Everyone deserves fair representation, no matter what neighborhood they live in. But right now, Portland’s system of government is unfair, inefficient, and outdated — by over 100 years.


  • We simply don’t have enough City Councilors to represent everyone fairly (we only have five representing nearly 650,000 people in the city).
  • Our City Counsilors have been overwhelmingly white and male, with white men taking three-quarters of the counsel seats since 1995, and less than 10 percent going to people of color.
  • We have an outdated “pick one” voting system for City Counsilors, which is shown to decrease voter turnout and lead to unfair election outcomes that aren’t representative of the voter base — particularly silencing marginalized voices in the community.
  • Our “Commission” form of government isn’t working. Right now, Commissioners run City Bureaus. But Commissioners aren’t elected for their expertise in running specific bureaus, so they often have little to no experience in running bureaus effectively. This makes it very difficult to move city priorities forward.

In short, our outdated system stands in the way of us establishing a healthy, representative democracy. The good news? We have the power to do something about it!

Ways you can take action:

This November 8, we can vote yes on the Portland Charter Reform Measure.

The Portland Charter Reform Measure would:

  • Establish ranked-choice voting for City Council positions
  • Expand City Council by adding 4 new geographic districts, each with 3 new representatives. That’s a huge win for parts of the city like East Portland that have long been underrepresented.
  • Create a new governance structure where City Council is focused on setting policies and the Mayor is focused on implementing them

Portlanders fought hard for this measure, and with City Counsilor approval it will be on the ballot. Passing these reforms would be a huge stride in making Portland a more fair, representative democracy – while setting us up to tackle issues like racial inequity, lack of affordable housing, and climate change.

Join Portland United for Change

Want to do more to get these reforms passed? Join Portland United for Change, our growing cross-movement campaign to pass the Portland Charter Reform Measure! Whether you want to talk to voters, display a sign in your yard, or host a house party, we could use your support.

More good news!

Over the last year, we’ve advocated for the Charter Commission to create a subcommittee in Phase II dedicated to reforms for climate and environmental justice, and we’re incredibly excited to say that they’ve followed through! If you wrote a letter, gave testimony in a meeting, or helped in any other way to make this happen, thank you. The Charter Commission has agreed that reforms for climate and environmental justice can’t wait another decade, and now it’s time to shape the proposals they’ll soon send to voters.

Stay tuned for more ways to take action during Phase 2 of the Charter Review process this fall, and in the meantime – don’t forget to register to vote by October 18th and return your ballot in November! Check out our new City Charter webpage to stay up to date.

Thanks for your support as this work continues,

Indi Namkoong, 350PDX Coalition Manager