A New District, A New Board

Operating under century old management and funding structures have been putting us at risk in the managed floodplain. Now, thanks to the Oregon State Legislature, we have a chance to form a new special district that will be able to modernize the way the local levee system is managed and to make a more robust set of financial tools available to support the system going forward. This new district will have two different board configurations at different times. First, an initial 17-member board will be responsible for organizing the district and setting up a sustainable revenue structure. Once the revenue structure is in place, the initial board can call for the dissolution of the four existing drainage districts. At that point, the initial board will transition to a permanent structure of 9 board members who are responsible for the ongoing oversight of the district. Read more about the legislation here

Setting Up The Initial Board

The legislation has been developed, approved by the legislature, and signed by the Governor. Now, the initial 17-member board needs to be appointed. This board will include:

  • one representative of the City of Portland, Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale, and Wood Village, appointed by their respective City Councils
  • one representative of Metro, Multnomah County, and the Port of Portland, appointed by their governing bodies
  • one representative from each of the four drainage districts that currently manage the flood safety infrastructure, as appointed by their Boards of Supervisors
  • one resident of the managed floodplain, appointed by the Governor
  • one nonprofit from within the managed floodplain, appointed by the Governor
  • one business owner or representative of a business from within the managed floodplain, appointed by the Governor
  • one representative of an environmental conservation organization, appointed by the Governor
  • one representative of an environmental justice organization, appointed by the Governor

Getting Appointed to the Board

Everyone is welcome to submit their name for consideration for one of the five positions appointed by the Governor.  To indicate your interest:

  1. complete the interest form on the Governor’s Executive Appointments webpage
  2. gather supplemental materials like your resume, a statement of interest, and/or any endorsements* you would like to submit
  3. email your materials to executive.appointments@oregon.gov or mail them to: Office of the Governor, Executive Appointments | 900 Court Street NE, Room 160| Salem, OR 97301-4075

Please submit your interest form and materials by end the February. The goal is to have the initial board appointed by April 2020.

The appointment process for each of the governmental bodies listed above is different. If you are interested in pursuing an appointment to one of those positions, we encourage you to reach out to leadership within those agencies.

*If you are seeking an appointment as a representative of a business, non-profit, or neighborhood, we strongly recommend including a letter of nomination or endorsement with the materials you submit to the Governor’s office.

Questions

For questions specific to the Governor’s appointment process, please contact executive.appointments@oregon.gov or 503-378-6829

For questions about this new special district, their roles and responsibilities, time commitments, etc. please refer to the informational materials provided or contact us at leveeready@gmail.com.

Roles, Responsibilities & More

From the authorizing legislation, “the purpose of the initial district board is to organize the district and to develop, and approve or seek approval from the electors of, methods of funding the operations of the district.” It is currently projected that this process will take about five years. Once the initial board has put a revenue structure in place, they will be able to call for the dissolution of the four existing drainage districts that manage the local levee system. At that point, the board will transition to a permanent configuration of 9-members (5-elected and 4-appointed) serving four-year terms.

Draft Board Member Responsibilities
It will be up to the initial board to set and drive their own agenda. Based on the language in the legislation, and a sense of the work that needs to be done, we anticipate the board members will be responsible for:

  • Attending monthly board meetings.
  • Establishing and advancing the mission, vision, and values of the agency.
  • Naming and branding the district.
  • Understanding the cultural and racial history of the region* and prioritizing, supporting, and investing in processes that engage historically marginalized and underrepresented communities in decision-making.
  • Creating an organizational culture that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Determining the agency’s levels of service and programmatic functions, including:
    • Developing an understanding of relevant federal regulations and what must be done to comply and maintain eligibility for federal assistance through the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency*;
    • Reviewing the current drainage district operations, programs, and policies* and determining what should carry over to the new district and any added improvements;
    • Defining how the district will:
      • work with other governments and non-profit organizations to contribute to improved water quality, fish, and wildlife habitat, floodplain restoration, and landscape resilience;
      • prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change;
      • incorporate equity and social justice into all aspects of its operations;
      • provide the public with information regarding the cultural history of the managed floodplain; and
      • engage community members in the district’s programs, events, and other relevant forums that promote awareness of flood risk and encourage participation in the agency’s operations and decision-making processes.
    • Running a transparent process to identify and establish sustainable revenue structures to fund the operational and capital needs of the district, including potentially:
      • Establishing a fee rate structure to fund operations of the district based on services or benefits received;
      • Prioritizing and securing funding for immediate capital needs; and
      • Ensuring the district has a modern capital improvement plan in place to inform short- and long-term capital needs.
    • Establishing the policies and ordinances that are needed to support operations of the district.
    • Complying with public records, public meetings, and all other relevant requirements for elected officials of a state special district*.
    • Monitoring and managing financial resources, including reviewing annual financial statements and budgets, setting limits and guidelines, and approving major expenditures.
    • Hiring the Executive Director.
    • Serving on committees and taking on special assignments as needed.

 * orientation and educational information will be provided for board members

Additional Information

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