BEND, OR -- Oregon Congressman Greg Walden held five town hall meetings in the central and northern parts of his district, this week, drawing criticism from residents in other areas who say he’s avoiding their questions. Walden stopped in Mitchell, Mt. Vernon, Weston, Boardman and Arlington on Thursday and Friday.
A number of Bend, Prineville, Medford and Hood River residents questioned him on social media about the lack of notice for those meetings, and when he’ll be in the bigger cities of his district. Protesters demonstrated outside Walden's Bend office on Tuesday, calling for him to host a public meeting in Central Oregon to discuss the Affordable Care Act and the President's immigration policies.
Congressman Walden’s office says he tries to strike a balance between town halls and special meeting requests and sends notification of those meetings to local media in those areas. Walden recently met with veterans in Bend and city officials in Prineville. Deputy Chief of staff Andrew Malcolm told KBND News Friday, “Greg holds a town hall meeting in all 20 counties in our district at least once a year. He held 27 in the district last year, and 134 in the past five years. We also had a telephone town hall earlier this week (4,000 participated and 250 people left voicemails, which we’re responding to) and plan to have more soon. Many have told us that is easier for them than an in-person town hall, especially in rural areas.” He went on to say, “It’s a big district, as you know, and Greg works his way around it. The trip this week is 607 miles in seven counties.” He also notes the Congressman has more days in session, than typical, this month.
Walden's Town Hall Schedule, week of Feb. 6:
Thur., Feb 9; 1 p.m. : Mitchell School
Thur., Feb 9; 4 p.m.: Weston Memorial Hall
Fri., Feb 10; 2:15 p.m.: Port of Morrow, Boardman
Fri., Feb 10; 4 p.m.: North Gilliam Co. Fire Hall, Arlington
Photo: Grant County town hall, February 9, 2017. Courtesy Greg Walden on Facebook.