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Final deadline passes, recall effort ends

Petitioners had two extra days to recall Jody Carson, but ultimately fell short


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CITY OF WEST LINN - Four of the five members of the West Linn City Council recently faced a recall when four citizens started a campaign. However, not enough signatures were gathered to initiate a recall. The city council is, from left, Mike Jones, Jody Carson, Mayor John Kovash, Jenni Tan and Thomas Frank. Frank was not part of the recall effort.When the West Linn First group failed to turn in petitions to recall Mayor John Kovash and City Councilors Mike Jones and Jenni Tan before the 5 p.m. deadline March 11, petitioner Karies Oakes said it was likely the end of the recall effort — despite an additional two-day window to turn in petitions for Councilor Jody Carson.

As anticipated, the final March 13 deadline came and went without any petitions arriving at city hall, thus marking the official end of a recall campaign that began in December.

“By our actions in the recall, a lot happened that never would have happened if we had done nothing,” Oakes said. “West Linn First intends to continue the effort to build a stronger community of well-informed and engaged citizens.”

The four petitioners — Oakes, Reena Heijdeman, E. Marie Horvath and Curt Sommer — alleged that the city councilors broke their oaths of office by violating public meetings laws, “failing to represent the best interests of West Linn citizens,” “ignoring recommendations from city advisory boards and commissions” and “failing to assert proper control and direction over the city manager and city attorney.”

Many of the petitioners’ claims centered around the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership project, which was approved by the city council in February 2013. That decision was remanded by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, but ultimately upheld in a Jan. 13 hearing.

With their paperwork officially approved by the city and Secretary of State Elections division, the petitioners were given 90 days to gather the 1,844 signatures for each elected official — 15 percent of the total votes cast in the last governor’s race — required to prompt an election.

To that end, the group’s efforts included 16 public petition drives and two public outreach events, along with door-to-door canvassing, according to Oakes. Oakes said the group gathered “nearly 1,800” signatures for each of the four petitions. However, she did not respond to repeated requests from The Tidings to confirm those numbers.

As the campaign wrapped up, the mayor and councilors expressed relief and a hope to move forward.

“The recall was not a complete waste of time,” Kovash said. “It did reaffirm the good job the council and staff are doing for the citizens of West Linn.”

“Citizens of West Linn want to build things up and not tear things down,” Jones said. “I serve on city council because I want to work in a community where we move forward and in a positive manner, in spite of some adversity.”


By Patrick Malee
Reporter
503-636-1281 ex
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