Project Manager Selected for 2020 Charter Commission

News article

Julia Meier, former executive director of City Club and Coalition of Communities of Color, selected as project manager for Portland Charter Commission


The City of Portland has selected a project manager for the City’s new Charter Commission: Julia Meier, former executive director of the City Club of Portland and the Coalition of Communities of Color.

A woman with short dark hair, white skin and tortoiseshell glasses stares directly at the camera, with her fist propping up her chin.
Julia Meier, pictured above, is excited to step into her new role as the Charter Commission project manager and ensure the process is community led and transparent.

A 20-member Charter Commission is convened once a decade to review Portland’s founding documents, considering ways to improve city government. In her new role, Meier will lead the complex process of developing recommendations for consideration by the City Council – and, ultimately, Portland voters.

Meier starts work Sept. 14, the same day applications are due for community members to serve on the Charter Commission. City Council is expected to select commissioners this fall, so work can get underway by the end of the year.

The Charter Commission has broad authority to explore whatever topics members want, though City leaders have said they hope the group will be responsive to community calls for reform.

“I look forward to supporting a charter review that centralizes the principles of equity, engagement and representation,” Meier said. “As Portlanders call for a new future for our city, I want to ensure we create a transparent and community-accountable process for developing Commission recommendations.”

Meier is not new to conversations about the city charter. She recently served three years as executive director at the City Club of Portland, where she supported research projects about Portland’s commission form of government and alternative voting methods. Prior to City Club, Julia spent eight years with the Coalition of Communities of Color supporting a collective racial justice effort through policy analysis and advocacy, culturally appropriate data and research, and leadership development.

Before moving to Portland, Meier spent five years in Alaska practicing law at Alaska Legal Services and working at the Alaska Native Justice Center, where she oversaw and facilitated projects rooted in restorative justice.  Originally from Philadelphia, she earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.

Meier was selected from a competitive process that centered input from community leaders. She rose to the top due to her experience advancing equity, her strong community relationships and her deep knowledge of the issues the Commission is likely to examine, said Shoshanah Oppenheim, manager of the Strategic Projects and Opportunities Team where the position is based.

“Julia brings a powerful blend of knowledge and curiosity,” Oppenheim said. “Charter Commission members will have the support they need to do meaningful work on behalf of our community – and Portlanders can feel confident that their voices will be heard.”


Heather Hafer

Public Information Officer, Office of Management and Finance