Portland & Oregon: Local & Regional Government

Oregon Government Resources

State & Local Land Use Planning

City of Portland

Portland's Unique Commission Structure

The City of Portland has the last remaining Commission form of government among large cities in the United States. The Mayor, four Commissioners and the Auditor comprise the City's six elected officials. The Mayor and the Commissioners together make up the City Council. The commission form of government differs from most other municipal governments in that its members have legislative, administrative and quasi-judicial powers.

Legislative: The City Council  meets weekly in the Council Chambers to conduct the City's legislative business.  The Council adopts the City budget and passes laws, policies and regulations that govern the City.

Administrative: The Mayor and Commissioners also serve as administrators of City departments, individually overseeing bureaus and carrying out policies approved by the Council.  The assignment of departments and bureaus is determined by the Mayor and may be changed at his or her discretion.  Bureau assignments do not necessarily correspond to departmental titles. (For example, the Commissioner of Public Works may not necessarily have any of the public works bureaus in his or her portfolio.)

Quasi-Judicial: Council members also act in a quasi-judicial capacity when hearing land-use and other types of appeals.

Information from: Office of the City Auditor (2015) City Government Structure. Available from: http://www.portlandonline.com/Auditor/index.cfm?a=9178&c=27481