Time for Some Civil Disobedience

Update: 13 June – The issue is covered in today’s Oregonian: “Talk to Metro, but skip the fee”, including a URL for this blog.

Speaking of the Regional Transportation Plan Update and Metro’s New Look, Metro has scheduled a Regional Forum on Friday, June 23rd to help gather ideas for the simultaneous updates of our regional land use and transportation plans:

This forum will offer an opportunity for you to join other leaders and innovators from throughout the region to take a new look at the critical regional decisions that will shape the livelihoods and lifestyle choices of today’s residents and future generations.

Sounds like a great opportunity for citizen participation, doesn’t it? Except that Metro wants you to pay $30 for the privilege! I’m reasonably confident this violates Oregon’s Open Meeting Law, since this is part of a process that ultimately leads to legislative decisions by JPACT, MPAC and the Metro Council. And even if a sharp lawyer can find a way to say it’s not a violation of the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit of the law.

As a citizen rep on MPAC, I’ve been bugging everyone I know at Metro to fix this (and have been joined by other citizens who follow Metro closely). The best we’ve been able to extract is that Metro will provide ‘scholarships’ for folks who can’t or don’t want to pay.

So I propose that we protest. The best way I can think to protest is to participate in droves. To request a scholarship, the process is to e-mail NorrisC@metro.dst.or.us.

Here’s the e-mail I sent:

I would like to register for the regional forum.
I am philosophically opposed to paying a fee for a citizen involvement event.

Thank you.

Chris Smith

While you’re at it, you might want to put the Metro Council members on the ‘cc’ line, as I did:


Let’s overwhelm them with protest-by-participation!

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