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Plute recall dies on the vine

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on April 25, 2016 8:37PM

Pendleton City Councilor Al Plute will leave the council, but by his own accord and not because of a recall election.

City Recorder Andrea Denton said the signature sheets needed to recall Plute were not submitted by the Monday deadline, meaning the recall campaign is officially over.

Larry Anderson, the treasurer of Pendleton Citizens United, the group that organized to recall Plute, said the group suspended its campaign when Plute announced he would resign in May.

“There’s wasn’t any sense to it (anymore),” Anderson said. “It would just make people mad.”

The recall’s failure to advance to the next stage of the process wasn’t for lack of effort, according to Anderson. He said Pendleton Citizens United had collected around 800 signatures before suspending the campaign, more than the 705 needed to trigger a recall election.

Plute said the recall failed because it was without merit and thanked everyone who supported him and refused to sign the petition.

Plute said he wasn’t departing for Eugene because of the recall campaign but because of his impending retirement and his wife’s desire to live in a new city and escape the criticism that’s been mounted against her husband in recent years. He has been unsparing in his assessment of the recall campaign, calling out its backers.

The two-term city councilor said the recall campaign’s silver lining is that it helped inspire people to run for city council seats. Twelve candidates are currently vying for five seats on the council.

“(Pendleton Citizens United) advertised the need for people to step up,” he said.

Although the committee was organized to recall Plute, Anderson said Pendleton Citizens United plans to continue to monitor the council and city politics.

Anderson said if Plute reverses his decision to step down, his group will file another petition and use the information they gathered from the original petition to quickly collect the signatures they need to initiate a recall election.

The Facebook page for Pendleton Citizens United, which Anderson said has a core membership of 15 people and another 30 to 40 people sympathetic to its cause, recently featured endorsements for Ward 2 city council candidate Rex Morehouse and Ward 3 candidate Dale Primmer.

Ironically, Plute also supported Primmer, calling him an “excellent” candidate.

Plute plans to submit his resignation letter this week and will stay on through the budget process.

His last council meeting is scheduled for May 17.


Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.


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