2017: Revolution turns out Sherwood mayor, council members
Editor's note: This story is part of the The Times' special series, "Decade in Review." This series features three stories that helped to define each year of the 2010s. These can retell single stories that captivated readers of the time, a saga that played out across many articles, and even stories that were crowded to the margins by other news at the time but have made a lasting impact on our region.
The Sherwood Regional Family YMCA is one of the most well-known, well-loved places in Sherwood.
When several members of the Sherwood City Council, including Mayor Krisanna Clark, endorsed Minnesota-based HealthFitness in its bid to take over operations of the recreation center in 2017, it touched off a fierce community backlash — and, in the end, their downfall in local politics.
Many community members were surprised when the City Council, after what looked like a fairly routine solicitation of bids by would-be rec center operators, decided to pass over the YMCA — which wanted to continue operating the center, as it had since 1998 — and move forward on negotiating a new contract with HealthFitness.
There was no obvious reason to make a change. The YMCA of Columbia-Willamette told city officials it expected to run a surplus of more than $100,000 over the next five years if it continued to operate the rec center. HealthFitness, meanwhile, said it anticipated a deficit of nearly $500,000.
"We have successfully protected the city for over 19 years and the city has never subsidized YMCA operations," said Bob Hall, chief executive officer for the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, after the council voted on Aug. 15, 2017, to go ahead with HealthFitness. "We are at a loss as to why three city councilors would choose otherwise and subsidize losses for a for-profit company."
Within days, YMCA supporters were circulating recall petitions to oust Clark, as well as City Councilors Sally Robinson and Jennifer Harris.
Adding to some of her opponents' aggravation, Clark had married George Endicott in July. Endicott was also a mayor — of Redmond, a three-hour drive from Sherwood. The couple denied allegations that Krisanna Clark-Endicott moved out of Sherwood to live with her new husband, and Clark-Endicott denounced claims that she was sending her children to school in Central Oregon for the 2017-18 school year, telling the Sherwood Gazette, The Times' sister paper, that her "parental decisions are not up for discussion."
The recall effort gathered enough signatures to be placed on the ballot, and once that happened, it was like a runaway train.
Clark-Endicott changed course on the HealthFitness contract after city staff recommended that Sherwood back away from the company; HealthFitness had already drawn some officials and community members' ire when it "updated" its financial projections to claim it would instead run a surplus as the rec center's operator.
The City Council voted 4-2 to cut off negotiations with HealthFitness on Sept. 26, with Clark-Endicott voting against the contract and Robinson and Harris voting in favor.
Even though the controversial HealthFitness deal had been nixed, the recall effort was full steam ahead. A special election was set for Oct. 17, 2017.
Then, on Oct. 2, Clark-Endicott announced she would resign rather than face recall. In a press release, she stated that her family had made a "unanimous decision" to live together in Redmond.
The recall of Robinson and Harris moved ahead, and voters overwhelmingly chose to boot the councilors from office, with more than 70% voting in favor of recalling them. The remaining council members named Russell Griffin and Tim Rosener to fill their vacant seats. Lee Weislogel, a former councilor, was appointed as interim mayor. Weislogel served until the following March, when Keith Mays was elected to the position; Mays continues to serve as Sherwood mayor to this day.
On Jan. 2, 2018, Sherwood city staff presented the council with an updated agreement with the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette to continue operating the rec center. It was approved unanimously.
Clark-Endicott ran successfully for a seat on the Redmond City Council in 2018. Her husband, George Endicott, continues to serve as mayor.
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