Testimony Tips & How to Submit Public Comments

Tips for Writing Public Comments and Giving Testimony

A public comment is a formal letter sent to decision-makers (such as the city council), describing your position on a policy, project or plan. Below is an outline of what a public comment should contain:

1. Introduction:

  • Begin with a formal salutation.
  • State the project/plan that you are going to discuss, and thank the Council for their work on the project.
  • Introduce yourself.

2. Overview of Project As-Is:

  • Briefly review the positive aspects of the project, and then transition to whether you support or oppose the project.

3. Recommend Improvements:

  • Introduce how the policy could be improved.
  • List each change that you would like to see happen, and describe what the City Council can do to make the change (numbering your points can be helpful).

4. Conclusion:

  • State how you support the City Council on bold climate action.
  • Give your signature with your full name, title and contact information.

Giving oral testimony at a public hearing is a way to verbally weigh in on a proposed policy, project or plan. Typically, there is a 2 minute time limit for oral testimony. Many people submit longer written comments when giving oral testimony.

While the format or oral testimony is the same as a written comment, it’s best to pick one main point to deliver. Be sure to talk about how climate change impacts you personally and how the policies passed today will have impacts throughout your entire life.


  • Start your testimony by introducing yourself for the public record.
  • Talk slowly.
  • Practice, practice, practice!
    • Time yourself and adjust your testimony to fit within 2 minutes.

How to Submit Your Public Comment

There are multiple ways to submit your public comment. You can submit via www.350pdx.org or email your comment directly to the Portland City Council.

When submitting your comment, include your full name and address and send it to all 6 emails listed below.

General fossil fuel testimony email: fossilfuelzoning@portlandoregon.gov
Mayor Charlie Hales: mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Amanda Fritz: Amanda@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Steve Novick: novick@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Nick Fish: nick@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Dan Saltzman: dan@portlandoregon.gov

November 10th Public Hearing to Ban Fossil Fuel Terminals in Portland

Portland has the chance to prohibit all new fossil fuel terminals and require our existing facilities to make much needed seismic safety improvements.

On Thursday, November 10th, The Portland City Council will hold the final public hearing on the fossil fuel zoning code changes that could legally prohibit new fossil fuel terminals in the City of Portland! Please attend (wearing red!) and testify to support the strongest fossil fuel code changes possible.

WHAT: Final Hearing to Ban Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
WHEN: Tuesday November 10th. Hearing 2-5PM, Rally 1:15PM. Testimony Sign-Up 1PM.
WHERE: Portland City Hall (1221 SW 4th Avenue)

Join the event on Facebook and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/385766008480027/

Why does this matter? Fossil fuels are inherently unsafe throughout their entire lifecycle from extraction to combustion. In order to prevent uncontrollable catastrophic climate change, we need to prohibit ALL NEW FOSSIL FUEL PROJECTS and begin a managed decline of our existing fossil fuel facilities.