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Estacada City Council to issue statement in support of peaceful assemblies in city's public spaces

PMG FILE PHOTO - Estacada City Councilors say they disagree with Mayor Sean Drinkwine's statements criticizing the local Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

During a meeting on Monday, June 22, Estacada City Councilors expressed a mutual disagreement with Mayor Sean Drinkwine's earlier comments about shutting down recent Black Lives Matter vigils. Moving forward, the council plans to issue a statement in support of peaceful assembly in the city.

Drinkwine has since apologized for a post he published in the Estacada Neighborhood Watch Uncensored Facebook Group Monday morning, which stated: "I would not and have not condoned these BLM Vigils in our community" and that "All city staff and I are working tirelessly to shut these Vigils down."

Estacada City Manager Denise Carey clarified that city staff has not been working to stop the demonstrations.

"We have no reservations with people using (the area near) City Hall," she said.

"(We) want to make perfectly clear that no one working or representing the city of Estacada has ever made any attempt to limit anyone's right to peaceful assembly regarding any matter," the City Councilors added in their statement. "We value the diversity in our city, including diversity of opinions, and our focus has always been protecting the citizens of our citizens who are exercising their first amendment rights."

The Council plans to potentially hold a workshop or town hall meeting on the subject in the future.

Several community members spoke in response to Drinkwine's comments, even after Drinkwine had deleted his post online.

"I think it's important that Estacada make some public visible statements to our community, to the people that live here that harbor hate for people of color and to the people that support people of color, about exactly where the city stands," Kate Anderly said. "This is not a time to be neutral. This is a time to take a stand up and stand for what's right."

"This is not a political statement. This is civil rights," added Fred Weiler. "We need to have a clear, concise statement coming from the city of Estacada that we do not support racism in any way, shape or form."

Other speakers asked if the City Council had plans to consider a resolution condemning racism and whether there were plans for public education on the topic and also expressed concern about city business being discussed on social media.

Drinkwine thanked community members for sharing their views.

"I am not a racist, by far, I love my citizens in this city and I was trying to make things safe so we wouldn't be in an altercation," Drinkwine said. "I was just trying to keep it simple, but in the process I failed because I am not the best writer."

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