The City's transition team is implementing several charter amendments approved by voters in November 2022. They include replacing the commission form of government with a City Council that focuses on setting policy and a mayor elected citywide to run the City's day-to-day operations in partnership with a professional city administrator.
In February, Council directed the Chief Administrative Officer Mike Jordan to recommend a new organizational reporting structure that aligns with these governance changes. We are pleased to share the CAO’s draft recommendation, which aligns bureaus and programs under the management of a City Administrator. The CAO will make updates to this draft based on feedback received in September, and Council will consider an updated final recommendation in October 2023.
Process to Develop the Draft Recommendation
Since spring, the transition team convened the executive leadership team, made up primarily of bureau directors, in bi-monthly meetings, periodic retreats, and focused work sessions. Service area teams – bureau leadership and Council offices – met and conducted Programmatic Assessments which explored ways to align and coordinate our work to better serve community and employees. Each team produced two reports.
The transition team also produced two employee engagement reports based on a citywide survey, analyzed prior community outreach efforts to identify desired public outcomes, developed an equity tool, conducted best practice research, and sought advice from peer cities consultations. In addition, the team collaborated with the City Attorney’s Office, City Budget Office, and Bureau of Technology Services to understand the implications of potential recommendations, including potential barriers to implementation, resource needs, or other requirements for success.
The first page of the draft chart is an overview of the proposed city organization structure. Portland City Council is separate from the city’s programs and offices as it is a legislative council.
The auditor’s office will house the hearings office and will remain independent as the auditor is elected by Portlanders.
The city attorney, chief of police, and city administrator will all report to the mayor. The mayor will also oversee Portland Solutions, a new program that is still being assessed.
The city administrator will then oversee five service areas: budget and finance, community and economic development, city operations, community safety, and public works. These service areas will be headed by deputy city administrators, who will report to the city administrator.
The five service areas and the programs and functions within them.
|Service Area||Programs and functions within a service area|
|Budget & Finance||Budget, Revenue and Financial Services, Business Operations, Fire Police Disability & Retirement, Special Appropriations|
|Community & Economic Development||Development Services, Permitting**, Planning & Sustainability, Portland Housing Bureau, Portland Children’s Levy, Prosper Portland, Spectator Venues|
|City Operations||Asset Management*, Fleet and Facilities, Human Resources, Independent Police Review, Integrated Security, Information and Referral (311), Office of Equity & Human Rights, Procurement, Special Projects & Opportunities, Technology Services|
|Community Safety||Community Safety, Business Operations, Emergency Communications, Emergency Management, Portland Fire & Rescue, Portland Police|
|Public Works||Arts, Environmental Services, Natural Resources**, Parks and Recreation, Transportation, Water|
The second page goes into additional detail on the programs overseen by the mayor and city administrator. It also lists the programs that make up Portland Solutions, Community Relations, and Council Operations.
The Mayor will oversee four programs and functions.
Roles and programs that will report to the mayor
Chief of Police
Chief of Staff
Portland Solutions (new program/function pending ongoing assessments) that includes the Joint Office of Homeless Services IA, Temporary Shelters, Safe Rest Villages, Neighborhoods, Districts, Public Environment Management Office, Street Services Coordination Center, and the Impact Reduction Program.
The City Administrator will oversee four programs in addition to the deputy city administrators.
Roles and programs that will report to the city administrator
Assistant City Administrator
Council Operations and Legislative Process*
Community Relations includes Adapt to Impact program, Administration and Support, Advisory Boards and Council, a Communications Officer*, Diverse Civic Leaders, an Engagement Officer*, Immigrant and Refugee Program, Office of Government Relations, Tribal Relations, and Youth Outreach.
The recommended organizational chart groups bureaus in service areas with a common focus, establishes deputy city administrators to lead them, and creates a new city administrator office and position. It also responds to community and employee priorities around elevating our equity work; standardizing City policies and processes; aligning bureaus with similar missions, nexus, and focus; fostering greater partnership between bureaus; and creating more coordination in our budgeting and planning processes. This increases accessibility and transparency and helps us be more responsive to our community’s needs.
Structural changes reflected in the draft chart include:
The addition of a City Administrator, as required by Portland's City Charter.
The Charter amendment created a legislative branch of the city, led by a 12-member City Council elected from districts; and an executive branch of the city, led by a mayor elected citywide. The mayor, under the new charter, is required to hire a professional city administrator to run the day-to-day operations of the city.
The addition of the Deputy City Administrator and a Citywide Leadership Team.
Deputy City Administrators: These roles will align the work of the bureaus within their service areas and across the service areas to create citywide consistency. Many of the challenges we face cannot be solved by a single bureau but require a more holistic and integrated response. Under the leadership of the CA, the DCAs will help create citywide strategies and goals and enable teams to work with colleagues in other departments more easily. This coordination and consistency will help us be more transparent and accountable for all the services we deliver and break down some of the silos that exist today. The DCAs will also facilitate discussions in each of the service areas about coordination of services, strategic priorities, and which functions, if any, should be housed in the DCA offices.
Citywide Leadership Team: The city administrator, deputy city administrators, an assistant city administrator (ACA), and an equity officer will make up the Citywide leadership team. Elevating equity and outward-facing functions under the leadership of the ACA will enable better coordination and service to communities.
