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City Council poised to appoint 20 community leaders to Portland Charter Commission

News article

Charter Commission will evaluate Portland’s founding document, recommend changes to the way the City works.

Published
A collage of 20 people of varying ages, ethnicities, and genders against a yellow background.
Portland's future Charter Commissioners.

A diverse group of 20 community leaders is poised to serve on Portland’s Charter Commission – a once-a-decade opportunity to review the City’s most important legal document and recommend changes.

On Dec. 3 the Portland City Council will formally approve a slate of charter commissioners who are nominated from a record-breaking pool of almost 300 applicants. Appointees span a broad range of professions, neighborhoods and identities; they are connected by their desire to serve their community.

"I am interested in serving on the Charter Commission to get Portland to walk its talk," said Salomé Chimuku, community leader and political advocate. "Portland needs to be the accessible and equitable city it can be." Charter commissioners represent their own perspectives and opinions; they do not speak for their employers or other affiliated organizations.

When selecting Commissioners, City Council officials looked for candidates with diverse perspectives who have experience championing community needs. While there were many qualified applicants, City Council selected 20 people to lead Portland’s charter review process during this pivotal time:

  • Amira Streeter
  • Andrew Speer
  • Angie Morrill
  • Anthony Castaneda
  • Becca Uherbelau
  • Bryan William Lewis
  • Candace Avalos
  • Dave Galat
  • Debbie Kitchin
  • Debra Porta
  • Hanna Osman
  • Karol Collymore
  • Melanie Billings-Yun
  • Raahi Reddy
  • Robin Ye
  • Salomé Chimuku
  • Scott Fogarty
  • Steven Phan
  • Vadim Mozyrsky
  • Yasmin Ibarra

When the Office of Management and Finance and Council offices began preparing for the next Charter Commission earlier this year, the world was a very different place. By the time the project team was ready to launch the recruitment, Portland was grappling with the impacts of COVID-19 and a worldwide racial justice movement. In response, the project team adjusted the application process to better capture some of the special skills and qualifications needed for the Commission’s success during this uncertain time.

Equity has been a core value throughout this process. Members nominated to serve on the Commission say they see an opportunity to create a more equitable future for Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color.

“I am interested in serving on the Charter Commission because my family moved from Chiloquin, Oregon to Vanport during WWII and I was born and raised in North Portland in a historic Black neighborhood with an active Native community,” said Angie Morrill, who oversees the Indian Education Program for Portland Public Schools and is an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes. “It may seem like gentrification erased those neighborhoods but while Black and Native families may be pushed, they will not be erased.”

Although the charter commissioners’ work will start after the new year, many of them are already looking forward to this once-in-a-decade process. For Commissioner Raahi Reddy this review represents an opportunity to reimagine our City’s process and structures to be more inclusive of all our community members.

“I want to help City residents, especially the most disenfranchised, have access to this process, see themselves in the future of Portland, and ultimately have a renewed sense of belonging in this place we call home,” said Reddy, the director of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program at the Metro regional government.

To learn more about the rest of the Charter commissioners, visit the Charter Commission webpage.

Contact

Heather Hafer

Public Information Officer, Office of Management and Finance