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Stop Portland City Council from Ignoring Neighborhood Associations

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City Code Chapter 3.96 Proposed Changes

Please sign this petition to stop Portland City Council from changing Code 3.96 and eliminating the influence of your neighborhood association.

In the 1970s, City Council created a system of neighborhood associations as the officially recognized channel for community involvement in City decision-making. Council granted neighborhood associations a formal role determining neighborhood needs, advising the City on budget decisions, and representing neighborhoods’ interests in land use and development decisions.

The City bureau is proposing to dispense with all such requirements for transparent governance. The rationale given is that since neighborhood associations are composed of volunteers, they cannot be held to standards of public officials for transparency, accountability, and conflicts of interest – this is simply not true.

Neighborhood associations are by definition geographically inclusive of all their residents, and can more easily be held – as they should be – to that higher standard of open, transparent and democratic governance.

At present, neighborhood associations for the most part do adhere to standards for public meetings and records, open elections, and disclosures of potential conflicts of interest, and in our view these requirements should be formalized, not relaxed.

Our view is that neighborhood associations can and should be valuable (even essential) partners in promoting greater equity and inclusiveness in our city.

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