By Bill Baertlein, Chair Tillamook County Board of Commissioners
I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.
The Tillamook Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is bound by Oregon Public Meetings Law and there are rules we are required to follow in a declared emergency. In the past two weeks things have been happening so fast with the COVID-19 public health crisis that the BOCC has called emergency meetings in order to provide strong leadership in a timely way. For example, when we were inundated with visitors on Saturday, March 21, we called an emergency meeting for Sunday, March 22 to address the issue and make decisions to protect our community. Things were evolving so fast that some of our meetings were only known a couple of hours before we needed to act. In every case we followed both the letter and spirit of the law. Our meetings were available to attend in person or by teleconference. Let me reiterate that we did not violate any Oregon Open Meetings Laws.
Our 8:00 a.m. meetings occur on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and are live streamed on KTIL. We have followed and continue to follow the open meeting law requirements for notice. Currently, to comply with the Governor’s order of social distancing and limits of 10 people in a group, we are not able to accommodate live attendance at our regular meetings. We allow the public to phone in and listen and to e-mail questions or testimony during the meeting.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all those in the community that are working so hard to support each other. The decisions we made the past two weeks were difficult. Closing the motels, short term rentals, parking lots and boat launches was one of the hardest I have had to make. There were sleepless nights in the decision, but it was correct for the protection of our residents. I am heartened by the fact that all seven cities in Tillamook County, our lodging providers, restaurants and residents understand the need to protect everyone in our community over the next couple of months. In this time of unprecedented crisis our communities have come together in the ‘Tillamook Way’: we fight, we argue, we jump up and down then we come to together and do the right thing.
NOTE: The call-in information for the meetings is available on the County’s website at https://www.co.tillamook.or.us/gov/Bocc/COVID-19/CORONAVIRUSHUB.htm