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Controversial proposal continues to draw opposition from neighborhood associations which would be dropped from the City Code

CITY OF PORTLAND - Office of Community & Civic Life logoRepresentatives of Northeast Portland neighborhood associations are expressing concerns over the proposed rewrite of the civic engagement process that would eliminate them from the City Code.

In an Aug. 14 letter to the City Council, the board of Central Northeast Neighbors, Inc. said it cannot support the current proposal, while criticizing the public involvement process leading to it as inadequate. The board is comprised of representatives from the associations.

The letter urged the council to wait at least 60 days since receiving the final proposal before voting on it.

"From the beginning this endeavor has been underwhelming, from sudden or missing public notices to the lack of public input to the composition of the 25-member committee charged with rewriting the Code," read the letter, adding, "The current process is a stark departure from previous efforts. For example, in 2005, the last time the Code was revised, the process included 27 public meetings and three public workshops. It also included a three-month public comment period following the release of the committee's final recommendation."

The letter also said the proposal gives too much power to the director of the Office of Community and Civic Life, which is in charge of the rewriting project.

The City Council hearing on the controversial proposed rewrite of the civic engagement process has now been set for Nov. 7 at a location yet to be determined. That could change, however. As The Oregonian reported on Aug. 10, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is not happy with how the Office of Community and Civic Life, which she oversees, has handled the process.

In fact, the office is still finalizing the proposal, which is controversial because — as currently written — it would remove all references to longstanding neighborhood organizations from the section of the city code governing engagement. Supporters say the proposal will expand citizen participation by deleting privileges for neighborhood-based organization, while critics say it will undermine four decades of effective civic engagement.

The president of the coalition office assisting Southwest Portland neighborhood association has also expressed concerns over the proposal.

You can read the letter here.

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