Over the past few weeks, the Portland Building and Urban Development (PBUD) and Government Affairs (GAC) committees received updates on the Portland Charter Reform process of the Charter Reform Commission from Andrew Speer. Mr Speer, who is a Charter Commissioner and also Local Government Affairs Manager for HBA member PGE educated committee members on the Portland Charter, the role and responsibilities of the Charter Commission as well as the process by which the charter is updated. He also updated the attendees on the draft recommendations by the Charter Commission which will be finalized in June. The recommendation includes three major changes, and a number of smaller ones. - Four new geographic districts with three members elected to represent each district, expanding the city council to a total of 12 members - A city council that focuses on setting policy and a mayor elected citywide to run the city’s day-to-day operations, with the help of a professional city administrator - Allowing voters to rank candidates in order of their preference, using ranked choice voting Charter reform is one of the most important things for residential development in Portland. Under the current form of government, city departments with competing interests are siloed and overseen by elected officials that can change mid term or with new elections, often causing department priorities to shift, making long term efforts to address problems difficult to achieve. The current form of government also forgoes any ultimate decision maker which allows for the competing department goals and conflicting policy and regulatory to go unresolved adding to the complexities, uncertainty and delays in the permitting process. HBA believes the recommendations will be a positive step forward in addressing these problems and will continue updating members on this issue. In addition to educating members about the need for charter reform and the committee recommendations, HBA has been working with other business and community organizations to plan for the eventual charter reform ballot referral and an advocacy plan to support charter reform proposals on the November 2022 ballot. Download Charter Reform Presentation If you would like to learn more about PDX charter reform or how to get involved with future advocacy efforts, contact Ryan Makinster, firstname.lastname@example.org.