At the Jan. 28 West Linn City Council meeting our mayor, John Kovash, personally undermined the hearing process in apparent support of the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership by subverting the will of the people of West Linn.

During the pre-council meeting, it was suggested that they needed a 3-1 decision to be able to influence Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals at the next round of hearings. Thus, it was encouraged that the councilors avoid a 2-2 decision, which would allow the planning commission’s decision to stand.

During the city council hearing, our mayor denied having any ex parte contacts and told others to avoid submitting new evidence that would require the decision to be held over to another meeting. In the mayor’s testimony he stated that our planning commission had failed in its job to review this application and charged it with introducing new interpretations of code that would change the course of the future planning in West Linn.

While Councilor Jody Carson seemed to endorse this view, both councilors Mike Jones and Jenni Tan voiced support of the professionalism of our planning commissioners and supported their interpretation of our codes.

Upon realizing they were facing a 2-2 decision that would allow the planning commission decision denying the plant expansion to proceed, our mayor brought up recent ex parte discussions he failed to announce and introduced new evidence that he had warned others not to do. This forced the decision to be put off another two weeks, which allows LOT additional time to try and influence the decision in its favor.

Our mayor appeared to purposely flaunt the rules of the council and his own directions to benefit LOT over the will of the people of West Linn while belittling the work of our planning commission. Our mayor should resign or, at the very least, recuse himself from future hearings on this matter. 

Lamont King is a resident of West Linn.

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