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The City of Portland, Oregon

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

How Council Works

Council Meeting Dates

City Council holds regular weekly meetings on Wednesday at 9:30 am. If there is sufficient business, recessed meetings are held Wednesday and Thursday at 2:00 pm or 6:00 pm.

Council Agenda

The Council Agenda, which lists all items to be considered by the Council at each session, is available to the public on the Friday before the Council meetings. The Agenda is posted on the Council Clerk website. It is also published in the Daily Journal of Commerce each Tuesday. 

Items on the Agenda

Ordinances

Ordinances are formal documents which carry the binding force of law and are passed by the Council in accordance with rules set forth in the City Charter. Two kinds of Ordinances, emergency and non-emergency, appear on the Agenda.

Emergency Ordinances

Emergency ordinances are designated on the Agenda by an asterisk preceding the agenda number and public testimony is heard. A unanimous vote with at least four Council members present is required.

Non-emergency Ordinances

Non-emergency ordinances come before Council twice and go into effect 30 days after being passed by Council. Public testimony is taken only at the first reading and the vote is taken at the second reading. Only three votes are needed for approval.

Resolutions

A resolution usually establishes Council policy or directs certain administrative actions. It requires only one reading and approval by three Council members.

Reports

Reports provide information, transmit other documents, and/or make recommendations. Reports are commonly used to approve bids and the completion of contracts, make appointments to boards or commissions, and make recommendations.

Time Certain

When an important or controversial item is scheduled, it may be designated "Time Certain." Such matters are not heard before the stated time but may begin later if other business takes longer than planned. 

Consent Agenda

To expedite Council business, routine and noncontroversial items are placed on a Consent Agenda which is passed without discussion and with a single vote of approval by at least four Council members. Anyone who wishes to comment on any item on the Consent Agenda may ask the Council Clerk to remove that item from the Consent to be heard as part of the Regular Agenda.

Quasi-Judicial Proceedings

Special rules apply to land use appeals, which are quasi-judicial in nature and are conducted in accordance with Oregon State statutes and City Code provisions. Those rules are stated in the hearing notification and at the beginning of the session.

Participating at Council Meetings

Provide Testimony on Agenda Item

Council Members welcome public testimony. Council will hear public testimony on resolutions, emergency ordinances and non-emergency ordinances (first readings only). Testimony is not taken on communications, reports, second readings, proclamations or presentations in accordance with Code 3.02.040 F. and G. As each item pulled from the Consent Agenda and those on the Regular Agenda are read, the Mayor will ask if anyone wishes to testify. Sign up to provide testimony on an Agenda item by visiting the Agenda webpage and registering using the links provided for each session. Public testimony will be heard by electronic communication (internet connection or telephone). Identify the agenda item(s) you want to testify on, and provide your name, agenda item number(s), zip code, phone number and email address. Once registration is submitted, an invitation will be sent with information about how to join the virtual meeting. Individuals have three minutes to testify unless otherwise stated at the meeting. Those wishing to present a PowerPoint presentation or show images should send the material to the Council Clerk prior to the meeting (cctestimony@portlandoregon.gov). Videos can be shared with Council via email but cannot be shown during the virtual meetings at this time. Written testimony for distribution to Council members may also be submitted by those unable to attend in person.

Communications

In addition to testifying before Council on items listed on the Agenda, members of the public may sign up in advance for a Communication spot on the Agenda to address Council for three minutes about a topic of their choosing. Communications are the first item to be heard on Wednesday morning, and there are five spots available. Individuals may sign up for a Communication once a month. Communications are normally scheduled only after the matter has been brought to the attention of the appropriate bureau or Commissioner. The Ombudsman's Office may also be helpful in resolving problems. To schedule a Communication, send an email to cctestimony@portlandoregon.gov and include name, contact information, zip code, preferred meeting date, and a brief description of the topic to be presented to Council.

Watch Council Meetings

Council meetings are live streamed on the City’s YouTube channel, eGov PDX. Previous meetings are also available.

City Council meetings are also cablecast live on City Net 30, Portland Community Media television. For the schedule, visit Open Signal Cable Schedule.

If you have any questions about how you may participate in the governmental process, please do not hesitate to contact the Council Clerk's office at councilclerk@portlandoregon.gov.