The City of Portland was formed as a Private Act Charter Municipality. The City Charter provides for the specific powers, duties and responsibilities of the Mayor and Board of 7 Aldermen (City Council members). Private Act Charter Municipalities make up more than sixty percent of all of Tennessee’s cities.
Although Portland was incorporated in May 1905 and the first mayor elected at that time, Portland’s Private Act Charter was not established until 1939 by action of the Tennessee Legislature, defining the duties of the Mayor and board of seven Aldermen.
City elections are held every four years, on the first Tuesday of November to coincide with the general election. November voting began in 2014.
Portland’s mayor is elected to a four-year term. Three of the seven city council seats are filled in the same city election as that of mayor; each to four-year terms. The remaining four city council seats are up for election to four-year terms in the next election cycle. This election method is referred to as ‘staggered terms’ and was intended to retain experienced people in office at all times.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen meet on Monday evenings twice monthly in the Council Room at Portland City Hall.