Participate in a City Council Meeting

​City Council meetings are held to allow Council to conduct business, make decisions in a public forum, and formulate policy. These meetings also provide an opportunity for you to give input on issues and policies under consideration by the City. You can also bring any topic of interest to the City before the City Council.

​Meeting schedule and location

The Salem City Council meets regularly on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, Room 240 of the Salem Civic Center. The schedule for all Council meetings are noticed on the City calendar, which you can access from this page.

Meeting agenda and procedures

Meeting agendas are typically available to the public by the Thursday before a regularly scheduled Council meeting. Both current and recent past agendas are available online. See our old archives for agendas prior to June 2016. Topics scheduled for discussion at a Council meeting will appear on the agenda, within the following categories:

  • Opening exercises: roll call, Pledge of Allegiance, ceremonial presentations, and proclamations
  • Public comment on agenda items except public hearings or land use issues
  • Consent calendar: meeting minutes, routine resolutions, and items reported by staff requiring Council action. All items are accepted and approved with one motion.
  • Public hearings: public testimony and Council deliberation on matters under consideration by the Council. Public hearings will begin no later than 7:30 p.m.
  • Special orders of business: items deferred from the consent calendar, matters of special importance to the Council, Mayor and Councilor initiated items, and formal presentations by city boards, commissions, or committees, or by outside agencies providing services
  • Information reports: reports from staff on items that do not require Council action
  • First and Second Reading of Ordinances: Title of ordinance read aloud, and generally no action is taken or testimony is considered during ordinance reading. Ordinances are local laws enacted by City Council.
  • Public comment on items not on the agenda
  • New business: action items brought forward by the Mayor or Councilors

City Council Rules govern procedures at City Council meetings. As described in these rules, each member of the Council has an opportunity to speak about a topic on the agenda. In order for the Council to make a decision, one Councilor must make a motion to act on a topic, a second Councilor must support the motion, and a majority of Councilors in attendance must vote in agreement for the motion to pass. If a majority of Councilors in attendance do not agree, the motion fails.

Public comment and testimony

At each regular meeting, you have at least two opportunities to provide comment to City Council. If you want to speak, sign up before the meeting begins on the speakers rosters located on the east counter in Council Chambers as you enter. There are usually three sign up rosters which are used to determine which section of the meeting your topic should be presented. Sign up on the appropriate list, with options to speak about:

  1. An item on the agenda (except public hearings or land use issues)
  2. A topic not on the agenda
  3. A topic scheduled for public hearing on the agenda

Public Comment on agenda items (except for public hearings or land use issues) occurs early in the meeting after opening exercises. Testimony for a public hearing occurs after a staff presentation at the hearing. Public Comment on other than agenda items occurs near the end of the meeting. The Mayor will announce the time for public comment and invite individuals to address the City Council. You must begin by stating your name and street address or ward and you will have three minutes to speak. When one minute remains, the light on the podium will flash yellow and when your speaking time is over, it will turn red.

If you would like to provide handouts, please bring fifteen copies of your material to the meeting. If you would like to give an electronic audio or visual presentation as part of your testimony, provide it in advance of the meeting in a useable format so it can be loaded onto the computer for your use.

Written comments

If you are unable to attend a meeting and would like to provide comment on an agenda item, written comments can be submitted to the City Recorder by noon on the day of the City Council meeting by personal delivery or e-mail. If you have a matter that you would like the City Council to consider in the future, you may submit a written suggestion to:

City Manager
555 Liberty Street SE, Room 220
Salem, OR 97301
[email protected]

Other council meetings

Aside from regular meetings, the City Council also periodically conducts work sessions and executive sessions. A work session consists of an in-depth presentation by staff and Council discussion about one topic. The public is encouraged to attend work sessions, but there is no opportunity for public comment. Council typically defers making any substantive decision at a work session.

An executive session is not open to the public. State law permits the City Council, and other governing bodies to conduct executive sessions on specific categories of topics as provided by state law. Those topics include real estate matters, labor negotiations, litigation, or other records exempt from public review. The final decision on matters discussed in an executive session must occur in a public meeting of Council.

Reasonable accommodation

Disability-related accommodations, including auxiliary aids or services, in order to participate in a City Council meeting, are available upon request. Sign language and interpreters for languages other than English are also available upon request. To request such an accommodation or interpretation, contact the City Recorder 48 hours prior to the City Council meeting.

What’s happening
Nov. 19
City Council Work Session6:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.Council Chambers
555 Liberty ST SE RM 240
Salem OR 97301
Nov. 22
Thanksgiving - Some City offices closed for holiday observanceCivic Center
555 Liberty ST SE
Salem OR 97301
Nov. 23
Thanksgiving - Some City offices closed for holiday observanceCivic Center
555 Liberty ST SE
Salem OR 97301
Nov. 26
Executive Session of the City Council and Urban Renewal Agency Board5:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.Council Chambers
555 Liberty ST SE RM 240
Salem OR 97301
Salem Housing Authority Commission Meeting6:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.Council Chambers
555 Liberty ST SE RM 240
Salem OR 97301
Urban Renewal Agency6:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.Council Chambers
555 Liberty ST SE RM 240
Salem OR 97301

Contact us

City Recorder
Monday–Friday
8 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 205
Salem OR 97301
Phone: