[Posted Thursday, October 13, 2022; Updated Monday, October 31, 2022]]
Among the items on ballots arriving soon are a contested city council seat and a charter reform package that could radically change the form of Portland's city government.
Portland City Charter Reform
Many Portlanders agree reform is needed to make city government more effective, but not everyone agrees that the charter reform plan presented to voters on the ballot is the right way to do it.
Measure 26-228, created in a two-year process by a committee of 20 volunteers appointed by City Council, bundles several major changes into one ballot item.
If approved, the measure would abolish the current commission form of government and create four new, as-yet-undefined, districts. Each district would be represented by three council members elected by single-transferable-vote ranked-choice voting. The number of city councilors would increase from four to 12, at a cost of up to $8.7 million per year. City bureaus would be overseen by a city administrator instead of city commissioners. The mayor would be elected city-wide and would not have a vote except in the case of a tie.
An array of organizations has endorsed the measure, but critics, including Commissioner Mingus Mapps, the Oregonian Editorial Board, and Willamette Week, say it is overly complex and risky. Among the objections: The proposed multi-member districts could lead to less accountability and confusion over division of responsibilities; if adopted in combination with ranked-choice voting, Portland would be testing out a unique form of government not in use anywhere else; and the form of ranked choice voting proposed would allow candidates to win with less than 25% of the vote (see the Oregonian editorial board opinion piece for a more detailed discussion of this topic).
If Measure 26-228 passes, say opponents, the result would be even more dysfunction than we have now. They want Portlanders to vote no on the package on the November ballot and hold out for a set of new measures being drafted for a special election in the spring of 2023. The alternative proposal will be presented as separate ballot items rather than one all-or-nothing package.
Read about the charter reform ballot measure.
Learn about an alternative proposal drafted by Commissioner Mingus Mapps.
Watch a recording of a SWNI-hosted forum on the charter reform package that took place on September 23. The panelists are Andrew Speer, David Knowles, and Vadim Mozrysky.
City Club will host a debate on charter reform on Friday, October 14 at noon. Register to watch the event live, or check the City Club website later for a link to the recording.
City Council Position #3
A runoff election will decide whether incumbent Jo Ann Hardesty will keep her seat on City Council or be replaced by newcomer Rene Gonzalez.
In the May primary, Hardesty `received just over 43% of the votes citywide, while more than 55% of votes went to two of her challengers, Gonzalez and Vadim Mozyrsky. Gonzalez narrowly beat out Mozyrsky to earn a spot in the run-off with 23.16% of the vote.
Fun fact: Hardesty's showing compared to the city-wide vote was slightly lower in Hillsdale, where she earned 38.6% of votes cast in the two precincts that cover the neighborhood. In those two precincts (2801 and 2806), 7,587 votes were cast, with almost 53% of the votes going to Gonzalez and Mozyrsky.
Not decided yet? Check out these debates between the candidates:
City Club of Portland, September 30
Oregon Public Broadcasting, October 13
Multnomah County charter reforms are also on the ballot, with a total of seven separate measures to decide on, as is the election to choose a new chair of the Board of Commissioners.
General Election Info
Ballots and the voters pamphlet will be mailed to registered voters at their homes beginning October 19. To be counted, ballots must be postmarked by November 8 or dropped at an official dropsite by 8:00 pm on November 8.
For those who want to get a jump on their research, the pamphlet is available now at https://multco-web7-psh-files-usw2.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/multcovp_2022-11_web.pdf.
You can view your registration status and update if necessary at oregonvotes.gov/myvote. Sign up for free ballot-tracking at multnomah.ballottrax.net.
If you do not receive your ballot by Thursday, October 27, call 503-988-VOTE (8683) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official ballot drop sites in Southwest Portland:
A–Boy Supply, 7365 SW Barbur Blvd.
Capitol Hill Library (library book drop), 10723 SW Capitol Hwy.
Hillsdale Library (library book drop), 1525 SW Sunset Blvd.
Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave. Drive-up library book drop located on SW 11th Ave. between SW Yamhill St. and SW Taylor St.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, 700 block of SW Broadway (next to Starbucks and across from Nordstrom—walk-up only)
What's your take? Let us know.