Know Your Government: What Are Ordinances?  

Oregon’s laws and constitution give Oregon cities significant authority to regulate local matters that are often important to city residents. An ordinance adopted by the City Council is equivalent to an Oregon statute adopted by the state legislature, except that it is only valid within the city’s boundaries.  

Why does the city adopt ordinances?  

The city often passes ordinances that focus on maintaining public safety, health, and general welfare. This includes regulations addressing animal control; nuisances, such as noise and junk removal; parking; building codes; local roads and sidewalk requirements; and land-use regulations.  

Can I be involved in ordinance adoption process?  

The best way for people to engage in the ordinance process is to provide written or public testimony on the ordinance to the City Council. Written testimony can be submitted to the City Recorder’s Office, and public testimony is taken at a council meeting when a public hearing for an ordinance is on the meeting agenda.  

The new city charter that voters approved in May 2020 changed ordinance adoption procedures with the goals of: 1) streamlining the process, and 2) ensuring the public knows when to provide testimony. Section 2.11.028 of the Beaverton Code details the new ordinance adoption procedures. Under the new process, the city makes the ordinance available to the public on its website and at the City Recorder’s Office at least seven days before a public hearing. The new procedures also require the City Council to announce the date of the public hearing at a public meeting. Most of the time the public hearing will occur at least seven days after the City Council publicly announces the public hearing date. Providing written or oral testimony during the public hearing ensures that the public’s voice is heard.