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Newberg woman files lawsuit against chief petitioner in the effort to recall Berschauer

While decided months ago, the unsuccessful effort to recall Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer continues to gather attention, this time for pushback against one of the organizers of the campaign.

A Newberg woman has filed a class-action lawsuit in Yamhill County Circuit Court seeking to hold Phil Fovre accountable for his role in attempting to oust the controversial commissioner. Fovre is a leader of the advocacy group Save Yamhill County.COURTESY PHOTO: YAMHILL COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE - A lawsuit filed by a Newberg woman alleges that statements in a petition to recall Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer, circulated earlier this year, contained false statements.

The complaint for injunctive relief was filed in late March by Newberg resident Kirsten Creer, who characterized herself in the court document as a "tax paying citizen of Yamhill County." It mirrors allegations made by Berschauer in the run-up to the recall vote in March that the petition circulated by Save Yamhill County contained false statements and, therefore, was in violation of state law.

Less than a week before ballots began arriving in mailboxes across the county, attorneys for Berschauer demanded that SYC retract statements made by petitioners. Berschauer threatened legal action, but never followed through on the threat before the vote was taken.

In the complaint, filed by Creer on her own behalf and without the aid of an attorney, she alleges that "Phillip Fovre petitioned for a recall election under false pretenses" and that "the recall election ballot contains false statements related to the public officer subject to the recall."

"Phillip Fovre petitioned for the March 22, 2022, recall election with reckless disregard that the recall contains false statements related to the public officer subject to the recall," Creer claimed without explaining what false statements were contained within the petition.

Because "taxpaying citizens of Yamhill County (were) affected by this recall election," Creer is asking that the court award each taxpayer in Yamhill County $1.25. As there are more than 81,000 adults in the county, many who presumably pay some property tax, a ruling in Creer's favor could hit Fovre with a judgment in excess of $100,000. The lawsuit seeks other relief the court would consider proper as well.

Since March there has been no additional court filings in the case by Creer.

"There's been no follow-up from the initial letter I received threatening legal action against a legitimate recall campaign that lost," Fovre said, adding "I have no further comments."

In a recent interview with the McMinnville News-Register, Creer said she was compelled to take action.

"I believe someone needs to say, 'enough is enough.' We've had two recalls this year and it's only April, and it's costing taxpayers a lot of money," she said, referring to the recall efforts against Berschauer and Newberg school board members Dave Brown and Brian Shannon earlier in the year.

Attempts to contact Creer for comment were unsuccessful by press time Saturday morning.

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