Portland City Council appointed 13 Portlanders on Wednesday to serve on the Independent District Commission. The group, tasked with establishing four geographic districts for Portland’s next city council by Sept. 1, will engage with Portland community members throughout the process.
Ballot Measure 26-228, which passed in November, included a package of reforms proposed by the Portland Charter Commission. One change on the way is the establishment of four geographic districts for Portland’s next city council, with an Independent District Commission leading the process.
Currently, all four of Portland’s city commissioners are elected citywide and allow for candidates to live anywhere in Portland. Beginning in November 2024, three city councilors will be elected in each of the four new geographic districts. The mayor and auditor will still be elected citywide.
Out of nearly 300 applicants, City Council voted to appoint the 13 Independent District Commission members nominated by Mayor Wheeler along with six alternates, representing a diversity of race, gender, age and geography. Alternate members may be selected to move into a commission role if any of the appointed commissioners are unable to fulfil their duties.
Nominations were made based on four criteria:
Skills and knowledge to help the commission fulfill its work, such as prior experience with a redistricting process, elections expertise, or voter education and outreach
A commitment to advancing equity
Ability to support the community engagement efforts of the commission
A connection to a wide variety of Portland communities, such as public, private, nonprofit, business, philanthropic, faith-based, racial or ethnic communities
The City Charter calls for a districting plan to be adopted by Sept. 1, 2023. Before then, the Independent District Commission will need to:
Hold a citywide public hearing in the near-term to engage Portlanders on district criteria
Hold at least two public hearings in each proposed district before voting to adopt a district plan
Ensure district maps are consistent with charter, state and federal laws and criteria
Once the district plan is finalized, nine of the 13 commissioners will need to vote to adopt it. If the District Commission cannot approve the plan after two rounds of voting, the plan will be passed to the City Council for their consideration and a vote.
“We received phenomenal applications from so many wanting to engage fellow Portlanders and create districts in which all residents feel represented in their city government,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “We see and are counting on the continued momentum to change our City’s future.”
These are the 13 Independent District Commissioners and six alternates:
Independent District Commissioners
Reserve Alternate Members
District Commissioner Quotes
"I am enthusiastic about the historic opportunity to hear from Portland residents about how they want to be represented on City Council, and to draw maps that maximize political competition and representation of our unique and diverse neighborhoods and communities." -Kari Chisholm
"This endeavor will only be successful if we are committed to engaging with Portlanders where they are, being in community with them, and lifting up their voices as we draw the political boundaries that will unite our city." -Joshua Laurente
"I am so excited to see this new Portland and want to play a part in its success. If not me, then who? I do not deserve the right to question or challenge policies if I myself am unwilling to get involved and serve." -Edie Van Ness
"I am excited about ensuring a fair process is implemented to create the 4 new districts, as well as ensuring a transparent and inclusive process." -Paul Lumley
"The work of implementing the recommendations of the City of Portland Charter Commission is a critical opportunity to redesign City government toward achieving the goal of a multiracial democracy." -Neisha Saxena
"My goals would be to share my knowledge of how other cities and countries have drawn similar districts and to create the most fair and equitable districts for Portland. " -Melody Valdini
"I’m excited to create an inclusive process and to engage community-based organizations." -Lamar Wise