April 07, 2020
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Portland council nixes proposed public comment changes

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Portland City Hall.

The Portland City Council rejected a proposal to move the comment period for items not on its agenda to the end of public meetings after pushback from community members and activists.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the council unanimously voted against the measure that earlier had received unanimous support from the Rules and Reports Committee.

The proposal would have moved the public comment period on non-agenda items — currently held from 5:30 to 6 p.m. — to the end of City Council meetings. That would have reverted to the previous arrangement, which the council changed four years ago, according to the Press Herald. It would allowed comment on non-agenda items only once a month, as well, the newspaper reports.

Additional language would broaden the types of expression that would result in ejection from City Council meetings. Prior language prohibited “scurrilous or abusive” comments and the amendments would add to that any behavior that “causes or incites disruption” or “prevents the council from doing business.”

Mayor Kate Synder said the plan was to make council meetings more predictable, not limiting public input, according to the Press Herald.

 


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