Clackamas County has postponed a swearing-in ceremony for county commissioners. That ceremony had been planned for Wednesday, Jan. 13, but is being rescheduled, the county said, because of "recent threats of violence."
County officials said it will provide a new date for the ceremony "once they are determined." Additionally, the government said policy and business meetings would return to the streaming platform Zoom for the "foreseeable future."
While the brief announcement posted online doesn't mention newly-elected Commissioner Mark Shull — the politician has become the isolated center of a firestorm of controversy after Pamplin Media Group first reported on his Facebook posts, which widely deemed to be racist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant and transphobic.
Among other things, Shull wrote: "The most menacing threat to U.S. national security is the incursion of Islam into our society.... It is time for a new D-Day, one that is appropriate for the threat."
Condemnation of his comments has been widespread. Before winning his first election, Shull was a retired developer who spent 25 years in uniform for the U.S. Military.
Nafisa Fai, the first-ever Muslim-American official to be elected to the neighboring Washington County during the November ballot, said she believes Shull is racist, homophobic and Islamophobic.
"Mark Shull needs to resign. Period. End of sentences," she said.
Christine Lewis — who represents parts of Clackamas County including Lake Oswego, West Linn and Happy Valley on the Metro Council — echoed those calls for Shull to leave office immediately.
"I am proud to use my voice as an elected official to stand against hate," she said.
A letter calling for Shull's resignation, calling his comments "hateful, inflammatory rhetoric," was signed by Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, West Linn Mayor Jules Walter, Lake Oswego Mayor Joe Buck and Councilors Massene Mboup, Jackie Manz, Rachel Verdick, Daniel Nguyen and Aaron Rapf, Happy Valley Mayor Tom Ellis and Councilors Brett Sherman and David Emami, Metro Council President Lynn Peterson and Councilor Shirley Craddick, Gladstone Councilors Annnessa Hartman, Matt Tracy and Tracy Todd, Milwaukie Councilors Angel Falconer, Lisa Batey, Kathy Hyzy, Desi Nicodemus, Mary Baumgardner and Rory Bialostosky, and Canby Councilors Sarah Spoon and Greg Parker.
"We cannot work with a County Commissioner who has clearly demonstrated a belief... that puts our residents and communities at risk," the letter said. "We have lost any trust in his ability to serve our shared constituents.
Clackamas Leaders condem County Commissioner Mark Shull and call on him to resign immediately. I am proud to use my voice as an elected official to stand against hate. pic.twitter.com/14PIMz2Z03— Christine E. Lewis (@C_E_Lewis) January 13, 2021
All five members of the Portland City Council also slammed Shull's comments.
"This is not a matter of disagreeing over opinions," their statement said. "As elected public servants, we must represent all our constituents without discriminationCommissioner Shull's comments also extend to misinformation about 2020's wildfires — comments that were not only inappropriate but fostered unwarranted fears that put families and fire fighters in danger. We saw this misinformation manifest in multiple reports of unlawful checkpoints and aggressive confrontations from right wing conspiracy theorists. "
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