Hold Oregon City mayor accountable through recall
What got me involved in the effort to recall Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay was his post on Nextdoor that said, "Not to nitpick, but there were actually 10 unarmed (B)lack people killed by police nationally."
Mr. Holladay's post does not give any clear timeframe for when he believed those 10 Black people were killed, but I was frustrated that the mayor of our city, where I live and pay taxes, could so blithely post such inaccurate statistics.
The post was made in early June and goes on to claim that six of those 10 were actively attacking officers and the other four are under indictment or standing trial (for what, he doesn't say). Holladay added, "that is hardly an epidemic." Additionally, around the time he wrote that Nextdoor post, Mr. Holladay refused to sign a collective statement with the other 25 members of the Metropolitan Mayors Consortium condemning George Floyd's death.
As part of a local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice since 2017, I have stood with family members of those, many more than 10, killed or brutalized in Multnomah and Clackamas counties alone. Not all of them were Black and African American, but a majority were, and it has been the honor of my life to stand with their families.
Mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers mourn their dead children on street corners or in front of courthouses to demand accountability and transparency for how and why their loved ones died. As a mother myself, I feel their loss, and I wonder if I would have such strength to publicly show palpable grief while asking for justice. I couldn't let such egregious statements by our mayor slide by without speaking up.
Since joining the Recall Dan Holladay effort, I have learned about the many reasons why citizens from all over the political spectrum — Republican to Democrat, conservative to liberal — support the recall effort. You can read more about those reasons in past issues of this newspaper's op-ed section, but they include lawsuits against the city because of Mr. Holladay's actions, the waste of taxpayer dollars, the Oregon attorney general's cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Holladay, the mayor's manipulation of the Citizens Involvement Committee for personal reasons, and several concerning public comments to his constituents.
Yet we in Oregon City are not alone. Other mayors around the Portland metro area are being spotlighted, too. The West Linn mayor felt pressure to resign because of police behavior against a Black citizen, Lake Oswego's mayor is under heat for recent statements he made about Black and African American lives, and people from all sides are criticizing and asking for the resignation of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for not acting as a leader while protests continue downtown.
These towns need a leader who knows and communicates facts, who acknowledges systemic problems, and who is strongly committed to helping their city solve the causes of those problems at the local level.
The mayor of any city sets an example for the other branches of city government. I want the example in Oregon City to be one of humility for the honor of being elected to the position.
I've heard the argument that we citizens elected Holladay, so we should put up with him until his term is complete in 2022. I've heard people say recalls focus too much on the negative. Recalls are a tough political choice to be sure, and a recall effort is a ton of work during a summer where most of us are already overwhelmed. However, as someone who worked in the field of domestic violence for over 20 years, I know that holding people accountable for hurtful words and actions is actually the most caring thing we can do.
By participating in direct democracy through this recall effort, thousands of politically diverse volunteers and petition signers have united toward one common goal: ethical and accountable leadership for Oregon City. You have likely received a mailer containing a signature sheet, instructions and a prepaid mailing envelope so you can sign the petition from the comfort of your own home. Show up for your beloved Oregon City and all those who live and work here by signing the petition today so you'll have a chance to recall Dan Holladay come November. For more information, go to recalldanholladay.com or call 503-836-7184.
Nancy Slavin is on the leadership team of the Clackamas County chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. A longtime violence-prevention educator in rural Oregon, she now lives and works from home in Oregon City.
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