News release: Multnomah County Charter Review Committee begins deliberations on 2022 Charter amendments Wednesday, June 15

June 14, 2022

The Multnomah County Charter Review Committee will begin discussion Wednesday, June 15, on whether to submit four recommended amendments from subcommittees to the Board of County Commissioners and then onto the November ballot.

Every six years, an appointed committee meets to study the County Charter and submit any recommended changes. Those recommendations will head first to the Commissioners, no later than Aug. 4, 2022, and then go before voters. Recommendations being considered Wednesday come from the following subcommittees:

Government Accountability Subcommittee

Considered topics related to the County Auditor, the Office of Community Involvement, the Charter Review Committee, a salary commission, a County Manager, and Charter language. The Subcommittee advanced the following proposals:

  • Change who selects Charter Review Committee members. Currently, state representatives select members. The subcommittee is recommending the County Office of Community Involvement select committee members. Four members would be selected from each district for a total of 16 members. Members could remain on the committee if they move between districts, and the Office of Community Involvement would also be authorized to fill any vacancies.
  • Extend the Charter review process timeline to allow for 18 months of work. Change Charter language to explicitly allow Charter Review Committees to choose their leadership structures. Add language to explicitly require the funding and administration of a public engagement process for Charter review.
  • Codify the existing Good Government Hotline in the Charter.
  • Add language that explicitly requires the County Auditor's timely access to records, information and materials related to audits. Add a requirement that the County include “right to audit” clauses in contracts and subcontracts.
  • Establish an ombuds office within the Office of the Auditor.

The Subcommittee declined to vote on advancing proposals that would establish a budget floor for the Auditor and codify the existing role of County chief operating officer (COO) in the Charter. Instead, the subcommittee recommends that the next Charter Review Committee explore those options.

Safety and Justice Subcommittee

Considered topics related to the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the County Auditor Office, as it relates to possible government oversight. The Subcommittee voted to advance the following:   

  • Require members of the County Board of Commissioners to inspect County jail facilities a minimum of four times a year with the participation of constituents.

The subcommittee was not able to advance a specific proposal on adding the role of an elected public defender to the Charter. The subcommittee recommends that the next Charter Review Committee explore the option of adding this role.

Equitable Representation Subcommittee

Considered topics related to voting methods, electing officials, campaign finance regulations, commissioner districts, the number of commissioners, requirements for elected office, and the creation or filling of elected office vacancies. The subcommittee advanced the following:

  • Require Multnomah County to adopt Ranked Choice Voting in its elections.
  • Require Multnomah County to expand voting rights in Multnomah County elections to the extent allowed by law.

The subcommittee did vote on a proposal that would have increased the number of County commissioners from four to 12, with three commissioners serving each existing district. But subcommittee members voted 3-1 against this recommendation because they felt they had insufficient information on whether this was the best configuration for the Board of Commissioners. All of the members recommended that the next Charter Review Committee explore increasing the size of the Board.

The Charter Review Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, June 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. You can preview each recommendation in the agenda and review additional information from the subcommittee recommendation forms included in the meeting materials.

The meeting is open to the public. If you are interested in observing, you can join via Zoom by using the passcode rWRd#3d*.

You can also listen by phone, by dialing 253-215-8782 and using webinar ID 910 1246 9136 and passcode 11081714.

People interested in testifying can sign up to speak during the meeting; the deadline for signing up is 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 14. Direct questions or concerns to Kali Odell, the Charter Review Committee Program Coordinator, at or 503-312-4985.