Why Transportation Activists Should Pay Attention to Portland’s Form of Government

Last week, Portland City Council, upon the recommendation of a Charter Review Commission, forwarded four Charter amendments to the May 15 ballot.

What does this have to do with transportation?

Well, one of these amendments would change Portland’s form of government from our current Commission form to a Mayor-Chief Administrative Officer-Council form. So executive authority – including management of transportation – would move from an elected Commissioner to the CAO and the Mayor.

Given that much of our success in transportation can be attributed to three strong Commissioners-in-charge: Earl Blumenaur, Charlie Hales and now Sam Adams, transportation activists should pay attention to this one.

Since 1913, voters have turned down 6 attempts to eliminate the Commission form. If you’d like to help stop the 7th attempt, you can sign up at http://accountableportland.com.

[Full disclosure: I am co-chairing the Committee for Accountable City Goverment with former Mayor Bud Clark, opposing the form of government change.]

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