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Report paints damaging portrait

KIGHT: Describes release of report as well-planned witch hunt as election draws near DAOUST: Describes Mayor Kight as manipulative, deceptive


Four weeks shy of election day, city councilors say an investigation report released about a controversial structure on Troutdale Mayor Jim Kight’s property — and his reaction to the report — speaks loud and clear.

“The pattern of manipulation and deception is sickening — that somebody is trying to use every trick in the book to deflect from reality the gravity of this situation,” Councilor Eric Anderson said.

The Troutdale City Council, in a 6-0 vote Tuesday, released the 95-page document, made up of 42 interviews and drawing from hundreds of documents over an eight-month investigation. Kight abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.

The final report, written by Bev Russell, a third party investigator, illustrates Kight’s contentious relationships with city staff and councilors and the manipulation that allowed him to build a 2,032-square-foot structure initially designated as as a home, and later changed to a shed.

Russell concludes that Kight influenced city staff to get what he wanted, along with failing to meet technical codes for the structure on his property.

“It’s unethical behavior for an elected official, and the people have a right to know before they vote,” said Doug Daoust, a city councilor and Kight's opposition in the upcoming mayoral election.

Kight called the report “one of the best maneuvered political witch hunts Troutdale has seen in recent years."

“The comments by city staff members were pretty petty,” Kight added. “I was hoping we would have an open channel to guide me in the intricacies of working with city employees. I wish they would have come to me directly.”

He called comments describing him as “intimidating, argumentative and demanding” by Debbie Stickney, city recorder, and another, Kelley Graham, receptionist, describing him as “pushy and a bit aggressive,” as “gratuitous remarks and innuendos made by a variety of individuals.”

He said the comments resulted from a clamor made over a simple misunderstanding, and that the comments didn’t pinpoint specific incidents.

“The contractors were particularly hostile after contracts were terminated,” Kight said.

“I find it egregious that $48,000 in taxpayer money was spent to do this smear campaign,” he said. “My opponent is using this as a sledgehammer to denigrate my reputation in the community.”

Kight says he still stands a chance in the mayoral race, despite the report.

“I think they’ll (the people) weigh the recent success of the city against somebody who is a political opportunist," he said. "They’ll have to make their own determination.”

Anderson said the thousands of dollars in mediation with Kight, the staff time lost and the transgressions on Kight’s part require a remedy.

“I want this fixed,” Anderson said. “This is not right. If Jim Kight were reading this report about any of us — if we had done the same thing — he would be calling for our heads.

“I was trying to peek behind the curtain. Now the curtain is wide open. People need to understand fully what has gone on in our city and lengths people will take to deceive.”

Daoust said calling the report a political maneuver steers away from the truth.

“When you talk about somebody who lies, who you do not trust, and they don’t do anything to accept the role they played, it’s inexcusable," Daoust said. "Quite frankly, we’re all disappointed in him.”




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