Proposed Revision of Civic Engagement City Code 3.96 

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 Chapter sets out the basis for City recognition of Neighborhood Associations and District Coalition offices. An audit of the bureau highlighted the need to update Bureau practices and City Code to ensure Portlanders have equal access to City decision-making.

  • Current Chapter 3.96 Office of Neighborhood Involvement (2005)
  • Proposed 3.96.1 Code Change Language  (8/30/19)  
  • On November 14, 2019, City Council hosted a special council meeting at Self Enhancement, Inc. focused on Civic Life’s year-long process to update City Code Chapter 3.96. Commissioner Eudaly introduced a new Resolution that will do the following: authorize a three-year extension for Neighborhood District Coalition Office contracts; and convene of a multi-bureau work group to review all cross-referenced responsibilities within City Code Chapter 3.96.  Community interest and engagement was extraordinary but Council was only able to hear from roughly half of those who signed up to deliver public testimony due to time restraints.
    On January 9, 2020, at 2:00pm, City Council heard from the 35 people who signed up to testify but did not have an opportunity to do so at the November 14 meeting. At this hearing, no new information was presented and only those already on the sign-up sheet were allowed to testify.
  • On January 30, 2020, at 3:00 pm (tentative), City Council will hold a work session on the Resolution introduced on November 14, 2019. The record remains open, so Portlanders are also welcome to continue submitting written testimony regarding City Council Item 1053 at: or to Portland City Council, 1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
  • The full resolution can be found at A supporting report can be found at  City Council did not vote on the Resolution on November 14, but is expected to vote on it by the end of December 2019. Written testimony on the Resolution may be submitted at and or to each city council member (see below). Check the  City Council Work Calendar for updates.

    • Contact City Council 

    Consider calling or writing to Portland City Council regarding your thoughts about the proposed Code Change 3.96. 
    Options for Communicating with City Council (pdf)

    Council Member Name Phone Email
    Mayor Wheeler 503 823-4120
    Commissioner Eudaly 503 823-4682
    Commissioner Fish 503 823-3589
    Commissioner Hardesty 503 823-4151
    Commissioner Fritz 503 823-3008


    November 2016, Portland City Auditor submitted to City Council: COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD INVOLVEMENT: Accountability limited, rules and funding model outdated

    "Conclusion (page 19) - Portland has dedicated volunteers in neighborhoods, business districts, Diversity and Civic Leadership organizations, and many other community groups. These volunteers give significant time and effort on projects ranging from advocating for improved City services to responding to land use proposals to hosting movie nights in local parks. Improving accountability and updating the code and funding models would help ensure their work leads to meaningful results and that the City’s funding is well spent."

    July 2018, City Council responded with Resolution 37373

    "NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bureau shall convene a Code Change Committee that will recommend changes to Chapter 3.96 that reflect: a unified set of culturally-responsive practices for engaging a diverse range of community partners; an updated description of the Bureau's responsibilities; and a set of voluntary guidelines that represent best practices for civic engagement. These recommendations shall be presented to Council by July 2019."

    Other related materials:

  • SWNI Summit held July 31, 2019  Meeting Materials

  • Listen to OPB Think Out Loud program (July 18, 2019)
    Big Changes for Portland Neighborhood Associations 

  • Watch on YouTube: City Club of Portland Friday Forum (July 12, 2019)
    The Changing Landscape of Civic Engagement

  • Listen to OPB Think Out Loud program: Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly On Changes To Neighborhood Groups (November 28, 2019)

    More at


  • YouTube Thumbnail

    Portland's Neighborhood System:

    Sherry Arnstein's "Ladder of Citizen Involvement" 

    The ladder is a guide to seeing who has power when important decisions are being made. It has survived for so long because people continue to confront processes that refuse to consider anything beyond the bottom rungs. (From

    Sherry Arnstein's Ladder of Citizen Involvement