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City Codes are the governing laws written in the City Charter. They are changed by ordinance passed by the City Council. The purpose of code is to set a strategic direction which can be implemented through administrative rules and policy documents, program design, budgets, and contractual agreements. In November 2018, the Office of Community and Civic Life, responding to community calls for change, a 2016 audit, and the resulting Resolution 37373, began the process to change City Code 3.96.
The code change addresses Chapter 3.96, which defines the functions and responsibilities of the Office of Community & Civic Life. The current code is outdated and does not reflect Civic Life’s current programs, responsibilities, and constituencies. These proposed changes are about adding voices to our civic landscape and encouraging collaboration within and across issues, identities, and place. For this reason, Civic Life will continue to serve neighborhood-based groups, which includes neighborhood associations, as well as other place-based advocacy groups.
Please note: this page will be updated as new information is made available and updates announced through Civic Life updates. Click here to subscribe to Civic Life updates and receive the latest information.
Frequently Asked Questions - A list of questions and explanations based on ongoing conversations informed by the year-long code change process.
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly will present the proposed code changes as a report on November 14.
Portland City Council Hearing
City Code Chapter 3.96
Thursday, November 14, 2019
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Community Feedback Survey regarding recommended Code Change language
Throughout the code change process, we have heard many stories of people's relationships to civic engagement. Here are but a few stories shared with us.
To serve more communities, we are reaching beyond our existing audiences and connecting with groups and communities whose lived experiences, values, and aspirations have not been reflected in Chapter 3.96. Over-relying on any one tool will not get us the rich cross-section of perspectives we seek. To gain diverse perspectives, we have engaged with the community on concepts critical to our work in the following ways>>
Committee 3.96 was formed to recommend changes to Chapter 3.96. The twenty-five members include leaders from Neighborhood Associations and Neighborhood Coalitions, entrepreneurs, faith-based, youth and leaders from disability communities. Meet the committee and read about their Portland moment here>>
We are excited about our partnerships with the next generation of Portlanders. Students from two high school journalism programs: Parkrose and David Douglas have used the code change project as a topic for learning about City functioning and for storytelling to their peers in the manner and content they choose.
Questions? Contact Sabrina Wilson, Code Change Project Manager at Sabrina.Wilson@portlandoregon.gov
What does the current City Code Chapter 3.96 state?
The current City Code Chapter 3.96 “creates a framework by which the people of the City of Portland may effectively participate in civic affairs and work to improve the livability and character of their Neighborhoods and the City.” This code describes the functions of the Office of Community & Civic Life.
Although broad in scope, this code served to create a formal link only between the City, Neighborhood Associations, and District Coalitions. Since then our office’s programs and relationship with the public have evolved. The 2016 Office of Neighborhood Involvement audit also highlighted the need to update Bureau practices and City Code to ensure Portlanders have equal access to City’s decision-making process. The ways in which Civic Life connects and works with Portlanders have evolved, so must the ways we represent ourselves to our constituents and partners.
How is a City Code different than Charter?
City Charter is the constitution of a City government. City Codes are the governing laws written in the City Charter. Charter can only be changed by the vote of the people and City Code is changed by ordinance passed by the City Council.
Identifying our partners
- Committee Facilitator: Robin Teater Executive Director of Healthy Democracy. Robin will facilitate Committee 3.96 meetings.
- Community engagement and feedback: Joy Alise Davis, M.A. founder of Design+Culture Lab.
How can you participate in revising City Code Chapter 3.96?
We recognize that there are multiple ways of engaging with the community — from community surveys to conversations in multiple languages in multicultural settings. We offer these options to provide a platform for Portlanders to author their own experiences in ways that suit their engagement needs.
Additional ways to engage will be announced as they are available.
Proposed Code Change language - updated 08.30.2019
Draft Administrative Rule 3.96
Code Change language, recommended by Committee 3.96 July 18, 2019
Design + Culture Lab Final Report
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding City Code Chapter 3.96 Change
Art from Portlanders on civic engagement.
This article has information about the community conversations.
This page offers information about Committee 3.96 meetings
This page has information to sign up to receive Civic Life updates.
Read City Code Chapter 3.96 in multiple languages
This resolution authorizes the bureau to convene a code change committee, comprised of members that have a wide range of perspectives, who will report back to Council with recommendations for updating Chapter 3.96.
Presenters testifying to Portland City Council on July 18, 2018 in support of convening a Code Change Committee