Recall Mark Shull campaign recaps first-year progress
Clackamas County residents campaigning for the recall of Commissioner Mark Shull have released an update on their progress one year after several of the commissioner's online posts received public backlash for allegedly promoting racist, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and transphobic sentiments.
The campaign, spurred in January 2021 after a county resident's blog highlighted roughly 20 posts Shull made to his personal Facebook page over a two-year span, reports having thus far assembled a volunteer corps of over 300 members, raising upwards of $40,000 and securing pledges from more than 1,500 Clackamas County voters to sign the recall petition.
Dozens of Shull's posts and public comments are compiled alongside videos and photos on the campaign's website, documenting past statements the commissioner has made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, Islam, immigration, the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ+ community and more.
In June 2021, Shull proposed a resolution that compared the required showing of a COVID-19 vaccine card to segregationist Jim Crow laws, receiving a wave of backlash from fellow commissioners and community members.
The commissioner was criticized later in September 2021 after reposting a Facebook meme appearing to equate COVID-19 health and safety mandates to the subjugation faced by members of the Jewish faith during the Holocaust.
Shull defended both actions during ensuing board discussions, claiming in both cases that his intentions were not bigoted.
"My fellow commissioners had a preconceived notion that my intent was to cause harm," Shull said during a September 2021 board session regarding the Holocaust meme, contesting that "nothing is further from the truth."
Shull's fellow commissioners maintained their criticisms of both actions, concurring that, his intent notwithstanding, both comparisons were logically flawed and may perpetuate harmful rhetoric.
In June 2021 following Shull's resolution draft, the rest of the board agreed that he didn't represent the commission and voted to indefinitely remove him from all outside duties where the board's influence was involved.
Six months later in December 2021, the board voted 3-1 to appoint Shull to a position on the Board of Directors of the Association of Oregon Counties, where he will join fellow commissioners Martha Schrader and Sonya Fischer in representing Clackamas County on a statewide level.
Fischer, the lone dissenting vote, held the position she took back in March 2021 against Shull being appointed as liaison to any community boards or committees until she feels he has demonstrated growth.
Cris Waller, a leader of the recall campaign, criticized the board's 3-1 decision, stating: "Nothing in the past year has indicated Mark Shull is able to be a responsible voice for our county. The suggestion that he should take on these duties underscores the need for residents to take action to remove him from office."
Waller launched the campaign in 2021 after creating the blog "Documenting Mark Shull's Racism," which compiled quotes and screenshots of posts the commissioner made from 2019 to 2020 representing views that Islam and Muslim people are a threat to America, and, on occasion, seemingly calling for violence.
Reached for comment on the recall campaign, Shull told Pamplin Media Group in January that he feels Waller is politically motivated in her criticisms.
Local leaders who have publicly endorsed the recall campaign include state Reps. Courtney Neron and Mark Meek, former state representative Brent Barton, Lake Oswego Mayor Joe Buck and the Clackamas County Commission's former chair Jim Bernard.
Calls for Shull's removal from office have also come directly from Fischer, Clackamas County's Leaders for Equity Diversity and Inclusion Council, and local high school students.
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