Electronic Town Hall Meetings – The County Scene – Susan Morgan

Electronic Town Hall Meetings

I want to thank County Commissioner Chris Boice for taking your county government a step closer to our citizens.

On Saturday evening, Chris and I met at the courthouse and logged on to a Facebook forum about the landfill. From 5 pm until just after 6:30, we answered questions and read comments from 63 citizens here in Douglas County who were interested in learning more about the county’s financial problems and the landfill system.

Using this electronic forum had never been done by the County Commissioners, and the inaugural session was quite successful. It opens a new avenue of communication enabled a conversation with folks who routinely use Facebook to communicate with each other.

We will continue to use this pathway to communicate.

The Facebook group is called Inform Me Douglas County, OR. The administrators of the group allow individuals to join and then monitor discussions to ensure that the dialogue is respectful and on topic. The discussion last night was fast paced and lively. Chris and I coordinated to make sure that questions asked were getting answered. Both of us were typing in overdrive for the duration of the forum.

As always, there are opportunities for improvement. Because of the fast pace, and not wanting to keep participants waiting, answers that required more than a few lines of typing were difficult to take the time to do. In future on-line forums, I would want to make sure that we had prepared information to share about the history of safety net funding, the importance of property taxes to the county, just how much property tax we received and what services it pays for.

Questions about illegal dumping were important to this forum, just as with the face to face meetings and Town Halls that we have been doing. Everyone is frustrated with this problem and we are hearing many people express willingness to work with each other and county government to bring illegal dumpers to justice, and to change the culture of ignoring those who do the dumping. There are many success stories of citizens voluntarily cleaning up the woods and their neighborhoods. My heartfelt thanks go out to each of these great people!

This week we have 3 Town Hall Meetings scheduled: Canyonville at 6 pm on 5/4 at the City Hall; Roseburg at 5:30 pm at the City Hall; and Sutherlin at 5:30 on 5/7 at the community center. I will be working ocean policy issues on the coast and will miss the Sutherlin meeting, but Tim and Chris will be there.

I always welcome your questions and comments. Please contact me by email at morgan@co.douglas.or.us; by mail at Douglas County Courthouse, Room 217, 1036 SE Douglas, Roseburg, 97470; or by phone at 440-4201.

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