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Commissioner Mark Shull asked to resign posted on 02/01/2021

Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull, who defeated Ken Humberston in the November election and was sworn in earlier in January, was censured by the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on Thursday, Jan. 14 for comments posted on social media that were “derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist,” as noted by the board's resolution. The BCC further called for Shull’s resignation, adding to a growing chorus of people and organizations critical of Shull for his posts.

The BCC resolution, which passed by a 5-0 vote (including Shull voting for it), further noted that Shull “imputed to Clackamas County a reputation of racist, sexist, and religious insensitivity and intolerance,” damaged the county’s reputation and that his “statements and opinions are detrimental to the trust and confidence of the residents of Clackamas County and the Board of Commissioners’ ability to ensure the delivery of services to the County’s residents.”

“Last summer, the Board of County Commissioners passed a Resolution Condemning Violence and Racism against Black/African American and all people of color,” BCC Chair Tootie Smith said in a statement. “This Resolution serves as a call to action for the County to address systemic disparities and ensure that all people can feel safe and thrive in our county. I am in full support of the resolution and of the work of the Equity and Inclusion Office and the value the office brings to our county employees and residents.”

Shull released a lengthy statement on Monday, Jan. 18 requesting forgiveness and understanding from the Muslim community, while noting he “never expected these conversations (on social media) to extend past the people in those discussions.”

“I certainly didn’t imagine that some of these would be presented to countless people, causing real fear, anxiety and pain,” he added.

Shull noted in the release that he received hate mail and death threats, while also outlining a meeting with members of the Muslim community.

“Today we must listen to the voices of wisdom of the past who taught us about love and tolerance,” he said in the press release. “We must listen to the opinions of others with respect even when we do not agree with them.

The Oregon Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also called for Shull’s resignation, noting on its website, “There is time for people like this to redeem and repair themselves, and the communities they affected. But it cannot come with just an apology. These things will take time, as the damage runs deep. These were not merely one-off comments from several years ago. The statements were targeted, rife with bigotry, dog whistles, and doubling down hard.”

A video link to access a recording of the BCC meeting when Shull was censored is available at https://youtu.be/ozmIR_lOnz0.

Shull indicated that he would not resign and under Oregon law, he can only be recalled after serving six months of his term.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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