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Clackamas County updates changes to public comments; now registration can happen five minutes after start of sessions.

FILE PHOTO  - Clackamas CountyClackamas County began requiring registration for constituents seeking to provide public comment at Board of County Commissioners meetings, but those registrations can still take place when the meetings have been under way for five minutes.

County officials had previously said that commenters would have to register at least two hours in advance of meetings.

"My apologies, but it appears this was simply an internal miscommunication, and I was not aware that the process was still evolving," said county spokesman Dylan Blaylock. "Essentially, it's been determined that five minutes past the meeting start (for a deadline) is not overly challenging to do."

The move starting March 4 came 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.

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 by five minutes after the meeting is scheduled to start — that would be 10:05 a.m. for most meetings which start at 10 a.m. and 6:05 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.

People who register to comment get 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 them when the meeting is about to start.


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