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Cornelius recall could happen in October

Organizers say they've gathered more than 600 signatures to remove mayor and two councilors from office

As the 90-day time limit for gathering signatures winds down, one area recall election seems more and more likely, while another is increasingly looking like a long shot.

In Cornelius, chief recall petitioner Brad Coffey says he and his group of citizens have gathered more than 600 signatures to recall the city's mayor, Neal Knight, and two city councilors, Mari Gottwald and Jamie Minshall.

But as Coffey was preparing to turn in his signed petitions Tuesday, Jodi and Jason Giddings were redoubling their efforts to gather the signatures they need to recall Forest Grove School Board members Anna Tavera-Weller and Terry Howell.

Right now, Jason Giddings thinks their effort has collected 800 signatures on each petition, putting them about halfway to the required 1,616 signatures needed for a recall.

That's a problem, considering the recall effort has about 33 days left. Recall backers now have to get 24 signatures a day to keep up.

Jason Giddings said falling behind has put his group, which moved to recall Tavera-Weller and Howell following their votes during a slash-and-burn budget season that saw $7.5 million in operating cuts applied to the district's budget, in a bit of a panic.

'In the last week we have managed to reorganize and are making significantly more progress now,' Giddings said. 'We will still have a hard time getting another 800 signatures over the next month but we are confident we will succeed.'

Giddings said the effort to gather signatures is now taking him and other recall proponents door-to-door.

'One person collecting door-to-door can get 10 signatures per hour whereas collecting at the flag or near the library and depending on people to stop, has only delivered about half that and continues to go down as we saturate these areas,' Giddings said. 'We also intend to spend time in front of each of the schools in the mornings and afternoons when school starts up again.'

Cornelius election would happen in October

Coffey, who lost his bid for re-election against Minshall and Gottwald last fall, said he'd turn his group's petitions in Tuesday afternoon.

'Recall of elected officials is not what anyone would wish for and we derive no pleasure in it. We strongly feel that the Mayor and Councilors have not considered the interest of the City,' Coffey said in an e-mail to media. 'The sooner that this is dealt with, the sooner the citizens and staff can move past this and start building a better future for Cornelius.'

Knight, Minshall and Gottwald, who campaigned as 'Team 3' during the fall election, drew the ire of a group of Cornelius citizens after they voted to fire popular city manager Dave Waffle in June.

Coffey began circulating petitions after the trio were eligible for a recall, on July 4, and said he's collected more than 600 for each recall petition, and 649 signatures to recall Knight. That's about half of the 1,210 votes Knight got in the 2010 election.

Once Coffey turns in the petitions, Washington County will survey verify the signatures. If at least 391 are valid, a recall election would be scheduled for mid-October unless all three officials resign their positions.