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Signatures verified in Cascade Locks recall

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

October 7, 2006

The fall ballot may include a recall election for the city of Cascade Locks in addition to other measures and races.

At this time, whether or not the recall goes on the Nov. 7 ballot depends on what councilors Lee Kitchens and Rob Brostoff decide. They each have until 5 p.m. Monday to decide whether to resign or to write a statement of justification.

The Hood River County Records and Assessment office finished verifying signatures Wednesday in a recall petition filed by Stan Bowyer of Cascade Locks.

Cascade Locks City Recorder Kate Mast said the process then moved to the notification stage.

“I have notified the lead petitioner (Stan Bowyer) as well as the city councilors and they (the councilors) have until 5 p.m. to respond or resign,” she said.

There were 81 signatures turned in on the petition to recall Brostoff and 86 on the petition for Kitchens. Mast said simply there were enough signatures verified for the recall to proceed.

State law requires that the number of signers on a recall petition equal 15 percent of total votes cast in the electoral district for the Governor’s race in the most recent election. For the Cascade Locks recall, that meant there needed to be 59 valid signatures on each of the recall petitions for the election to go forward.

If Kitchens and Brostoff decide not to resign, they must turn in a maximum 200-word statement explaining their decision. Those statements will be turned in to Mast, who would then submit them to county elections. The statements would then be printed on the official ballot for the election.

The issue central to the recall was a July 10 vote by the Cascade Locks City Council to sell 1.8 acres of city property to the Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation for development. The property is commonly referred to as the “McCoy property” because a logging family named McCoy owned it for many years before selling it to the city.

The parcel lies adjacent to the ToothRock park property, which is also land owned by the city and has been intended for many years for a community park but remains undeveloped.

The city chose to sell the McCoy property to help finance construction of a new fire hall. The current structure was built in 1956.

During the lengthy July 10 public hearing and subsequent vote, many people spoke for and against the proposal. In the end, the council split, approving the sale 4 to 3.

Council members Cindy Mitchell, Kerry Osbourn and Tiffany Pruit voted against the sale while council members Arni Kononen, Lee Kitchens, Rob Brostoff and Mayor Ralph Hesgard voted for it.

In the months following the vote, Bowyer and several other community members have focused their criticisms on the four council members who voted for the proposal.

Bowyer had said in an earlier interview that the only reason he was not recalling Kononen and Hesgard was that their terms end Dec. 31, 2006.

Hesgard chose many months ago — and not because of the recall movement — to not run again for mayor. Kononen and Brostoff are both running for mayor in the Nov. 7 election.

Brostoff was vacationing out of town and was unavailable for comment at press time. Kitchens stated in an August interview that she would not resign if the recall movement reached that point.

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