Last year, the city of Portland's ombudsman, Margie Sollinger, ruled that volunteers guiding development decisions by the Portland City Council ought to declare potential conflicts of interest, because they are considered public officials under Oregon ethics law.
Months later, several members of the volunteer committee that sparked the ombudsman's ruling, including downtown developer Greg Goodman, are ignoring it.
Sollinger's finding followed a complaint that centered on the activities of the West Quadrant Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee, a group of several dozen volunteers helping the city to establish bigger building heights downtown. Many members of the volunteer committee, including Goodman, stood to gain personally from the changes to building heights. But none of them formally declared conflicts of interest before voting on proposals brought to the committee.
Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability retroactively sought disclosures from committee members, and those were due in April. The City Council makes the final decisions about any zoning changes downtown, including changes to allowable building heights.
As of May, five members of the 33-member committee have not submitted the forms, according to city planners. Goodman, who declined to comment, is the most prominent among them.
The Northwest Examiner was the first to report the inaction. According to the neighborhood newspaper, the individual volunteers could be held personally responsible for not following Oregon ethics law.