Clackamas County to require registration to speak at meetings
Clackamas County will begin requiring constituents seeking to provide public comment at Board of County Commissioners meetings to register at least two hours prior to the start of the meeting. The changes take effect next Thursday, March 4.
The move comes at the direction of County Chair Tootie Smith. Commissioners agreed to a registration process intended to provide more transparency and accountability for those joining virtually via the Zoom application. These changes follow weeks of calls for Commissioner Mark Shull to resign — as well testimony in support of Shull — which have taken up a significant portion of the public-comment period each week.
The county has yet to enforce any restrictions on the content of testimony or censor commenters.
According to Dylan Blaylock, the county's community relations specialist, anyone looking to testify before elected officials can register at any time before the board's weekly business meeting each Thursday as long as they register two hours before it starts — that would be 8 a.m. for most meetings which start at 10 a.m., and 4 p.m. for meetings every third Thursday of the month, which begin at 6 p.m. The "webinar registration" form offered through Zoom requires attendees to provide their first and last name, email address and then check a box if they intend to give public comment. Another box asks for the topic that commenters plan to speak about. Additional boxes request information such as address, city, zip code and phone number, but are not required to complete the form.
While the extra step might seem onerous, the technology also sends an automated email with links to access the meeting, as well as links for most commonly used operating systems and mobile devices to download a calendar event that will notify you when the meeting is about to start.
The county formally announced the changes during the board's meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23 and plans to get the word out to constituents on social media in the coming week.
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