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Council roundup: questions about police, advisory board members appointed

The City Council met Aug. 8 for its last regular meeting until Sept. 12, and with such a long layoff ahead, the agenda was predictably packed. Code changes and the adoption of a new Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) were the headliners, but a number of other items were addressed over the course of the three-hour meeting.

Concerns about police

During the public comment portion of the evening, four residents expressed ongoing concerns about the West Linn Police Department — prompted in large part by the recent controversy surrounding Officer Tommy Newberry’s derogatory social media posts.

In July, Newberry was placed under administrative leave after the discovery of a series of Facebook made in reference to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The posts stated “Good luck with that” in reference to another user urging “Take them all out,” while another read, “When encountering such mobs remember, there are 3 pedals on your floor. Push the right one all the way down.”

Police are still investigating the matter, according to Police Chief Terry Timeus, who said the posts were “unacceptable.”

At the Aug. 8 meeting, resident Ken Pryor said the posts should be taken seriously across the community.

“This should be a time of calm, serious introspection and transparency for citizens and the city government of West Linn,” he said. “Among these matters ripe for discussion and public review are, ‘What are the recent statistics for arrest and citation and traffic stops? What percentage of those stops are people of color? What are the hiring practices and psychological screening for police officers? How are West Linn officers evaluated? What if any diversity training is required of West Linn officers, and what if any people of color are employees of the City of West Linn?”

The City Council, for its part, noted that it was taking the matter seriously, but could not comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Advisory and task force appointments

The Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of four new advisory board and task force members:

  • Municipal Fiber Task Force: Amit Armstrong
  • Public Safety Advisory Board: Kris Duncan
  • Planning Commission: Lamont King
  • Historic Review Board: Troy Inman
  • Next week

    While regular meetings are on hiatus until September, the Council will meet Monday, Aug. 15 for a continuation of the 18000 Upper Midhill Drive (Chene Blanc) development application.

    Though the Council heard testimony from both the project developers — Upper Midhill Estates, LLC — and a number of residents who opposed the project at a July 25 meeting, it ultimately opted to reopen the record to allow for the inclusion of a May 4 letter sent on behalf of Upper Midhill Estates. Thus, the public hearing was extended to Aug. 15 to allow for responses to said letter.

    The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at city hall.

    For more information, visit bit.ly/2aJI5ub.