Echo city councilor Lou Nakapalau has resigned.
Nakapalau became a divisive figure after making anti-gay comments to a gay filmmaker on Facebook in October. The scrutiny created by the controversy brought to light past felony charges for nine counts of possession of child pornography, for which he was found guilty in Clark County, Washington, in 2000.
City administrator Diane Berry said she found a “very short” resignation letter in the city’s dropbox earlier this month.
“This is my letter of resignation from the Echo City Council, effective Jan. 2,” it read.
The council was set to discuss the resignation at its regular council meeting Thursday, but Berry canceled the meeting shortly before noon after finding out there would not be a quorum in attendance.
Nakapalau was elected with eight write-in votes during the November 2016 election and was sworn in at the beginning of 2017 for a four-year term.
Berry said now that Nakapalau has resigned, the council can choose whether to leave the seat empty until the upcoming general election in November when the three other council seats will be up for election, or establish a procedure for appointing someone to the seat until the election.
Berry said she didn’t have any further comment regarding Nakapalau and his resignation.
Mayor Jeanie Hampton said she couldn’t comment as to what action the council might take to address the empty seat.
She said she couldn’t recall when she had first heard rumor of the child pornography charges, but local police reported to her that Nakapalau was not a registered sex offender.
“Nothing was confirmed, and then all the sudden we had cameras in our faces,” she said about the December council meeting.
Court documents obtained by the East Oregonian do not indicate why Nakapalau was not placed on the sex offender registry, but show he served eight days in jail, 52 days on work/education release and one year under community supervision under which he could not possess a computer outside of work.
An order of discharge from the Clark County Court shows he completed all the requirements of his sentence in 2007 and his civil rights, including the ability to hold public office, were restored.
Nakapalau has not responded to requests for comment or explanation.
After a tumultuous few months for the city council, Hampton said she was looking forward to being able to focus on other city business, including planned upgrades to the sewer system.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.