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Reporters barred from meeting on faulty 9-1-1 system

Plans to fix the troubled system and the status of a citizen representative were expected to be discussed behind closed doors

Reporters were again excluded Thursday afternoon from a meeting of the users of the region's troubled replacement 9-1-1 dispatch system.

Reporters from the Portland Tribune and TV station Fox 12 showed up for the meeting of the Bureau of Emergency Communications User Board, only to be told that the group voted to exclude them. The Portland city attorney's office has issued a short opinion saying the group is not a public body, but can invite anyone to attend its meetings.

Although the system is operated by the city of Portland, it serves police, fire and medical responders throughout Multnomah County.

Board members have been critical of the replacement system since it was activated April 17, including its chairman, Fairview Police Chief Ken Johnson. Among other things, they say the system is slower that the previous system, that information is harder to read on computer screens in police cars and fire engines, and that dispatchers do not always send out the right mix of equipment for emergency calls.

Bureau officials were expected to update efforts to fix the system at Thursday's meeting.

Attending the meeting was T.J. Browning, a Portland citizen activist who began serving on the board in December. She has been one of the most vocal critics of the replacement system.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees BOEC, has argued that Browning was not properly seated on the board. Johnson has said Browning is an official member. Her status was expected to be discussed at Thursday's meeting.