Proctor v. City of Portland, 245 OrApp 378 (2011)

Holding:   The 2008 changes to Portland’s business tax, which had lain dormant since the 1987 legislation outlawing the assessment (then, labeled a fee) were insufficient to remove the tax from the sweep of the state statute.

1)  The meaning of business license tax as used in the relevant statute is “inextricably intertwined” with the use of that term in other statutes which originated in the same 1978 bill. at p. 383.

2)   Discussions between legislative committee members and the city’s representatives, as well as those representative’s testimony, helps illuminate legislative intent. at pp 386-90.

3)   Despite the cosmetic changes in the city’s code – such as changing the nomenclature of the assessment from “fee” to “tax” – “the city is subjecting plaintiffs to precisely the same harm that the 1987 legislature intended to prevent.” at p. 392.

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