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Portland, Oregon

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Portland, Oregon
Seal of Portland OR.png
General information
Charlie Hales in 2011.jpg
Mayor:Charlie Hales
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2012
Next mayoral election:2016
Last city council election:2014
Next city council election:2016
City council seats:5
2014-15 FY Budget:$3.6 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:609,456
Gender:50.5% Female
Race:White 76.1%
African American 6.3%
Asian 7.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1.0%
Two or More 4.7%
Ethnicity:Hispanic or Latino 9.4%
Median household income:$51,238
High school graduation rate:90.3%
College graduation rate:43.1%
Related Portland offices
Oregon Congressional Delegation
Oregon State Legislature
Oregon state executive offices
Portland is a city in Oregon, located in Multnomah County. As of 2013, its population was 609,456.[1]

City government

Since 1913, the city of Portland has utilized a commission system. In this form of municipal government, a city council, comprised of an elected mayor and a board of elected commissioners, serves as the city's primary legislative and administrative body.[2] In Portland, the council also possesses "quasi-judicial" powers.[3]

The city commission system is one of the oldest forms of municipal government in the United States. Portland is the last large city in the county to still use it.[4][3]


The mayor is a member of city council. He or she presides over council meetings and official city ceremonies and is responsible for all committee appointments unless dictated otherwise by the city council. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.[5] Charlie Hales is the current Mayor of Portland.[2]

City council

The Portland City Council is the city's primary legislative and administrative body. It is responsible for approving and adopting the city budget, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances. As an administrative body, each member is in charge of one or more city departments or bureaus, such as the Portland Bureau of Transportation or the Portland Water Bureau. In certain cases involving public land use and judicial appeals, the council may also, from time to time, serve in judicial capacity.[5][3]


The city council consists of five members including the Mayor. All are elected at large in nonpartisan elections to serve four year terms.[2]

A full list of city council members can be found here.

Advisory boards

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Portland City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[6]

For a full list of Portland's commissions, boards and committees, see here



See also: Portland, Oregon municipal elections, 2014

Elections for the Portland City Council were scheduled for November 4, 2014. A primary election took place on May 20, 2014. Because both districts had a candidate claim more than 50 percent of the vote in the May 20 primary, the general election was called off.

The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 11, 2014.[7] Two of the four city council seats were up for election.

Incumbents Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman both won re-election to the council.


Portland's adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2014-15 was $3.6 billion.[8]

Contact information

City of Portland
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Room 110
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 823-4000

See here to contact individual council members.

Ballot measures

See also: Multnomah County, Oregon ballot measures

The city of Austin is in Multnomah County. A list of ballot measures in Multnomah County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Oregon

Population as of the July 2011 census update: 593,820[9]

Charter city

Signature requirement is 9% of the number of electors registered in the city on the date of the primary municipal election immediately preceding the date the prospective petition is filed (Portland Code, Sec. 2.04.090). Chief petitioners must be registered voters of the city. Petitions must be filed for signature verification no less than 4 months before the election date specified on the petition. If petition is sufficient, council has 30 days to pass or the initiated measure will be submitted at the regular primary or general election specified on the petition.

DocumentIcon.jpg Portland Code, Chap. 2.04

Portland Citizen Initiative Petition Information Packet, Office of City Auditor


See also: Oregon government sector lobbying

In 2013, Portland's federal lobbying related expenses amounted to approximately $212,000.[10] The issues for which the city filed in 2013, as well as the number of reports, can be seen in the box below. The issues column lists the generic issues that lobbyists working for local governments are required by law to disclose on quarterly federal disclosure forms.[11][12] The reports column gives the number of reports lobbyists filed in regards to each generic issue. To learn more about the details of the specific issues for which Portland filed reports, read the federal disclosure forms by clicking the "Issues" links in the box below.

Federal Lobbying Issues, 2013
Reports Issues
6 Environment & Superfund
6 Housing
4 Homeland Security
4 Fed Budget & Appropriations
4 Taxes
4 Urban Development
3 Transportation
3 Health Issues
2 Telecommunications
2 Law Enforcement & Crime
1 Medicare & Medicaid
1 Immigration
1 Economics & Econ Development
1 Education
1 Government Issues


See also: Oregon public pensions

Oregon has one public pension fund, the Public Employees Retirement System. According to the PERS website, "you are vested in the OPSRP Pension Program on the earliest date in which you complete at least 600 hours of service in each of five calendar years (the years do not have to be consecutive). If you are an active member any time on or after reaching normal retirement age, you become a vested member regardless of years of service. Once you are vested in the OPSRP Pension Program, you cannot lose your benefit rights unless you withdraw from the program."[13]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Oregon city websites
Meetings P
Elected Officials
Administrative Officials N
600px-Red x.png
Permits, zoning
Contracts N
600px-Red x.png
Lobbying P
Public Records
Local Taxes

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • Current and past budgets are available.[14]
  • Elected officials
    • Has contact information and some salary data of elected officials available.[15]
  • Building permits and zoning
    • Has building permits and zoning information.[16]
  • Audits
    • Has audits available online.[17]
  • Public records
    • Has information on who to request for public records and frequently asked questions about the process.[18]
  • Local taxes
    • Tax information is available.[19]

The bad

  • Meetings
    • Meeting information is available such as videos and agendas, but the city lacks complete meeting minutes.[20]
  • Administrative officials
    • Does not have information about administrative officials available.
  • Lobbying
    • Does not have information about the city's lobbying, but has reports of entities that lobby the city.[21]

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on September 2, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "City of Portland, "Elected Officials," accessed on September 2, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 City of Portland, "City Government Structure," accessed on December 19, 2014
  4. National League of Cities, "Forms of Municipal Government," accessed on September 2, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Portland City Charter, Chs. 3.02.010-3.02.050, accessed on October 29, 2014
  6. City of Portland, "Boards," accessed on August 26, 2014
  7. City of Portland, "Quick Guide: Running For City Of Portland Elected Office," May 14, 2014
  8. City of Portland, Oregon FY 2014-15 Budget in Brief, accessed on September 2, 2014
  9. US Census, "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Oregon: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011," accessed on October 29, 2014
  10. Open Secrets, "City of Portland, OR," accessed on September 2, 2014
  11. U.S. House of Representatives: Office of the Clerk, "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance," accessed on November 11, 2014
  12. Open Secrets, "Methodology," accessed on November 11, 2014
  13. State of Oregon, "PERS general information," accessed on September 2, 2014
  14. City of Portland, "Budget," accessed on September 2, 2014
  15. City of Portland, "Elected officials," accessed on September 2, 2014
  16. City of Portland, "Business permits and zoning," accessed on September 2, 2014
  17. City of Portland, "Audits," accessed on September 2, 2014
  18. City of Portland, "Public Records," accessed on September 2, 2014
  19. City of Portland, "Taxes," accessed on September 2, 2014
  20. City of Portland, "Meetings," accessed on September 2, 2014
  21. City of Portland, "Lobbying," accessed on September 2, 2014