A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Reflecting on council rooms here and there

Written October 14th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The council meeting room at the Jacksonville, OR, City Hall on the afternoon of Oct. 12, 2023.

As someone who for the past half century and more has occasionally covered city council meetings, I was interested this week in checking out the council chambers in Jacksonville in Jackson County.

The council there meets on the second floor of the Jacksonville City Hall. The building dates from the 1880s and served as the courthouse before the county seat was moved to nearby Medford in 1927.

As you can see, the old courtroom has been remodeled as a splendid meeting place for the council of this little town.

(The population of about 3,000 makes Jacksonville the 102nd largest municipality in Oregon and the 6,245th in the United States. By comparison, Albany’s population of about 57,000 ranks 11th in Oregon and 696th in the country, according to what you can find on the Internet.)

Wandering around the room last Thursday afternoon (that bike helmet on the table is mine), I noticed a sign asking people addressing the council to speak in a way so they can be heard and understood.

From attending Albany council meetings or watching them online in recent years, I wish all speakers followed that advice.

Here, for comparison of the surroundings, is a recent photo of the Albany council in Action.

Mayor Alex Johnson II and the Albany council listen to representives of the Obie Companies on Sept. 27, 2023.

A few days after I shot that Albany photo, I got an email from the city manager that said: “The Council understands your desire for photographs, but they’ve asked that you refrain from walking onto the dais and behind their seats while they’re in session.”

Sorry if I bothered anyone. (hh)

2 responses to “Reflecting on council rooms here and there”

  1. chris j says:

    Don’t be put off of doing the good work you do. People who feel the need to hide their actions never trust an honest man to watch their back. Considerate a compliment that they trust you to be honest and do what’s right. Albany is not NASA. Secrecy in matters of information that should be available to the general public is a red flag that they are not on the up and up. “You have been served” is a colloquial term used to put people in their place. The council served us long ago. Guess they need to hold their cards closer to the chest and are closing their ranks.

  2. Deb says:

    Wow!! That explains a lot about our council. When did a council become more important than the people of the city they are supposed to represent?


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