Mayor ordered train destroyed following threats
At a special meeting Wednesday, July 22, Metolius Mayor Carl Elliott told the rest of the City Council that he had ordered a wooden train destroyed July 17 because city staff members were receiving threats.
He asked the council to ratify his decision, which it did on a 5-1 vote.
"This is in regard of the wooden train being demolished," Elliott said.
The train in question was a wooden train the city bought, refurbished, and displayed in front of City Hall. In March, Cassandra Ruwaldt asked the city to remove the train because it was built by her stepfather, who was later convicted of sexually abusing Ruwaldt for a period of 10 years. She and Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche said her stepfather used the building of the train as an excuse to spend time with her so that he could abuse her.
In July, Elliott said, "we invited Cassandra to come and talk to us. She did not." So the City Council voted to keep the train and put it back in front of City Hall.
"After that decision, the city staff here started getting a lot of threats," Elliott told the council, " a lot of harassment. It was so bad, it was so horrifying that I sent a staff member home.
"After I made that decision," he said, ".... I made a decision to have our maintenance crew destroy the train."
He then asked for a motion to ratify his decision, which Council President Patty Wyler made.
All councilors voted for the motion except Denise Keeton.
After the vote, Elliott adjourned the meeting.
While Ruwaldt opposed the council's decision to put the train back at City Hall, she spoke out against breaking the law both on social media and an interview with the Pioneer.
"I have made very clear as myself, as a former (sheriff's) deputy of Jefferson County, 'Do not do anything illegal in my name,'" she told the Pioneer Friday.
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