Portland City Council Votes to Make Government More Accountable to Everyday People

The Portland City Council passes a major reform that will lift up the voices of everyday voters in local government


Portland, OR – Today, the Portland City Council passed a major reform that will lift up the voices of everyday voters in local government. Open and Accountable Elections will empower candidates to run for office without taking big campaign contributions, instead fueling their campaigns with small donations from local, everyday voters, matched 6-to-1 with designated public funds. Participating candidates limit total individual contributions to $250 while local voters can have up to the first $50 of their donation matched, making every voice count. The program is voluntary, but includes stronger accountability and transparency requirements for all candidates, whether or not they participate.

“This is a big moment for Portland. The size of your wallet shouldn’t entitle you to greater influence over our political system,” said Charlie Fisher, State Director for OSPIRG, “Today’s vote by the Portland City Council leads the way in taking our government back from wealthy donors and special interests.” 

The ordinance passed today is modeled after similar time-tested programs in New York City, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Arizona and Maine. In those areas, it has shown to incentivize candidates to reach out more broadly to their constituents instead of focusing their time on wealthy individuals and special interests. It also creates new opportunity for viable campaigns led by people who are supported by and accountable to their community, but who have been historically limited from running for office because they lack wealth or connections to wealthy donors.

“We believe this reform will have a positive effect on how representative people running for office and people who ultimately win office are of the city at large. And it will help increase people’s belief that our democracy works for them,” said Fisher.



OSPIRG is an advocate for the public interest. When consumers are cheated, or our natural environment is threatened, or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, OSPIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation. OSPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government