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1993: Petitioners attempt to get an anti-gay initiative on the ballot

1927 Ford Motor Company announced the production of a new car. Twenty years after its first manufacture, the companies’ Model T Ford was still one of the most popular cars in the automobile industry.

“The Model T Ford car was a pioneer,” Henry Ford said. “There was no conscious public need of motor cars when we first made it. There were few good roads. This car blazed the way for the motor industry and started the movement for good roads everywhere.

“It is still the pioneer car in many parts of the world which are just beginning to be motorized. But conditions in this country have so greatly changed that further refinement in motor car construction is now desirable and our new model is a recognition of this.”

1983 The Clackamas County News ran an entertaining front-page feature on “junk junkie” Mike Doolittle, owner of Mike’s Second Hand Store. Doolittle majored in business administration and minored in psychology at Oregon State University, but he’d long harbored a love of “junk.” By age 3, he was dragging junk home from the neighbors and getting in trouble for putting it under the house. By age 9 or 10, he was selling what he found for profit.

Mike’s Second Hand Store had been a successful business for three years by the time Doolittle was 30. His studies in psychology came in handy, as he was always dealing with interesting characters. The article noted “a woman who offered to exchange sex for anything she might want in the store.”

It also relayed the story of a man who left excrement in the bottom of a box of miscellaneous junk. He returned to the store about an hour later and asked Doolittle if he’d found anything interesting in the box. The “unflappable” Doolittle replied, “No, just the same old crap,” and walked away.

Aside from wacky incidents such as these, Doolittle had a loyal customer base. “There are people who will stand around here all day on Tuesday when I unload my truck. And there are people who will follow my truck. And there are people who will follow my truck into town on Sunday if they think I’ve been to an auction to buy some stuff,” Doolittle said.

1993 Petitioners from the Oregon Citizens Alliance gathered signatures in an attempt to put an anti-gay initiative on the ballot for Estacada voters in the fall of 1993.

The initiative would prohibit civil rights protections based on employees’ sexual orientation and “the promotion of homosexuality” through an amendment to the city charter.

The petition was brought to City Hall with more than 300 signatures. A first count showed 261 signatures were valid. A minimum of 170 signatures was required to put an initiative on the ballot.

An OCA volunteer from Oak Grove was coordinating the campaign in Estacada and three other cities.

Earlier that year, the City Council had passed a resolution to oppose the initiative and urge citizens against signing the petitions. Sandy Pense was the lone councilor to vote against the resolution — she favored the anti-gay initiative instead.

Estacada First Baptist Church pastor Brent Dodrill also supported the initiative. “Their agenda is that they want their lifestyle to be accepted and promoted in the schools,” he said. “To say they’re discriminated against, I just don’t see that.”

However, Dodrill noted, “I don’t want this to be a whole part of my ministry; my ministry is to promote the message of Jesus Christ.”

The city of Estacada had paid $800, more than twice the budgeted amount, for legal counsel in dealing with the OCA’s anti-gay initiative.

City Recorder Denise Carey noted that the legal fees would continue to rise, especially if the initiative was approved and a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality arose.

Estacada News reporter Isabel Gautschi researched newspaper archives for this column.

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