Over the weekend of October 27, Tillamook High School hosted their annual Oktoberfest speech and debate tournament. With an underwhelming 4 teams participating, all from the same school, the tournament had only two rounds of parliamentary debate. Such a small turnout raises questions regarding the status of parliamentary debate in northern Oregon.
“This number is pretty consistent [for us],” said tournament director Ben Knobel. “We have not historically had a good turnout for debate in general.” In Knobel’s opinion, this is likely because the tournament is small and relatively close to the beginning of the season.
Other factors may contribute to the low turnout at the Oktoberfest invitational as well: for example, Tillamook is about an hour and a half outside of the greater Portland area. This, coupled with the fact that it took place a week before the Mount Hood Community College Saints Invitational, may explain the low interest level.
The Saints Invitational, which has historically been in February and had 33 entries in open parli, took place in November for the first time this year in order to fill the absence left by Silverton’s Fox Invitational. Due to the schedule change and the fact that schools often cannot send their teams to two back-to-back tournaments, many schools may have opted for the more local of the two tournaments.
At this time it is difficult to know if smaller turnouts will become an increasing trend in Oregon parliamentary debate, or if Tillamook’s Oktoberfest invitational is an outlier.
Our Oregon correspondents are Hannah Doyle, who competes for Ashland High School, and Gabriel Graville, who competes for Lake Oswego High School.