays a ministerial role in communicating the Commission’s wishes through Council to county elections officials to place them on the ballot.”

The alliance requested the review July 8th.

 Print a PDF of the Auditor's Office Response to Request for Constitutional Review

Mr. Steve Elzinga (
Sherman, Sherman, Johnnie & Hoyt, LLP
P.O. Box 2247
Salem, OR 97308

This letter is in response to your July 8, 2022, request on behalf of the Portland Business Alliance that the Auditor’s Office conduct a constitutional review of the ballot measure proposed by the Charter Commission. I am declining to conduct a review in this case because City Code does not include such a review for Charter Commission measures as it does for initiative-petition measures.

Portland City Code 2.04.055 and ORS 250.270 require the Elections Officer to determine whether a prospective petition meets Oregon’s constitutional requirements. A prospective petition is filed by a chief petitioner prior to circulation for signatures. A Charter Commission proposed measure is not an initiative petition and does not require signatures. Portland City Code 2.04.110 governs the process for bringing a Charter Commission measure to the voters and requires neither a prospective petition nor a constitutional review. Instead, it states that the Auditor’s Office “shall” file the Charter Commission measure to be placed on the ballot.

The constitutional review in 2020-PDX01, which you referenced in your request, was of a prospective initiative petition, not a measure proposed by the Charter Commission. Prior City decisions regarding measures referred by City Council or a Charter Commission did not undergo a constitutional review by the Auditor’s Office.

For these reasons, I decline to conduct a constitutional review of the measure proposed by the Charter Commission.


Mary Hull Caballero
City Auditor of Portland

See Request for Constitutional Review


City Elections

City Elections Office

Leslie Chaires

Communications and Outreach Coordinator