After almost three years in Oregon I attended my first council meeting here in Bend. The approval of a new super Wal-Mart was on the agenda. It is like living Payson all over again as it will be approved though many are speaking out against allowing it.
However, even more interesting was the meeting itself and a few observations I had while there.
First of all, they do not have the paperless system. You are told that you must sign up to speak, but that was not true as several who were allowed to speak had not signed up. In fact, the mayor asked if anyone else wanted to speak on each and every item on the agenda. Each speaker is allowed three minutes and there is a bell that goes off when the time is up. The mayor was firm on this rule and on two occasions he told the speaker he was through. If you have more to say, submit it in written form. They do not have the meeting on the internet though it is on TV for home viewers. In the city of 60,000+, the council person receives $200 a month. They do not allow clapping. I am going to write my first letter to the editor here in Bend on that one.
However, the first thing I noticed as I walked in, and I felt good about this. The council sitsust about the same eye level as the citizens. Not up on a dais above the citizens. I hope when your council decides to expand your council chambers they will do the same.
With fond memories
Hoby Herron, Bend, Ore.