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The City of Portland, Oregon

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

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Candidate Filing Procedures


Below is a summary of steps involved in running for office in the City of Portland. Information contained on this page should not be considered as having the same weight and authority as City Code, Charter, or administrative rules. Candidates are responsible for understanding and complying with state law and City regulations governing candidate applications, the nominating petition process, and new and ongoing regulations regarding campaign finance for candidates and their campaigns.

For detailed information, candidates should refer to the Candidate Information Packet (updated January 2020 for the 2020 Elections Cycle). 

*Please note: if filing by declaration and fee, the Elections Office can only accept payment with a check or cash* 

Filing for Office - Overview and Qualifications

Four offices will appear on the ballot for the 2020 municipal primary election: Commissioner Position No 1, Special Election to fill the remainder of the term of Commissioner, Position No. 2, Commissioner Position No. 4, and Mayor.

For the Special Election filling the remainder of the term for Commissioner, Position No. 2, if no candidate receives a majority of votes at the May Primary, a Special Run-Off Election will be held on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 for those candidates only. 

For the other City offices on the ballot, if no candidate receives a majority of votes at the May 19, 2020 Municipal Primary Election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for that office will appear on the November 3, 2020 General Election ballot.

To run for office and appear on the ballot as an official candidate, individuals must be 1) Citizens of the United States and the state of Oregon 2) Registered voters in the City of Portland and 3) Have maintained residency within the City's limits since May 19, 2019. Qualifications will be determined upon submission of filing forms and identification with the Elections Office.  

There are two general steps to run for city office, as listed below. All candidates should refer to the Candidate Information Packet for filing forms and the latest Secretary of State's Candidate Manual for local jurisdictions and Campaign Finance Manual for state laws regarding transaction reporting requirements for contributions and expenditures. 

Note: Additional guidance will be available on new local regulations regarding campaign finance and campaign disclosures prior to the first date to file for office (Sept, 12, 2019). 

New City Programs and Requirements for Candidates and Campaigns

New disclosure law: Additional regulations regarding disclosures on campaign communications that are applicable to all City candidates and campaigns, can be found here.

New publicly financed campaign program: Information, including training sign up and deadlines for the City's new publicly financed campaign program, Open and Accountable Elections, are available from the program website.

Note that there are increased reporting requirements in the state's ORESTAR system that apply to participating and non-participating candidates.

How to File for Office

Step One

Review campaign finance requirements listed above and as necessary, establish a Principal Campaign Committee with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Election Division by registering in the ORESTAR system, and filing the Statement of Organization and the Campaign Account Information forms.*  These must be filed directly with the State's Elections Division.

Candidates must file these forms within 3 business days of receiving a contribution or making an expenditure, even if prior to September 12, 2019. 

Step Two

File for office in person with the City’s Election Office through either option:

(A) Declaration and fee. Candidates submit filing forms along with a fee ($50 for Mayor/ $30 for Commissioner)


(B) Nominating Petition. Candidates submit filing forms, including a signature sheet first approved in writing by the Elections office, then collect at least 100 valid signatures from registered Portland voters. Once the signatures are submitted with appropriate forms, the City Elections Office conducts a review to determine if the signatures are valid. No fee is required upon successful completion of the petition.

NOTE: Filing for office by nominating petition is a requirement to apply for certification in the City's Open and Accountable Elections program.

A candidate has not officially filed for office and will not be added to the official registry of candidates until all required items are submitted and the Elections Office has determined the individual is qualified to run for office in the City of Portland.

* Not all candidates are required to establish a Principal Campaign Committee. For more information, please see the Secretary of State’s Quick Guide on campaign finance reporting.