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Regional Interests

Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull faces backlash after comparing vaccine passports to Jim Cro

A Clackamas County commissioner who has faced accusations of racism since he took office in January was stripped of all his liaison committee assignments on Tuesday.

Commissioner Mark Shull had put forward a draft resolution at a county meeting that compared vaccine passports to Jim Crow era laws.

“COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports,’ and segregation and discrimination based on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status create the conditions of a new Jim Crow 2.0,” the draft resolution reads.

Shull defended the comparison, and said his words were not racist. But Tootie Smith, the conservative chair of the Clackamas County board, quashed Shull’s proposal. She said the draft was made public before it was reviewed by county council or a staff administrator, and she called it “abhorrent and irresponsible.”

“I will not tolerate from anybody, including you sir, the language of this resolution,” Smith said. “It will not proceed today. It is dead.”

Smith then introduced a resolution to strip Shull of all committee assignments. All members of the council except for Shull supported that effort.

A recall campaign against Shull is expected to launch later this month. The campaign was started after a Clackamas County community member surfaced bigoted social media statements Shull made in recent years against Muslims, immigrants, the Black Lives Matter movement and people who are transgender.

The commission censured Shull in January, after the comments surfaced, and called for him to resign immediately. Shull voted for the resolution calling for his own resignation, but he has not yet resigned.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting