Why Won’t Any Portland City Commissioners Rally Behind a Change in Government?

This week’s episode of the Dive podcast looks at an odd reversal in City Hall.

What if you gave me a job and I told you the job was impossible to execute without some type of structural changes?

Let’s say you addressed those flaws. What if you found me to be superfluous altogether? Would you believe me when I said your changes were bullshit? What if I gaslit you into believing I’d been nailing my job the whole time and you just weren’t paying attention? Would that be sour grapes or straight delusion?

According to today’s guest on the Dive podcast, WW’s Sophie Peel, that’s pretty much what’s happening right now at City Hall, and it’s on us, the voters, to work it out, or be gaslit into infinity.

In this week’s cover story, Peel breaks down the work of Portland’s Charter Commision, whose ballot measure could overhaul not just how Portland is governed, but also how we vote. Currently, we elect five members of a council, including the mayor, and each of them oversee a heavy portfolio of bureaus and offices that each require significant attention in order to work together in concert. If each of these council members were a first chair in a symphony orchestra, with an assemblage of musicians behind them to lead, then who would be leading all these first chairs? Who is their concertmaster? Who is the conductor?

And that’s just the starting point for a conversation about power and responsibility among city officials who hate being blamed.

Listen on Spotify.