Local government leaders came together to issue a statement Wednesday, Jan. 6, denouncing the rioting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. – which included the murder of a Capitol Hill police officer among five deaths – and called for communities to “come together to participate in civil democracy.”
Signing on to the statement were Steve Moe, the council president functioning as mayor for the City of Springfield and Jeff Gowing, the recently reelected mayor of the City of Cottage Grove.
Notably absent from the statement was any representation from Creswell.
Creswell City Manager Michelle Amberg said that she shared the letter to the City Council and received no replies.
On Monday evening, in her first council meeting as the new mayor and with a newly sworn-in councilors, the events in Washington, D.C. were not mentioned by the council. Earlier in the day, Knudsen told The Chronicle “no comment” when asked about the City’s absence from the letter.
Other neighboring city officials, including those from Oakridge and Eugene, signed the denouncement.
The letter came about after Joe Berney, board chair for the county, released a statement denouncing the attempted coup at the Capitol, said Devon Ashbride, county public information officer.
The statement reads:
“There are certain principles and rights that we, as Americans, have established. Those include the right to peacefully assemble and our right to dissent – both of which are critical to our democracy. We cannot mistake what is happening (today) in Washington, D.C. for lawful or peaceful assembly.
“The actions that occurred at the U.S. Capitol (on Jan. 6) is an assault on our Republic and our Constitution; it goes far beyond the partisan politics that have so divided our nation in recent years.
“We denounce these actions.
We can and must do better. Please join us in committing to working together to ensure our communities continue to participate in civil democracy where we come together to improve our communities for everyone.”
While council bodies would normally need to meet in order to determine whether or not to endorse letters such as these, “in this instance, we felt it was important to release the joint statement on the same day as the riot,” Ashbridge said.
The county gave the leaders 90 minutes to respond. Alonzo Costilla, councilor, said after press time Tuesday that he read the email too late, and that he denounces the riot.
“I certainly denounce the actions that took place on Jan. 6. at the U.S. Capitol … let me be perfectly clear that It was not my intention to choose not to sign,” Costilla said. No other councilors responded to The Chronicle’s inquiry.
Council President Kevin Prociw said on Jan. 13 that he did not see the email in time, but “would have at least given it consideration.”
Alternatively, cities could also release their own statement independent of the letter, or choose to discuss it with its elected body at an upcoming meeting, neither of which have been done by the City of Creswell at press time this week.
Sunday, Gov. Kate Brown ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions be flown at half-staff until sunset Jan. 13 to honor two fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood.