On November 8th, Portland voters set into motion a massive shift in local politics when we voted overwhelmingly to support the charter reform measures. Simply put, our politics will never be the same. And that means the way we do advocacy won’t either.

If you want to be a changemaker in Portland, and be a part the exciting future many charter reform supporters think is now possible, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and learn how to operate in the new system. Because guess what? The powerful people and organizations that have a different version of the future are lining up to take advantage of the new playing field.

It was in this spirit that I called Matt Glazewski and Catie Gould and asked them to sit down for a chat in our new recording space in the BikePortland Shed (my new backyard office). I wanted to know how transportation advocacy might change once Portland has a new form of government.

“Portlanders need to start caring about who our new city manager and new city administrator is going to be, because that person is not elected. And that person potentially could be there for 10 years, and never actually have the will of the voter. So that’s exciting. But it’s also a little scary.”

– Matt Glazewski

“In 2018, city council authorized PBOT to make two new parking permit districts. Zero new parking districts have been created since. There’s been three different Pbot commissioners in that time and the institutional memory is just very short. Ideally, our city administrator is going to have a much longer memory and say, Hey, we’re supposed to do this.”

– Catie Gould

Matt used to work as a policy advisor for Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps and we had an interesting conversation in episode 18 of the podcast. As a former city staffer, I learned a lot by hearing his perspectives on what charter reform will mean to the day-to-day operations of City Hall. And as a former leader with BikeLoud PDX, member of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee, and current researcher and writer for Sightline Institute, I knew Catie would also have some important insights to share.

Here are a few things we touched on:

  • Why everyone needs to know City of Portland Chief Administrative Officer Michael Jordan, who is now in charge of the transition process and will be a key figure going forward.
  • Why the new city manager position will be so important to the success (or failure) of this new form of government.
  • Why depoliticization of city bureaus is such a huge deal and will have dramatic impacts on how transportation advocacy plays out.
  • How will the role of bureau directors change and why does that matter?
  • How will having 7 more city councilors impact Portland’s ability to influence policy of other agencies like TriMet, Metro, and so on?

As you’ll hear in this episode, we had a super informative conversation. I learned a lot and I think you will too. Thanks for listening. If you’d like a transcript, you can view a PDF here.


— Get all the links to subscribe and listen to this and past episodes at BikePortland.org/podcast.





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