By COLIN STAUB
Unions are backing a campaign to remove Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull from office due to his history of disparaging remarks about Muslims and immigrants, likening COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the early stages of the Holocaust, and more.
Shull was elected in November 2020 to serve a term from 2021 through 2024. But a slew of his personal Facebook posts were publicized in early 2021, leading to a chorus of calls for his resignation. His posts included memes spreading fear about Muslims, claiming immigrants are responsible for societal ills and spreading COVID-19, suggesting rioters in Portland started wildfires that devastated Clackamas County, and other divisive rhetoric.
After the posts were publicized, Shull was asked to step down by his fellow commissioners in January 2021. He declined to resign, and a recall effort has been taking shape over the past year. In that time, Shull has also faced condemnation from other commissioners for a September 2021 social media post he shared suggesting a parallel between COVID-19 vaccine verification and restrictions targeting Jews during the Holocaust.
In the labor realm, the recall has drawn endorsement from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFSCME Local 350 (which represents Clackamas County employees), Oregon AFSCME, AFT-Oregon, the Oregon Education Association and PCC-Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals.
Ira Erbs, vice president of political action for AFT-Oregon, is also a member of the recall campaign steering committee. Erbs said labor groups are supporting the recall for the same reasons as other supporters: Shull’s history of disparaging remarks, divisive rhetoric, intolerance, spreading misinformation and more. Unions want to improve the communities their members live in. Erbs added there’s also an economic implication to Shull’s actions.
“I think unions are aware that companies are not doing business in Clackamas County because of Mark Shull’s hateful rhetoric,” he said.
Currently, the recall campaign has about 2,500 people who have pledged to sign the petition when it goes live. It hasn’t been decided when that will happen. Once the campaign submits all the paperwork, organizers will have 90 days to collect 35,000 signatures, so they want to build enough support before launching to ensure it’s successful.
How to sign the recall petition