City & Government, Cottage Grove

Savage, Stinnett safe

Fleck still vulnerable with Cottage Grove council recall signatures

COTTAGE GROVE – Chief petitioner Michael Borke turned in all signatures for the potential recall of councilors Mike Fleck, Chalice Savage, and Jon Stinnett last week on Oct. 23. Since then, it has been determined that there were insufficient signatures for the recall of Savage and Stinnett.

Borke said this can all be chalked up to a printing error, which is frustrating.

“It was all on a technicality. We had a printing error on the forms, and for whatever reason, when they got printed, some of the boxes either didn’t get printed, or they had the wrong back side – so all of those signature sheets got thrown out,” Borke said. “We should’ve had enough for all three of them, but that’s just what happened.”

He is considering when the three councilors’ terms end prior to restarting the recall process.

Although her position as a councilor was on the line, Savage said her “heart hurts” because she knows how hard people worked to get enough signatures for her recall. She said she was going to act with grace regardless of the outcome and is encouraging people with differing opinions to find solutions together.

“I don’t really know what else to say other than: Let’s get to work and figure it out. It’s going to take communication and collaboration,” Savage said. “Our community needs to heal, and I think we can work very well together if we’re working together and not against each other, so let’s all sit at the table and have conversations.”

Stinnett said he was concerned about the recall, but he hopes the people of Cottage Grove can “work together to do something great, something that the community can be proud of.”

“I didn’t think it was the best avenue for addressing the issues that were brought up, but I do applaud people’s engagement with the issues on both sides,” Stinnett said. “Continued engagement is gonna be critical as we continue to revisit the issues that the recalls raised. It’s going to take all of us having a true community conversation to get that done.”

Fleck will have his fate determined by Lane County Elections when the signatures are counted and verified – which will be before Nov. 22. He wrote that city recorder and elections official Mindy Roberts informed him that his petition will be moving forward to Lane County Elections on Oct. 26.

However, according to the letter Fleck received from Roberts, his petition only had 662 signatures. With 654 needing to be verified, Borke’s margins aren’t statistically favorable, meaning that if more than eight signatures are unverifiable, Fleck’s recall will not move forward to the next stage.

“My guess is that this will not be enough to get this on the ballot,” Fleck said.

Considering a major proponent of this recall attempt was due to how Cottage Grove has managed its unhoused situation, Fleck wrote that he is “uncertain where the City will go in the future regarding the shelter situation,” but that he “completely agrees that we need to address the conditions in the unmanaged sites – for the unhoused folks’ sake and for the community’s sake.”



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