Portland voters have the chance to adopt proportional multi-member districts for their city council in November.
Charter Commission Co-Chair Melanie Billings-Yun: "It's going to take less education than a lot of pundits are saying. The fact is we have not heard from one Portlander who says let's keep it like it is.”
The Coalition of Communities of Color: “We are excited about how this measure will improve the delivery of services for all residents, increase geographic representation and accountability between elected officials and communities, and ensure voters have more choices to elect candidates that share their values.”
Yesterday, the Portland Charter Commission voted to give the people of Portland a chance to adopt proportional representation for the city government this November.
Overwhelmingly approved by 17 out of 20 commissioners, the proposal would expand the city council to twelve members elected in four multi-member districts with three members each. It would also implement ranked choice voting for all citywide elections and create a new balance of duties between the council, the mayor, and a city administrator. If voters approve the proposal, it will take effect for the 2024 elections, making Portland the largest city in the United States to elect its city council with proportional representation.
Portland’s actions are an example for other cities, states, and the rest of the country. With threats to democracy on the rise, pro-democracy reforms like proportional representation are gaining momentum – and we're going to keep spreading the word and showing people that there is a better way than the failed single-winner district system.
From The Portland Tribune:
Charter Commissioner Raahi Reddy was very enthusiastic about the proposals. "I think this is going to be a tremendous, wonderful turn for Portland. I'm excited and proud of the work we've done," Reddy said. "I'm a yes, yes, and yes. . .”
"It's going to take less education than a lot of pundits are saying,” said Portland Charter Commission Co-Chair Melanie Billings-Yun. “The fact is we have not heard from one Portlander who says let's keep it like it is. The mood for change is so tremendous that we have the winds on our back on this one.”From Portland Mercury: “In my almost twenty years of being engaged in Portland public politics and community, I have never seen such a diverse group of people come together to do work on this level,” said commissioner Debra Porta. “The proposals, I think, reflect that, which I think is also the point. . .”
“I believe that we've been engaged in an exercise of creating space—space for a government that can practice another way of being,” said charter co-chair Gloria Cruz before casting their vote. “And space for those who are marginalized to have more opportunity to participate in our democracy. . .”
“[T]he majority vote to send the amendments to the ballot as a package brought Tuesday’s meeting to a close with cheers and applause.”From The Coalition of Communities of Color: “The Charter Commission has worked diligently to hear from Portlanders, meet with city employees and local organizations, and use community input to shape their unified proposal. . .”
“Throughout CCC’s engagement, we heard our communities calling for change to our systems of local government. Many Portlanders feel that the city government is not effectively responding to their needs and feel the City Council has historically not represented their communities. . .”
“We are excited about how this measure will improve the delivery of services for all residents, increase geographic representation and accountability between elected officials and communities, and ensure voters have more choices to elect candidates that share their values.”