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The county's charter review committee recently finalized seven proposed changes to the foundational document.

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY - Members of the Multnomah County Charter Review Committee, left to right, Theresa Mai, Samantha Gladu, Annie Kallen and Marc Gonzales presenting a report on proposed charter amendments to the board of commissioners on Tuesday, Aug. 2.A slate of potential changes to Multnomah County's charter is set.

At its final meeting July 20, the county's 15-person charter review committee finalized five proposed amendments to the charter — functionally a local constitution. Two others were finalized at previous meetings.

The amendments, which must receive voter approval to be implemented, deal with the county's voting method, oversight of county jails, the county auditor's watchdog capabilities and the charter review process.

The committee met 15 times since its first meeting last September and held 30 additional public meetings in subcommittees. The county convenes a charter review committee once every six years.

Committee members presented a report on their proposals at a Multnomah County board briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

"You really are making the County better and holding us accountable and thinking about things we haven't thought about before," said county chair Deborah Kafoury.

The board will be able to adopt a resolution Thursday, Aug. 11, referring ballot initiatives for the proposed amendments to the voters and certifying ballot titles and explanatory statements to be filed with the county elections director.

People have seven business days after the elections division receives the ballot titles to file challenges in court. Challenges must be resolved by Sept. 8 for initiatives to qualify for the Nov. 8 election.

Barring any changes resulting from challenges, Multnomah County voters will be asked to decide whether to:

Make charter language gender neutral

Extend voting rights to more groups such as noncitizens

Adopt ranked-choice voting

Require commissioners to increase how often they inspect county jails

Create a county ombudsman office

Require the county to provide information and records to the auditor in a timely manner

Extend the charter review timeline and change how charter review committee members are appointed

Portland also recently conducted a charter review process, including its own proposal to adopt ranked-choice voting. Voters in both Portland and Multnomah County will see charter-related ballot measures for the two jurisdictions.

Max Egener
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