Portland is making three connected changes:
- Allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, using ranked-choice voting.
- Establish four geographic districts, with three city council members elected to represent each district – expanding city council to a total of 12 members.
- Allow the city council to focus on setting policy and engaging with community, transitioning day-to-day oversight of bureaus to a mayor elected citywide and a professional city administrator.
How We Got Here
Portland’s new election system and form of government was proposed by the Charter Commission – a group of 20 community leaders appointed in December 2020 to review the city’s founding document.
The Charter Commission spent 18 months studying alternatives to the current form of government and leading a community engagement process with people across the city. Thousands of Portlanders voiced their opinions throughout the once-a-decade process via surveys, community listening sessions, public meetings and written feedback. The proposal that went to the ballot was supported by 17 of the 20 charter commissioners.
In November 2022, 57 percent of Portland voters approved Ballot Measure 26-228.
The City of Portland will host its first election using geographic districts and ranked-choice voting in November 2024. Along the way, key milestones will ensure the project is on track.
|November 2022||Transition begins.|
|Early 2023||Ranked-choice voting implementation is underway.|
Independent District Commission appointed to begin establishing geographic districts.
|March 2023||Salary Commission appointed to establish salaries for elected officials.|
|September 2023||New geographic districts adopted, elected official salaries established.|
|November 2024||Portland voters elect new leaders using ranked-choice voting and geographic districts. The mayor and half the city council will run for four-year terms; the city auditor and the other half of the city council will run for initial two-year terms.|
|January 2025||New city council enters into the new form of government’s roles and responsibilities|
City Transition Team
Based in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, a city project team is responsible for implementing voter-approved changes to the City’s election system and form of government. The transition team includes a wide range of expertise:
- Project management
- Communications and civic engagement
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Budget and finance
- Human resources
- Change management
Community Engagement and Participation
Three community groups will be appointed to ensure the City of Portland implements voters’ direction effectively and efficiently, while advancing the city’s values of equity and anti-racism.
- An Independent District Commission will establish geographic districts.
- A Salary Commission will set salaries for elected officials.
- A Charter Transition Advisory Committee will advise on the overall process. (webpage coming soon)
In addition to our ongoing engagement efforts, community members will have opportunities to provide input to these public bodies throughout the transition.
Making the transition is expected to cost $4 million to $5.9 million per year over the next three years, according to the City Budget Office. After the initial transition, ongoing costs of the new form of government are estimated at an additional $900,000 to $8.7 million per year – the equivalent of 0.1 to 1.4 percent of general fund discretionary resources. Those figures do not reflect potential cost savings from improving service delivery.