1994: Drama surrounds city councilor, city manager, editor


Oregon Gov. Tom McCall declared a state of disaster caused by heavy flooding. Many homes in the Paradise Park area near Eagle Creek were flooded with up to 5 feet of water in basements. Several mobile homes in that area were nearly submerged.


Clackamas County Deputy Sheriff Judy Gage trained eight parent volunteers in preparation for a “fingerprint identification day” at Eagle Creek School. For 10 cents and a parent consent form, children could have their fingerprints recorded. The Sheriff’s Office recommended children be fingerprinted for identification purposes in case of abduction or going missing.


Managing Editor David Bates accused City Councilor Sandy Pense of hypocrisy in an editorial. After City Manager Shelley Jones had given city employees a few hours off before a holiday weekend, Pense had requested an executive session to discuss Jones’ management.

The city attorney told the paper that holding such a session was “not appropriate.” The then Clackamas County News gave Pense a list of questions about her rationale.

Pense responded to two.

“I find accountability at City Hall to be nil at this time and feel that we have some questions that need to be answered. I am not the only person to question these unscheduled times away from the office, but when these concerns went to Mayor Vail, they were told to ‘forget it!’” Pense wrote.

Bates had forceful criticism for Pense in his editorial.

He accused Pense of personally disliking Jones due to the city manager’s opposition to a controversial anti-gay measure.

Pense had supported the measure.

“(Pense) wants you to think she’s just watching out for the taxpayers.

“Maybe she is.

“After all, Pense frequently asks during council meetings if some nickel-and-dime line item in the monthly bills was ‘in the budget.’

“If that’s true, however, then we should recall that Pense was one of the people who carried the ball for the Oregon Citizens Alliance’s anti-gay initiative in Estacada last year. That little fiasco — which resulted in no tangible positive benefit for Estacada — cost local taxpayers about $3,500 in legal fees.

“I’ve been attending City Council meetings for quite a while, now, and I don’t recall her ever asking if that was ‘in the budget,’” Bates wrote.

“One wonders if the woman even recognizes her own hypocrisy,” Bates pondered later on in the damning editorial.

The paper’s thought of the week came from Osbert Sitwell: “The artist, like the idiot or clown, sits on the edge of the world, and a push may send him over it.”

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