Measure 26-205 - November 2019 Special Election - City of Portland

Referred to the People by the City Council


Amends Charter: Authorizes City participation in emergency mutual aid agreements.

Question: Shall Charter be amended to authorize emergency mutual aid agreements between the City and other government entities, tribes or utilities?

Summary: The measure amends the Charter by clarifying Council authority to enter into and fund mutual aid agreements to provide or receive emergency assistance between the City and other government entities, tribes or utilities following a significant natural disaster or other major disruption to water-related services. Mutual aid agreements permit emergency responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries when an emergency response exceeds local resources. Mutual aid agreements typically address the furnishing of personnel, equipment or expertise in a specific manner when an emergency occurs.

Explanatory Statement

Portland City Council unanimously approved a resolution referring a City Charter amendment that would authorize City participation in emergency mutual aid agreements to Portland voters for the November 5, 2019 ballot.  The resolution was sponsored by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, as the Commissioner-in-Charge of the Portland Water Bureau. 

If passed, the amendment would allow City Council to approve and fund agreements between the Water Bureau and other cities, communities, and tribes to provide and receive prompt support during times of emergency like an earthquake. Because emergencies are rare, the cost of mutual aid agreements varies.

If the amendment is not passed, City Council may not be able to provide and receive prompt support from non-local jurisdictions and City Council would pay for any costs associated with mutual aid agreements with local jurisdictions from the General Fund instead of the Water Fund.

Submitted by

Amanda Fritz, Commissioner
City of Portland

No arguments in Opposition to this measure were filed.


After Hurricane Katrina, Portland Water Bureau staff went to New Orleans to offer assistance. It was not only the right thing to do, but also gave our Water Bureau staff valuable real-life experience on how to manage emergencies and provide safe drinking water to community members in desperate need. Astonishingly, a Judge ruled that the City’s actions were inappropriate.

When a major earthquake hits Portland, we will need many other jurisdictions to send skilled workers to help us out. We will need local experts with experience working in disaster situations. Your Yes vote on this ballot measure will allow the Portland Water Bureau to enter into agreements with other cities, counties, states, and tribes so that when they need emergency help, our Water Bureau experts will give it – and when we need help, they will be here for us.

Your Yes vote on this ballot measure clarifies that the Portland City Council has your approval to spend Water Funds on mutual aid agreements that allow the Water Bureau to give and receive aid in major disaster emergencies.

In the Resolution referring this question to the ballot, the City Council set Binding City Policy that if this measure is approved by voters, the Portland Water Bureau must report annually to the Council on new mutual aid agreements.

I was a Registered Nurse for 27 years before I was elected to serve as your representative on the City Council. My life has been dedicated to helping people help each other. Please join me in voting Yes on 26-205.

  • Common sense.
  • Wise use of ratepayers’ money.
  • The right thing to do.

Thank you,

Amanda Fritz

Portland City Commissioner

(This information furnished by Amanda Fritz.)

The printing of these arguments does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the arguments.