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

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 (steve@shermlaw.com)
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.

Sincerely,

Mary Hull Caballero
City Auditor of Portland


See Request for Constitutional Review

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City Elections

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Leslie Chaires

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