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Publication of racist, transphobic and anti-immigrant comments sparks public outrage

FILE PHOTO - Multnomah County Commissioners Sharon Meiran, Susheela Jayapal, Chair Deborah Kafour, Jessica Vega Pederson and Lori Stegemann pose for a photo during a swearing in ceremony at the Multnomah County public service building. All five Multnomah County Commissioners are now calling for the resignation of Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull following publication of his social media comments representing Islamophobic, anti-immigrant and transphobic views.

Shull was elected in a close race in November over incumbent Ken Humberston and took office on Jan. 4.

In a statement released Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners stated that they are appalled to learn of Shull's social media posts that "spread hatred, bigotry and lies about immigrants, Muslims, communities of color and other historically marginalized groups, as well as inflammatory disinformation during the September wildfires.

"This is conduct that betrays the trust of his constituents and undermines any claim that Commissioner Shull can make about serving his community fairly or effectively," the statement reads. "We call on him to resign without delay."

The move follows publication of stories in several local media outlets bringing light to a blog created by Jennings Lodge resident Cris Waller who independently catalogued nearly two dozen instances of heinous comments made by Shull on Facebook. FILE PHOTO - Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull has found himself in hot water after just over a week in office.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Commissioners Susheela Jayapal, Lori Stegemann, Sharon Meieran and Jessica Vega Pederson pointed out in their statement that the Portland metro area is in the midst of taking on urgent challenges in the realm of social justice and equity, which don't adhere to county lines.

"Local leaders must have confidence that those who we are serving alongside in neighboring jurisdictions have the best interests of all our residents in mind. Commissioner Shull's posts make it clear that he does not," the statement reads. "It is healthy and often necessary to disagree on policy, but the humanity and value of the people we call our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are never up for debate. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners cannot in good faith work with a commissioner who has so openly demonstrated views and values that run counter to those of safety, equality and inclusion for all residents."

Commissioner Jayapal — whose sister, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), was on the house floor last week when white nationalists attacked the United State Capitol — released her own statement as well Tuesday morning in which she pointed out that some of Shull's comments go beyond traditional bigotry in calling for violence.

"This is not an issue of a questionable statement here or there. This is a history of expressing views that are abhorrent and antithetical to the values of this country and our state, and are dangerous," Commissioner Jayapal said. "The events of last week make this crystal clear."

Multnomah County's elected leaders aren't the only ones calling for Shull to resign following publication of his comments. Around noon on Tuesday, newly sworn-in state Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham, joined the chorus. "There is no room for racist and anti-immigrant statements specially coming from an elected official," Ruiz posted on Twitter.

The local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR Oregon) has also called for Shull to step down in a statement released Monday, Jan. 11.


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