Wanna leave a comment, write a Haiku

If you were thinking of leaving comments on Clark County’s website regarding its comprehensive plan update, you’d have better luck dashing off a series of tweets.

That’s because the county placed a limit on how long the comments could be. Now, don’t get me wrong; a limit is understandable. After all, county officials probably don’t want to wade through giant tomes of information, especially considering that Carol Levanen of Clark County Citizens United speaks on the issue at every single board meeting. But perhaps the limit should be reasonable.

So what did the county do instead? The county limited the maximum length for the comments to 500 character. You read that right. The limit was actually 500 characters, as in letters. By comparison, the limit for tweets is 140 characters.

To give you an idea about how little information you can convey in 500 characters, I will note that the first two paragraphs barely came in under the county’s arbitrary word limit. When this was brought to the commissioners’ attention earlier in the week by Sydney Reisbeck, who regularly comments at meetings, they seemed bewildered.

“I wonder how many people went on your website and tried to input and were not accepted,” Reisbeck said.

Madore said it sounded like a simple-but-unfortunate IT problem that the county would fix.

“OK,” Reisbeck said, “but the deadline has passed.”


It looks like the county will look into extending the deadline for people to leave comments. As of now, though, the website still says the limit is 500 characters. Perhaps if the problem isn’t fixed, people could simply pass along their comments in the form of Haikus.

I’ll start the ball rolling: Comp plan comments bad/not enough space for big thoughts/please fix for people.

Tyler Graf

Tyler Graf

I started working for The Columbian in 2012 and currently cover Clark County. I'm a 2007 graduate of The University of Oregon. Contact me at tyler.graf@columbian.com

Scroll to top