Portland City Council to consider revisions to code that directs future council organization and procedures on Sept. 20 

A white icon against an orange background. Next to it is an invitation: join us on Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. to watch the transition team present on revisions to Council Code 3.02.
Code changes are necessary to align procedures with the voter-approved Charter amendments. 

Over the last several months, members of the transition team have been working with City partners and experts from other cities to develop revisions to City Code 3.02, Council Organization and Procedures. The transition team will present these proposed revisions to council on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.  

These revisions will provide helpful information about the changing roles of elected officials as interested candidates file to run for office. Work will continue in 2024 to develop additional recommendations on council operations and to match other chapters of City Code to the updated City Charter

The reason and the process for revising City Code 3.02 

Code revisions are needed to align with the voter-approved City Charter amendments. The revised code will give the new 12-member, district-based legislative council the necessary formal guidelines to operate effectively starting in January 2025.  

To develop these code revisions, the transition team studied and met with other cities to learn their best practices. In spring and summer 2023, the transition team presented to the Government Transition Advisory Committee (GTAC) about the changing roles and responsibilities of leadership and key policy choices for revisions to council organization and procedures. Advice from GTAC has informed the process to draft the revised code. 

The 2023 timeline below provides an overview of meetings the team has had with internal subject matter experts, commissioner offices, and the GTAC. The transition team held a community listening session on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, to present key policy choices to participants, answer questions, and take feedback. 

A timeline spanning from March 2023 through 2024 detailing meetings related to revisions to Code 3.02. In total there were nine meetings, including a community information session.

View this document,City-code-3.02-Responses to FAQ and Comments,to read the frequently asked questions from the Aug. 8 listening session.  

Additional recommendations for council operations will continue to be developed and informed by the community. These recommendations will be provided to the 2025 council so they can make their own choices about how they will work together as a group. 

Understanding the future roles of the legislative council and the executive mayor 

Future roles: legislative council 

  1. The 12-member legislative council will set policy.  

  1. Council will have the legislative power to make appropriations and raise revenue by approving or adjusting the city budget.  

  1. Council may convene public meetings, gather public input, debate and evaluate policy choices, and adopt laws or policies to reflect those choices. 

  1. Quasi-judicial power to apply laws and policies.  

 Future roles: executive mayor 

  1. The mayor will manage city services with the help of a city administrator. 

  1. The mayor has executive and administrative power to execute the laws, and administer bureaus, employees, facilities, and ensure that city government is using appropriated funds effectively. 

  1. They have the power to adopt administrative rules.  

  1. They may introduce matters before the legislative council, with the same authority as a councilor, and vote in the case of a tie. 

Glossary: City Charter and City Code  

The City Charter is a guiding document that establishes a local government’s system and structure. Portland’s Charter determines how the City runs elections, the roles and responsibilities of the City’s elected leaders, and how the City’s bureaus and services are managed.   

The City Code is a collection of laws passed by a local governing body. Portland currently has 34 chapters of City Code that can be referenced at portland.gov/code.   

Timeline from September 2023 to January 2025 

  1. Present recommendations for city code updates on council organization and procedures to City Council.  

  1. Continue to develop and engage the community on council operations recommendations. For example, how council will receive public testimony and options for how legislative committees operate.   

  1. Continue to update City code to be consistent with the revised City Charter and the needs of the mayor-council form of government.  

  1. Continue to educate the public on the new form of government. Develop a plan for onboarding the 12-member council, mayor, auditor, and related staff so they have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. 

Additional Resources 

Read the fact sheet.  

Learn more on the changing roles for the mayor and council on this page

Watch the team present to city council on Sept. 20, 2023