How to Make a Public Comment
Photo taken in 2016: Russ Donnelly, Mike Riley, Skylar Grayson, Nikki Roemmer at City Council
Communicating with your elected officials is such an important part of the change-making process. They need to hear from you, their constituents, to know what you value and how you think our communities should be improved. Read on to learn how to make your voice heard through the written or public comment process with Bend City Council.
Bend City Council
You can give public comment at the City Council meetings or City of Bend advisory committee meetings. If you are commenting on something that is on the agenda, you will be able to give comments during that agenda item.
If what you are commenting on is not an item on the agenda, you will be able to comment during the Visitor’s Section. There may be limited time allocated for these comments if there are many people speaking on the same subject that isn’t on the agenda.
To speak virtually
- For City Council meetings, members of the public who wish to offer public comment may do so by phone or by joining the meeting on Zoom.
- Click on ‘Agenda’ for the meeting you would like to attend. You can find the agendas here. At the top, there should be a Zoom Registration link and a phone number. Register period to the meeting to get the Zoom link to log in on the day of the meeting.
- To give public comment, raise your hand during the Visitor’s Section.
- You will have 2 minutes to speak and you will be asked to monitor your time (this is about 300 words but practice to see how long it takes you!).
To speak in-person
- Arrive at the Council Chambers in City Hall before the start of the regular meeting at 7:00 to sign up to speak during the Visitor’s Section.
- When your name is called, you will be asked to go to the podium at the front of the room to address the councilors.
- You will have 2 minutes to speak (this is about 300 words but practice to see how long it takes you!).
Tips for preparing your comments
- Prepare your comments in advance and practice so that you know you can fit your full comments in. If you are giving a public comment, you will have 2 minutes to speak (this is about 300 words but practice to see how long it takes you!).
- Be succinct. Try to stick to 2-3 main points.
- Speak slowly and clearly! Don’t try to fit more in by speaking quickly.
- Introduce yourself and thank your city councilors for their time.
- Make it personal and introduce why the issue is important to you. Talk about your experience with the issue if applicable. The best and most memorable comments are unique.
- Tell them exactly what you want them to do and why ie. “Vote yes on this ordinance…”
- If you give your comments orally at a meeting, also email them to the councilors.