Sept. 2023

exclusive interview

A Discussion with Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull

Bill Wehr: You took office in January 2021. Over the course of the two and one half years you have been in office. What is an important major issue you have seen accomplished by the Board of Clackamas County Commissioner.

Mark Shull: Due to the grants that have been coming into the county from the federal government, Clackamas County has made significant advancement in investment in affordable housing development, transitional housing, emergency shelter, eviction prevention, rental assistance and the related supportive services.

In 2022, Clackamas County departments provided some type of housing relief to over 6,500 people throughout this homeless prevention and housing programs.

The result of these programs translates to fewer people homeless on the street. My concern is how long will the federal dollars be available for the County to continue to support these expensive programs. Without those federal dollars, the County will be unable to find the funds to continue this housing support.

In January 2023, the county conducted a scientific survey aimed at gauging resident opinion on the most important issues facing the county.

The result shows that homelessness poverty was the number one concern, even over crime, traffic and lack of affordable housing.

Bill Wehr: You said at the 2023-2024 budget, it was necessary to defuned the Clackamas County Department of Equity Inclusion and Diversity (EID). You made a motion to do this, and it was rejected 9-1. Since then you have stated several times on Commission your objection to EID. Can EID continue with revisions or must it be defunded? Mark Shull: On May 24th, at the budget deliberations meeting to discuss the proposed FY23-24 County budget, I made the motion to not fund the $827,000 proposed for the Equity Inclusion and Diversity office for two reasons:

First, cost the $827,000 could be better used elsewhere.

Second, resentment of EID ideology and the growing potential for litigation against the County.

Since becoming a Commissioner in January 2021, I have been approached by County employees, who have asked to be anonymous for fear of retribution, who have said that they feel marginalized by the County administration because they do not agree with EID and the atmosphere they describe as “wokism”. If they did not accept this ideology, some workers have suggested they feel like they were marginalized or passed over for consideration for promotion. This created a concern for the potential litigation that was looming.

I am convinced that without an EID department and its frictional ideology, replaced by a refocus on equality for all, the County will be better able to ensure all residents of the County are included, encouraged and assisted, as needed.

No references to immutable traits needed.

EID/Wokism must not continue. Equality must continue.

Bill Wehr: On more than one occasion, the Public Comments portion of Business Meeting have been cut short. Testifiers expecting to get 3 minutes allotted time would be informed at the last moment, there would be 1 minute allowed. The reasons given are too many testifiers or an unruly crowd, Is there a way to balance the right to address the County by the individual and format by the County to do that?

Mark Shull: 3 minutes provides the necessary time needed for someone to take a statement that covers the important points of an opinion. When the time limit is reduced to two minutes or even one minute (which essentially ensures zero effectiveness of the common way period), It is not possible for a citizen to communicate his or her point effectively.

Bill Wehr has been a resident of Clackamas County. He was an elected Concilor and Council President of the former City of Damascus. He holds B.A and MBA degrees.

The full interview available at the HOODVIEW NEWS

Sept.2023 issue