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Austin Throop served for just two meetings; quits after fellow council member called him out for referring to her as a terrorist on Facebook comment

PAT KRUIS  - Austin Throop, elected in November, resigned from the Madras City Council Jan. 29 after referring to a fellow council member as a terrorist in a Facebook comment that showed her without a mask with a small group of people outdoors following a run. After serving at only two Madras City Council meetings, Austin Throop resigned his seat as a councilor Friday, Jan. 29.

Throop, who was elected in November, resigned through a letter to Gus Burril, Madras city administrator. The letter read:

"To the City of Madras,

Effectively immediately today, 1/29/2021, I, Austin Throop, am resigning from my position on the City Council. I have other goals and dreams in life that require me outside of Madras in order to succeed.

I am going to find where I fit in, because I — understandably — do not fit in, in Madras.

While I respect the way others feel, I only ask that they remember me as someone who cared, possibly too much, for his community and wanting the best thing for it.

I wish the council nothing but the best and know that they will continue to serve the citizens of Madras faithfully."

Throop's resignation came within an hour of a special meeting of the Madras City Council on Friday, where his fellow councilors questioned his conduct, particularly his comment on a post of Councilor Jennifer Holcomb on the 3 Peaks Crossfit Facebook page. Crossfit is a locally owned gym. Holcomb was pictured with three others after going for a run. Throop commented, "All pathetic terrorists."

At the hearing, Holcomb said this was not the first time Throop had said demeaning things about her. "Uneducated, Trumpster, terrorist, Nazi, this is just a small sample of statements Mr. Throop has used against fellow citizens of Madras, Jefferson County, and me personally."

Other councilors also expressed concerns about Throop's conduct. Holcomb asked for his resignation. "I do not have any confidence that Mr. Throop can serve the citizens of this community. I do not believe Mr. Throop has the City of Madras and its residents in his best interests."

Talking with the Pioneer after the meeting, Throop said, "I realize what I did (with the recent Facebook postings) was a huge failure on my part. I have failed the voters and I'm sorry for that."

He says he ran for the office because he wanted to make a difference. "I'm disappointed where our country has been going the last four years. I just want things to get better."

Throop also says he learned from the experience. "That you always need to maintain your professionalism. It's the only way to get things done."

At the Friday meeting, councilors also questioned Councilor Royce Embanks' actions at the contentious Jan. 26 council meeting, where a contingent of We the People representatives advocated for the council to write a letter to Gov. Kate Brown supporting the right of local businesses to open.

Embanks raised his voice and stormed out during the Jan. 26 meeting after an area resident criticized Embanks' wife during testimony. At the Jan. 29 meeting, Embanks, a former Madras mayor, apologized for his behavior. His fellow councilors accepted his apology.

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