A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Hot protest gets appellant nowhere

Written April 12th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Shane Lemco before the Albany City Council on Wednesday night.

It doesn’t happen often that the Albany mayor and council lose patience with someone appearing before them, but they did on Wednesday after an applicant for a park reservation loudly lectured them for about 20 minutes about due process and his rights.

Shane Lemco had been denied a July 1 reservation for Monteith Riverpark for a “celebration” featuring amplified sound and the sale of food and other items, according to a memo from Parks Director Ed Hodney. The parks department denied the request based on a recommendation from the police department.  According to the memo, police had issued citations at a park event, a celebration of marijuana, Lemco had put on last year.

The denial was mailed to Lemco at an address on Oak Grove Drive N.W., and he appealed to the council, as the city code provides.

He got off to a rocky start when he refused to state his address, instead saying something about being a “free and common man” moving around several states. He then went on at length about laws, constitutional provisions and court decisions on people’s rights.

The mayor tried several times to get him to get to the point — his park request — but it didn’t work, and she finally gave him three more minutes. (To get the full flavor, check the YouTube video of the April 12 council session when it’s posted on cityofalbany.net, probably by Thursday.)

Lemco’s presentation had the effect that when he finally wound down, a clearly aggravated council quickly voted to uphold the denial of the park reservation without even hearing from the police about why exactly they were recommending against it.

Councilman Ray Kopczynski said later he had attended the 2016 cannabis event and said that based on what he saw — apparently including public pot smoking — the participants were doing their cause no good. (hh)




5 responses to “Hot protest gets appellant nowhere”

  1. James Engel says:

    From that applicant actions I’d say “somebody” had one too many “brownies” before he made it to the meeting. Maybe the council ought to consider having a gong for the mayor to ring when people fail to follow the proper order. Or, have a well sized bouncer to enforce the 3 minute rule….JE

  2. Theodore Lee Salmons says:

    Well I just watched the video. God in heaven, what a space cadet. My congratulations to the Mayor for allowing this man to babble on twenty or so minutes without having him bounced out as soon as he wouldn’t give his address in Albany. That in itself should have finished his rant.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEAQGiyOp84

    His commentary starts and 19:25 and runs through 43:10. His t-shirt “commentary” is shown at 42:44. (Obviously he was spoiling for a fight since he pre-prepped with the t-shirt and had a friend video taping the entire event.)

  4. Steve Nofziger says:

    I would encourage the council to get behind the Mayor and inform the guests that the mayor or whoever is presiding over the meeting that they are in control and there a laws already on the books and that people cannot disrupt meetings like this and that they can be sited for trespass. Do some research and have law even on the wall. If not it will begin to look like the meetings in Portland or Corvallis.

  5. John Hartman says:

    Given the extensive droning provided by Council members at many, if not all meetings, you might think that our City Mothers and Fathers would have welcomed this attempt by an ordinary citizen to steer the political dirge to another topic. But politicians, especially when they know they’re on-camera, want nothing to do with an outsider stealing the limelight. If people are going to hear anyone, it’s going to be a Councilor…not some Council-designated low life the Council determines it doesn’t want to hear from.

    The Portland City Council recently experienced this same issue. To counter the groundswell, Mayor Wheeler now holds weekly outreach events NOT on City Council turf. Let us see if the Albany City Council is as imaginative when it comes to engaging with the very folks who put them in power, or will they simply shut anyone up they disagree with.


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