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Molalla city councilor steps down as council president following court conviction

After pleading guilty in Clackamas County Circuit Court of making false statements in the 2014 voters' pamphlet, George Pottle resigns as council president, but will finish his current term, ending in 2017.


--- - PottleMolalla City Councilor George Pottle officially resigned his position as council president at Molalla's Oct. 28 council meeting following his conviction in Clackamas County Circuit Court of violating Oregon election laws by knowingly making a false statement in the 2014 Voters’ Pamphlet.

On Oct. 16, Pottle was sentenced to 18 months probation, fined $1,500 and required to do 80 hours of community service. He has been, however, allowed to remain on city council and finish his current term, which ends in 2017.

Pottle addressed his situation toward the end of Wednesday’s city council meeting, after a handful of Molalla citizens stood up to express their support for him following his conviction.

“I’m quite taken by all the support from everybody,” Pottle said. “I actually was expecting to fight a bear tonight. I was looking forward to meeting my accusers.

“I disappointed my family and friends. I lost the trust and respect of my council, the mayor — and to include everybody — city hall. Most of all, you the people of Molalla,” he said. “I’m glad to see there are people who live around us who have done no wrong. I made a mistake I can’t undo, and being a city council member, I will live with this the rest of my life.

“Of course, if that was not enough, my military service got brought into the mix,” he said. “One thing I refuse to live with is having my military career messed with. The words 'stolen valor.' These are words that are unjustified.”

Pottle was referring to a statement made by Donald Stewart, of Oregon City, who filed a complaint with the Clackamas County Elections Division regarding Pottle’s claim in the 2014 Voters’ Pamphlet to having “a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering for the United States Air Force.” That complaint ultimately led to Pottle’s court conviction.

In the written complaint, Stewart also questioned Pottle’s “claim to be a Vietnam veteran,” which Stewart called “a fabrication.” With the complaint, Stewart attached a copy of Pottle’s DD214, (military discharge papers), which Stewart said clearly disputed Pottle’s claims. Stewart later stated: “He claims to be a Vietnam veteran, and he was never in Vietnam. That is stolen valor.”

“If you were in the military and are honorably discharged, you can see my (discharge form),” Pottle continued in his statement Wednesday. “But you need to show me you were honorably discharged first. I also have my high school paperwork showing I did graduate (high school) with full points.

"The people of Molalla deserve the best they can possibly have up here to make these decisions," he continued. "With this being said, I will be stepping down as Molalla City Council president, effective immediately.”

Pottle’s statement was met with expletives from people in the room who appeared shocked by his announcement.

“Stand by,” Pottle said to those present. “There are other issues involved here. This is still a city of many people and choices. I’m honored to still be allowed to be on the council. We have a lot of people who could probably do a better job than I did. I accept being allowed to stay on the council, and we will continue as a whole to do the best job we can. Thanks for everyone who stood up for me. It’s been a tough week. Thank you very, very much.”

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