On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, City of Portland Ombudsman Margie Sollinger will take a proposal to City Council to reduce and eliminate current barriers community members face to appealing City government administrative decisions that affect them. (See below for some background information.) (Also attached is a two-page “primer” on the issue and proposal.)
Contact the Portland City Council members and let them know what you think about this proposal. (See below for their contact information.)
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SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION
City of Portland Ombudsman Margie Sollinger has discovered that the City of Portland has close to 200 administrative appeal processes by which members of the public can question or challenge City government decisions that materially affect them (such as permit denials, property exclusions, utility bills, lien assessments, vehicle tows, etc.)
Ombudsman Sollinger also discovered that, despite the formal availability of these appeal processes, many community members in Portland effectively do not have a right to appeal because:
- Lack of notice of appeal rights. No standard requirement exists that the City notify affected community members when they have a right to appeal a particular decision or to provide sufficient information to help community members know how to appeal a decision.
- Appeal fees are prohibitively expensive. No standard requirement exists that appeal fees be set at a reasonable amount. The filing fee for some appeals is over $1,300.
Ombudsman Sollinger is proposing that the City establish some standard requirements and protections for community members. These include:
- Requiring the City to notify people when they have a right to appeal and that notice must be timely and adequate.
- Instituting a nominal filing fee for administrative appeals to the Code Hearings Office, and offering a waiver of the filing fee for community members who cannot afford the nominal filing fee.
The City Council hearing on Ombudsman Sollinger’s proposal currently is scheduled for:
- DATE: Wed. April 22, 2015
- TIME: 3 p.m. (“time certain”)
- PLACE: Portland City Hall, Council Chambers, 1221 SW 4th Ave. in downtown Portland
Consider coming to the hearing to let the City Council know what you think about this proposal and/or share your thoughts with them by email, phone, or letter.
You can contact the members of Portland’s City Council at: