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Troutdale council should release unabridged report


Troutdale Mayor Jim Kight should resign his position. We made that point in an editorial in the Aug. 10 edition of The Outlook. That position is unchanged. Because the City Council has voted 6-0 in favor of calling for his resignation, The Outlook is convinced that Kight has nothing to gain by finishing the final few months of his term.

We feel just as strongly that the people of Troutdale deserve a mayor and city council that work well together. The divisiveness between the mayor and council can only cause harm and interfere with real progress.

What is beginning to become clear is that Kight is more concerned about keeping what he has, rather than doing what’s in the best interests of his constituents.

The dominoes have begun to fall: A vote of no confidence by the council, the local newspaper calling for his resignation, and little, if anything, from the general public that would show an undercurrent of support for his continued service as mayor.

We wonder how far down the rabbit hole Kight plans to take the city of Troutdale in his effort to retain a seat that he likely will lose in the November election.

The one thing that could go a long way toward pushing public opinion in one direction or the other is the one thing that has eluded everyone except for the Troutdale City Council and the city attorney.

The Outlook has tried and failed to gain access to an unabridged investigation report commissioned by the elected City Council. The end result is the public is being denied access to the full story. The public paid a private investigator to look into the series of events that led to the city approving the permits for the structure that violates city code on property owned by Mayor Kight.

We’ve been told the unabridged document contains opinions and recommendations that have been removed from the final public document. The unabridged report is 95 pages, while what was released to the public is a mere 18 pages. The City Council says Troutdale residents don’t need to know what’s on the remaining 77 pages. Troutdale residents did not pay for a sanitized version of history. Nor should they be content with knowing their council does not trust them to separate facts from opinions and conclusions.

The good people of Troutdale deserve to know the whole story, which will help them arrive at their own conclusions about who is right, who is wrong, and who should resign, or who they should vote for.

Oregon public records law originally was put in place to ensure government transparency. But in recent years, the law has become more of a tool to prohibit the release of information. Government entities in Oregon now find it simple to use exceptions contained in the law to withhold just about anything they want to keep quiet.

That constitutes a miscarriage of the law’s original intent, and which is being perpetuated in this case by the Troutdale City Council’s choice to muzzle vital information. The Outlook calls upon the Troutdale City Council to do the right thing by releasing the unfiltered document. If the council has nothing to hide, then it should not fear a full airing of the investigation documents.