City of Portland (Oregon) Reviews

Updated March 18, 2015
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3.6
22 Reviews
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  1. Great City, Great Employer Overall

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at City of Portland (Oregon) full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Depending on what bureau or City office you land in, the vast majority of people love their jobs and are supportive and patient while the "newbie" learns the (often tangled!) ropes. There are also frequent opportunities for training and advancement which are announced on a regular basis.

    Cons

    It can be frustrating trying to work with and understand the processes that just don't make sense. You often get the answer "That's the way we've always done it." when you question these cumbersome and inefficient procedures. Get used to it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ask your employees for suggestions and encourage honest feedback (anonymous is fine). Furthermore, ADDRESS THE THINGS THAT AREN'T WORKING OR MAKE NO SENSE. Or at least delegate SOMEBODY to do it!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful

    Job security but extremely hostile environment. I have worked in both the Water and Transportation Bureaus for 10 years.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at City of Portland (Oregon) full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Pays very well, great benefits (medical and retirement), and it's virtually impossible to get fired for anything.

    Cons

    Poor management, each manager and supervisor is free to lead how they choose with no regard for what actually promotes a positive working environment, or fostering good working relationships or employee growth.
    Good employees are passed up for promotions in favor of union cronies who have just worked there longer regardless of skills or abilities to do the actual work or manage others.
    Employees are promoted to their level of incompetency and then stagnate in their current positions until retirement.
    Bigotry of all sorts is not only tolerated but is exhibited by top level management and supervisors.
    The city espouses ideals of equity, diversity, and sustainability, but there is little follow through besides the lip service donated to these causes.
    Virtually impossible to fire freeloaders, poor performing employees, bigots, violent or hateful people for anything, including on the job drug and alcohol abuse, violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, sleeping on the job, gross incompetence, the list goes on and on. Basically if you work in the field you will be subjected to these things on a daily basis by many of your co-workers.
    Being efficient and getting a lot of work done is seen by fellow (union) co-workers as a threat and then you become a target for false accusations and investigations by HR.
    Having passion and a drive to improve things for the better is a viewed as a negative quality by most co-workers and supervisors because they are stuck in their ways and can't accept change. This is the main reason why it takes so long to get anything done in the government sector.
    Technology is viewed as a threat by most union employees. Instead of utilizing new technologies, tech is bought and never used.
    Employees who have a large depth of knowledge of current technologies and who continually ask and strive for improvements are marginalized and left to stagnate in dead end jobs with no hope of advancement or transfer opportunities.
    Nobody wants to take responsibility for decisions because they don't want to be responsible for failures or mistakes.
    Workgroups have cliques like high school and many employees behave like spoiled teenagers and throw tantrums when they don't get their way. I can not stress enough how demoralizing working for the City of Portland is.
    There is a large amount of burnout for new employees because they come in expecting to be able to improve things and repeatedly get shut down over and over again. Many people only stay because it pays well and has good benefits.
    There is a large incidence of stress related depression among city workers that management refuses to acknowledge, even when their own morale surveys show it and the Employee Assistance Plan for mental health is overbooked.
    There is a sense of superiority from the people who work downtown vs those who work in various other places around the city. I have worked both downtown and in satellite facilities and have experienced both sides of the issue as an employee and as part of the diversity and equity committees that I worked on.
    Frankly this list could go on and on for days. I've written several papers that are many pages long for morale, diversity, equity, sustainability committees and virtually none of the suggestions ever get implemented. Mainly because management and fellow employees are too scared of change.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat employees like humans instead of numbers. Hire management based on their abilities to lead people instead of seniority. Restructure HR and Union hierarchies to be able to deal with employees that need to be fired. Train employees properly, encourage employee creativity and growth. Stop making false promises to employees about things that are going to change for the better in the workplace. When you make promises to change and then do nothing it is only disheartening and only further demoralizes the workforce.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3. great co-workers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Community Outreach and Information Representative in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Community Outreach and Information Representative in Portland, OR

    I have been working at City of Portland (Oregon)

    Pros

    training, benefits, flexiblility of schedule

    Cons

    rare opportunities for advancement
    work environment could be better
    salary does not match corporate world

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful

    Mixed bag for contract workers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Analyst in Portland, OR
    Current Contractor - Analyst in Portland, OR

    I have been working at City of Portland (Oregon) as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Some staff and supervisors are great at their jobs and are genuinely sweet people. Outside of the bureaucratic structures that lock in a lot of behavioral constraints the City is full of folks who are well-meaning and personable. Generally this is a pleasant place to work.

    Cons

    The majority of City employees are unionized, but in the tight economy some bureaus have been hemorrhaging staff in order to balance their budgets. This leaves a lot of ongoing program and urgent programs unstaffed. To patch this, the City is bringing in contract workers - un-unionized and un-benefited. This creates a weird two-tiered class system within the staff. It's pretty uncomfortable to work here in a contract capacity, doing the same skilled tasks that were previously done by a unionized employee, and working with (and sometimes covering for) people who do have those benefits, while not having access to any of the resources or benefits that come with the job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6. Steady work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at City of Portland (Oregon) full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Got to really screw up to get fired.

    Cons

    Low salaries for senior technical people, you top out soon. Benefits are now 'average' compared to industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Force HR to review to top scales or you will keep loosing the real contributors.

    Recommends
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Overall a good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at City of Portland (Oregon) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, good pay and decent work conditions. Lots of emphasis on working safely, even if it takes a bit longer. Plenty of paid time off, awesome health insurance and paid holidays.

    Cons

    Seniority rules there, thus employees with more time in have less incentive to pull their own weight. Log time employee's complain a lot about benefits, compensation and co-workers that got promoted. Many long time employee's do not understand that benefits like health insurance are not free or cheap, think that a cost of living adjustment is a given right, so with other words a lot of complainers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not always promoted from within, this fosters a culture of cronyism. Supervisors favor their former coworkers even if they are not the most qualified. It is good to bring in fresh ideas from people that have not always worked in the public sector.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. Consultant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Consultant in Portland, OR
    Former Contractor - Consultant in Portland, OR

    I worked at City of Portland (Oregon) as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great staff to work with. All are genuinely committed to the best possible solution for their individual or group project. Extremely well read group.

    Cons

    Time from concept to final project completion can be drawn out. Sometimes too much input is taken which can also slow down a project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Always have your employees backs and they continue to make you look good.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Great summer job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Seasonal in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Seasonal in Portland, OR

    I worked at City of Portland (Oregon) part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    great benefits, great people, lots of opportunites

    Cons

    I have no negative comments

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. The city that really does work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Government Affairs in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Government Affairs in Portland, OR

    I worked at City of Portland (Oregon) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - ability to work with some of the smartest, most committed thought leaders on a wide range of policy leaders.
    - As far as public sector salaries go, pretty decent.
    - Compared to other public entities, particularly those outside of Oregon, this city government works amazingly well.

    Cons

    - Bureaucracy, its bad. Not as bad as elsewhere, but still bad.
    - Small town thinking from political establishment, no strong vision at the moment.
    - Career advancement is spotty; at times there is mobility, but in some positions, people tend to stay forever.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For the most part, keep doing what your doing and hire the smartest people you can.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful

    Great Company

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at City of Portland (Oregon)

    Pros

    Organized, Great Communication Systems, Great Training

    Cons

    Disconnect between employees and senior management

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