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HOW TO GIVE TESTIMONY AT 3.

Appeal to your audience


PUBLIC HEARINGS
Emphasize your commonalities with
General tips: the public body and act respectfully to
those with whom you disagree. The
♦ Be polite and project a positive more you know about your audience,
How to Testify
image. the more you can tailor your message to at
♦ Maintain eye contact if possible. them.
Prepare an outline so you do not have
Land Use Hearings
to read your testimony. 4. Control your feelings
♦ Arrive early to sign up to testify.
This will also allow you to listen to Try to keep your emotion in check A Resource for Citizens
testimony from others and avoid when testifying. While you want to
repeating their points. speak from the heart, you do not want
♦ Bring multiple written copies of your feelings to overshadow the content
your testimony to leave behind. and reason of your message.
♦ Dress appropriately, so your
testimony will be taken seriously. 5. Anticipate questions

1. Be familiar with the group’s Try to anticipate questions you may


process receive from the public body and how Goal 1 of Oregon’s Statewide
you would answer them. Planning Goals recognizes the
If possible, attend one of the group’s importance of citizen involvement
meetings in advance of the hearing at 6. Thank the group “in all phases of the planning process.”
which you will be testifying to observe
procedures and the arrangement of the When you are finished testifying, thank One of the principal ways for
room. Schedules can change at the last the committee members and offer to citizens to be involved is by testifying
minute, so it is wise to verify with staff answer any questions. at local land use hearings.
or the agency on the day of the meeting.
Find out how many copies of your 7. If members of a group are testifying This brochure is designed to help
testimony are recommended for the citizens prepare and deliver testimony,
particular meeting and how much time Group members should cover different and be effective in these public venues.
you will have to speak. topics, so testimony is not repetitious.
Rather than having every member of
2. Address the public body formally your group say the same thing, some
and identify yourself members can say they support previous
testimony on a topic.
HOW TO PREPARE TESTIMONY document that will inform your to do. If you are opposing, your
FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS testimony. Learn about the testimony should discuss why the
requirements for zone changes, proposal is inconsistent with the
Various public bodies, including conditional use permits, and other land controlling law, rules or ordinances.
city councils, planning commissions, use actions. Refer to the same adopted Don’t repeat yourself or ramble; keep
local land use and legislative plans, code requirements and other your argument concise.
committees, conduct hearings on land regulations and criteria that the
use matters. hearings body must use. Find out if 4. Know when, where and before
Voicing your opinion at these there is a local Committee for Citizen whom you will testify
hearings is a way to influence public Involvement (CCI), Citizen Area
decisions. Committee or other local organization Be sure you know the facts about the
Carefully prepared testimony gives covering your geographic area. They public event. Check on when testimony
public officials a chance to hear directly are a good resource to contact for will be taken, where the venue is and
from citizens. It also becomes part of advice on how to testify persuasively. research the responsibilities of the
the public record, which is a necessity hearing body you will be addressing.
for possible later appeals. 3. Prepare an outline of your Know how much time you will have to
Hearings are often covered by testimony to use while speaking speak (often 3-5 minutes).
media, and offer another way to get a
message out to the public. Some ♦ Develop a full written statement to 5. Rehearse your testimony
guidelines for preparing testimony are: leave with the body you are addressing
♦ Address the full hearings body. (i.e.: Practice giving testimony in front of
1. Know your issue “Council President and members of the friends and get suggestions for
Council…”) improvement. Make sure your main
Support opinions with facts. Review ♦ Include your name and address for points will be covered in the time
the land use file on your case. Read any the record. allowed.
media reports on it; talk with elected ♦ Indicate if you are representing a
officials, staff and neighbors. Be group or yourself, and give a brief
knowledgeable about the opposition’s description of your interest.
arguments and be prepared to counter ♦ Keep your statement short. Begin
them. The Web may be a useful tool to by saying you support or oppose a
research planning issues. particular agenda item, and briefly
This brochure was written by the Oregon
explain why. Use facts to verify your Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee (CIAC),
2. Know the land use record and statements. Describe how this issue which advises the Oregon Land Conservation and
Development Commission (LCDC) on matters
regulations affects you personally, what you pertaining to citizen involvement.
suggest as a solution and then This brochure is available for downloading on
the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and
Review the staff report for the hearing summarize. Be sure to tell the Development (DLCD) website at:
body. The staff report is a key committee exactly what you wish them http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/publications.shtml