Several Pendleton city councilors spoke out against the recall petition filed against Councilor Al Plute at a meeting Tuesday.
At the end of the meeting, during the council comment portion, Councilor Neil Brown offered his rebuke of the recall.
“There’s going to be signatures or an offer of a piece of paper for people to sign on behalf of the recall for Mr. Plute,” he said. “If that opportunity comes before you, please decline. Also, if you have friends or neighbors that say, ‘Hey, this is a good time to get back at the council’ ... please sway them to decline. This is unfounded, the basis for the recall ... I want to say I am backing Mr. Plute to the end.”
A few councilors voiced their agreement with Brown, including Councilor Becky Marks.
“Even though we don’t always agree, I have always have been interested (with Plute’s) point of view,” she said. “He’s really made me stop and think about the positions that I take and why I’m taking them ... he’s a good man and his heart is in Pendleton and that’s what makes a difference for me.”
Mayor Phillip Houk said the city has been getting calls from residents looking to sign the petition. He said city staff will not collect signatures to recall Plute.
Those collecting signatures are from the group called Pendleton Citizens United, led by residents Roesch Kishpaugh and Larry Anderson.
Kishpaugh filed the petition Jan. 26, listing a recently resolved lawsuit against Plute and his support for the $5 street utility fee as the reasons for the recall.
In response, Plute called the recall petition “a cheap shot” backed by “cowards and a bully.”
Pendleton Citizens United must collect 705 signatures by April 25 to trigger a recall election.
Plute beat incumbent Steve Taylor to win his at-large seat in 2010 and ran unopposed in 2014. His term runs through 2018.
In other council business, the council unanimously approved that city staff pursue Disaster Emergency Response and Support Center designation from the state for the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport.
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