I moved to West Linn in 2009 and it was not long after that I learned the reputation of the city was not very good. On a trip to the coast my wife and I met the owner of a small store. When we told the owner we were from West Linn, they asked us what was going on with our city council. The implication was that West Linn was some kind of backwater community. I was motivated to know more.

Councilor Jenni Tan was elected to the city council and began to have regular public coffees to listen to community concerns. I attended several coffees and a few city council meetings. It was inspiring to see a member of the city council take the time to regularly meet with community members. I observed a number of conversations with West Linn residents, some supportive, some wanting attention to some problem. Every question I raised about some aspect of the community was followed up with an explanatory email that Councilor Tan had researched. Clearly, this was not the kind of leadership that gave West Linn a bad reputation around the state, on the contrary.

Later I had the chance to join the West Linn Blue Heron Task Force and met city staff whose leadership was worthy of praise. It was obvious that there was a range of agendas on the task force, but the citizens and city staff worked together with considerable mutual courtesy and finally came to a narrow range of recommendations for the city council. That is the kind of city I can be proud to live in. One in which citizens seek cooperation, not conflict as a way to resolve differences of opinion.

I like to live in a community that sees itself as part of a larger community, one that even calls us at times to make sacrifices for the greater good of all. I want to live in a community that seeks to resolve disagreements with respect, not one that takes as its goal to embarrass and harass its elected leaders. I want to live in a community where disagreements are resolved in elections, not recalls orchestrated by people with personal grievances. I want to live in a community where, when mistakes are made, they are acknowledged and attempts are made to find reasonable remedies.

That is what I see in this city council and this is what I have come to know about Councilor Jenni Tan and her approach to resolving conflict.

To have West Linn embroiled in a punitive recall effort is nonproductive, divisive, unjustified bad publicity for the city and an act of sour grapes. We have a good city council with the best interests of the city at heart. They can see the advantages of being good neighbors with the county and other cities in our area. I think anyone who knows them personally would agree they too want the best for West Linn, even if they disagree with some of the actions they take. They have my full support.

Cecil Denney is a resident of West Linn.

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