From time to time, in our municipal and land use practice, and in our private lives as voting citizens, we must remind ourselves that the decisions that affect our daily lives occur at our public meetings. Last night, as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Oregon City, I attended the City Commission and was reminded how much we can accomplish by municipal participation and why Oregon’s practice of direct democracy at City and County Commissions across the state makes it such a wonderful place to live. Not only did the Commission make important decisions to designate heritage trees, kick off historic preservation month, and fund important infrastructure projects – it brought music to the people! Just after the flag salute but before the business meeting began, Ellen Whyte delivered an energetic rendition of “The Blues Walked Through My Door” to the delight for all in attendance and set the mood for an engaging meeting.
The City Commission hosts music performances before its regular meeting throughout the year to showcase the city’s local talent and deepen its commitment to inclusion of the arts in our civic experience. Due to technical difficulties last night Ellen’s performance was not recorded, but check out these links to the earlier performances of the Tonesetters, the Lucky Shamrocks, and Rae Gordon. I know I will be looking forward to performances yet to come!
And for all of you municipal employees out there, I strongly suggest taking a tip from Oregon City and inviting a performer to your next public meeting.