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Hillsboro 34-145

I got my ballot in the mail today and was surprised to see more than just Oregon measures 49 and 50 on the ballot. The city of Hillsboro has one of its own, 34-145, which would replace the city's charter. The explanatory statement in the voter's pamphlet was unhelpful and I don't know how to find the text of the current or proposed charters. The only useful information I was able to find with a brief search come from an Argus editorial (emphasis added):

Unlike every other city in Oregon, Hillsboro's current charter follows a limited powers model. It lists every responsibility of city government, including providing for "measuring wood and weighing hay and other commodities bought and sold." That's the problem with charters. Like the Constitution, they are not easy to change so antique clauses remain though no longer needed. Former City Attorney Tim Sercombe made initiation of a Charter Review Commission one of his final goals before moving on to become a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals. He recommended reworking Hillsboro's charter to follow a general powers format based on the model charters for the League of Oregon Cities.

That's all I need to know. This is a power grab under the guise of harmless simplification. I dare say that the removal of quaint "antique clauses" can be achieved without fundamentally changing the nature of city government.

Useful rule of thumb: Whenever someone asks you to vote to increase the power of government, say "no".


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Tiny Island