Bureaus are organized into five service areas led by a Deputy City Administrator who reports to the City Administrator.
Budget and Finance: Includes financial operations, many from OMF, including budgeting, which has citywide implications and coordination needs.
Community and Economic Development: Includes a number of bureaus, and a to-be-determined structure to establish a single authority over development permitting functions. There is a dotted line from Prosper Portland to the Prosper Commission because, by charter, the Prosper Portland board hires/fires the executive director, and they have their own general council. The dotted line represents accountability to that commission.
City Operations: Includes central operational functions, largely those from OMF, and includes primarily internal service groups, many with citywide impact.
Community Safety: Includes the public safety bureaus plus a team (formerly CSD) that handles community safety business operations such as human resources and accounting and finance. There is a dotted line from the police bureau to the police chief, who will be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by city council in the new form of government.
Public Works: Places Portland Parks and Recreation alongside Transportation, Water and Environmental Services due to the amount of collaboration between the bureaus and the benefits of continuing to work closely together on policy, planning and implementation efforts. The City Arts Program is closely connected with Parks and Recreation, so is also located here.
This service area also includes a to-be-determined natural resources grouping. Ongoing conversation between five bureaus (BPS, PBOT, PWB, BES, PP&R) will lead to recommendations for how the City can best approach natural resources and the environment, including climate. This may align with the desired outcome for greater coordination and standardization of related goals, plans, resolutions, and policies that have city-wide impacts. A report from this group is expected soon.
Several new or updated programs/functions are added to align services and meet Portland’s priorities.
- A Portland Solutions group to respond to community livability concerns in the four new districts, including those currently managed through emergency declarations and 90-day resets. The main focus of Portland Solutions is to provide place-based solutions for houselessness, community livability, and neighborhood priorities with a Citywide need.
- A Community Affairs group in the office of the City Administrator which aligns community-facing programs from across the City. This includes programs that directly serve Portland’s diverse communities, the Office of Government Relations, and new roles such as a Communications Officer and an Engagement Officer. Co-locating this work in the same department will help us effectively communicate, engage, and be more transparent with communities. This group will develop clear Citywide policies, practices, and guidance for communications and community engagement.
- A Council Operations group in the office of the City Administrator will support the new 12-member legislative Council, including future committee staffing needs.
- An Equity Officer in the office of the City Administrator is a new position that supports the CA in delivering on the City's commitment to equity and anti-racism. Elevating this function can help address concerns about authority, communication, and decision-making.
- A Communications Officer in the City Administrators’ office will coordinate the City’s communications approach and partner with communications teams across bureaus and service areas to support and deliver unified content and messaging.
- An Engagement Officer, similar to the Communications Officer, will support standard practice for community engagement, and will coordinate with engagement teams across service areas.
- A Coordinated Citywide Asset Management function within the new City Operations service area will implement the recommendations of the Citywide Asset Management Group and develop a practice and methodology of asset management that support strategic Citywide infrastructure planning and management.
- A new Natural Resources group within the new Public Works service area, pending an ongoing assessment, as described above.
- A single point of authority for development permitting, per August 2023 Council direction, as described above.
Office of Management and Finance (OMF) bureaus and programs are reassigned to various organizational units, primarily in the City Operations and Budget and Finance service areas.
The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer is dissolved, and programs are reassigned to the service areas listed above.
The Spectator Venues Program is moved from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer to the Community and Economic Development service area to align with those similar functions.
The Procurement Division is moved from the Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services to the City Operations service area to support this critical Citywide business process.
The City Arts Program is moved from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer to the Public Works service area, along with Portland Parks and Recreation, as described above.
Programs in the Office of Community and Civic Life are reassigned to various organizational units, including Portland Solutions and the Community Affairs team, as described above.
The Community Safety Division is renamed Community Safety Business Operations and is moved to the new Community Safety service area, as described above.
The Hearings Officer will return to the City Auditor’s office.
Overall, the CAO’s recommendation relocates 26 programs. The most significant change that many bureaus will experience is reporting to an executive branch led by the mayor and managed by the city administrator, rather than to a city commissioner.
The initial work of the City Organization project is at the program offer level. Future phases of the project may include changes below the program offer level. The draft organizational chart represents changes outlined in this memo. If a program is not detailed in the memo in the organizational chart, it remains in its current bureau.
Through September, we invite feedback from community, employees, and council. Then, in October, CAO Jordan will submit a resolution to Council for their consideration. The resolution will include the following:
A final recommended organizational structure
A report documenting the process, the equity impacts and benefits, and the implementation plan
Additional considerations and recommendations
The Council documents will be published by the Council Clerk on October 13 and shared out on the transition webpage.
Once an organizational structure is approved by council, the Transition Team and City leadership will focus on implementation – including prioritization and phasing of the many change elements. A technical implementation team had been assembled, and work is underway now.
This new structure is necessary for us to be successful in the new form of government, but organizational changes by themselves aren’t sufficient to help employees, executive and elected leaders, and community thrive in the new model. It will take the whole city working together as we move through these changes, and pursue further improvements, to best serve our communities.
Watch this presentation on the draft chart structure then provide public comment on the draft organization chart through this anonymous feedback form or by emailing email@example.com. Feedback will be collected until Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023.