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Clackamas County Commissioners approve library safety changes and adopt Board order aimed at ensuring public safety in facilities

Clackamas County Commissioners on Thursday, Oct. 17, adopted changes to an ordinance and approved a board order aimed at better protecting the public's safety at libraries and other county facilities.

The two separate measures involved a change to the county's Library Exclusion Process, which is outlined in Chapter 6.09 of county code and sets the policy for excluding unruly persons from library property. The changes call for more leniency and flexibility when dealing with temporary and minor disruptions.

The ordinance calls for shorter periods of ejection than the current range of between one and a maximum of 90 days specified in the ordinance. The new ordinance would allow ejection for a period of time needed to remedy an issue for minor transgressions that are temporary in nature, such as bringing a dog into the library or going shirtless.

Commissioners approved a motion to remove the emergency provision from the ordinance which will now take effect in 90 days. The ordinance passed 4 to 1.

Chair John Ludlow said he removed a version of the ordinance from a previous agenda and insisted on changes "to make it more palatable" in response to public feedback. "You have made a difference by showing up," he said.

The board order that was approved establishes a "Person in Charge" that can be designated by the county administrator or sheriff for the purposes of removing disruptive people from county facilities.

Previously the county had no lawful authority to remove a person from county property or facilities. The designation is required by Oregon law. Under the law if a person refuses direction from a designated "Person in Charge" to leave, that person is subject to arrest by a law enforcement officer.

The proposal was passed 4-1.

The change would not apply to county commission meetings. The board chair is responsible for keeping order at the meetings and Chair Ludlow has allowed latitude to members of the public attending and speaking at commission meetings.

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