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Clackamas River Water fight heads to court

UPDATE: Clackamas County appoints three more commissioners, so six people think they're on on the five-member board


Calling the appointment of two commissioners to the Clackamas River Water board last month “reckless behavior,” Michael V. Nixon, an attorney for CRW General Manager Lee Moore, filed for a temporary restraining order on the action on Wednesday in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Nixon called CRW commissioners Patricia Holloway, Grafton Sterling and Jeff Monroy’s voting to place Moore on administrative leave a “compounding of their ongoing morbid spree of personal destruction, chaos, disorder and anarchy” in the county.

“They must be stopped,” Nixon wrote. “Only this honorable court has the power to do it, and…restore law and order…to the Clackamas River Water District.”

The restraining-order request was filed in response to the commissioners’ Nov. 2 request for a Clackamas County judge to declare the Oct. 30 appointment of Monroy to the commission as legal.

On that date, the commissioners say the Clackamas River Water board had two vacancies, and Barbara Kemper was the third sitting commissioner before she resigned Oct. 31. Michael Cardwell resigned July 16, and Commissioner Kami Kehoe left her position, they contend, by moving from the district and registering as an elector outside the CRW district before Sept. 1.

James D. Huffman, attorney for the CRW commissioners, noted it’s important for the public to understand that Holloway and Sterling appointed Monroy under the provisions of Oregon Revised Statutes 198.320 and 174.130, and that he was the first appointment. Sterling, Holloway and Monroy then unanimously nominated former County Commissioner Larry Sowa to the board.

Oregon rules say, “A vacancy in an elected office in the membership of the governing body of a district shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the remaining members of the governing body. If a majority of the membership of the governing body is vacant or if a majority cannot agree, the vacancies shall be filled promptly by the county court of the county in which the administrative office of the district is located.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Clackamas County commissioners named to the CRW board Sowa and two unincorporated Oregon City residents, Kenneth Humberston, a former councilor and mayor of Dunsmuir, Calif., and Hugh Kalani, a retired Clackamas County public works employee. A selection committee on Tuesday recommended Kalani and Humberston from 13 applicants who applied in response to the county’s recruitment process that began Oct. 11.

When they're sworn in on Nov. 13, that would make six different people who are all supposedly on the five-member board, so the court could take sides. A recall petition is being circulated against Holloway and Sterling, and the other three seats will be up for election in May.




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  • 29 Jul 2014

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  • 30 Jul 2014

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