King City council recall in limbo as city moves ahead with Kingston Terrace plans

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At the Jan. 31 King City City Council meeting, Mayor Jaimie Fender (left) swears in newly appointed City Councilor Jan Tysoe while Councilor Marc Manelis looks on. Barbara Sherman/Tigard Life
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An election in King City to recall three city councilors and the mayor remained a nail-bitter at Tigard Life’s press time and was headed to a recount. The results were just too close to call ahead of the final, certified count set to be released by the Washinton County Elections Division on March 6 at 4 p.m.

Election Results

As of Feb. 13, Councilor Laurie Petrie had 901 votes (51.19 percent) in favor of the recall and 859 (48.81 percent) opposed to the recall; Mayor Jaimie Fender had 895 votes (50.68 percent) to be recalled and 871 (49.32 percent) against the recall; Councilor Smart Ocholi had 882 votes (50.52 percent) in favor of the recall and 864 (49.48 percent) opposed; and finally, Councilor Kate Mohr had 898 votes (51.34 percent) favoring recall and 851 (48.66 percent) in opposition to the recall.

As of Feb. 13, 1,782 ballots had been cast out of 3,864 registered voters, for an overall turnout of 46.12 percent.

Potential Recount

Washington County Elections provided the following statement regarding a recount: “ORS 258.290 is the relevant statute for this situation. It states: ‘If the official canvass of votes of an election reveals that the difference in the number of votes cast for or against any measure is not more than one-fifth of one percent of the total votes cast for and against the measure, the Secretary of State, in the case of a measure for which the Secretary of State is the filing officer, and the county clerk who conducted the election in the case of any other measure, shall order a full recount of all votes cast for the measure.’”

Recall efforts started last fall after the City Council in the summer of 2023 voted to approve the Kingston Terrace Master Plan and King City Transportation System Plan, with Councilor Shawna Thompson casting the only votes in opposition to the plans.

Kingston Terrace, 528 acres of mostly rural properties and farms, is located between the western boundary of the city, the Tualatin River, and Beef Bend and Roy Rogers roads. King City added the area to its urban growth boundary (UGB) in late 2018 after getting approval from the Metro Council.

Since that time, city officials and planning consultants have worked to come up with a plan to deal with the area’s natural topography while planning for transportation routes, a town center, 3,300 to 3,600 housing units of different types, and park and recreation opportunities within about 318 acres.

Many speakers at the public hearings and meetings over the years were primarily opposed to the proposed extension of Fischer Road from where it dead-ends in the Edgewater subdivision because of disruption to existing homes and established neighborhoods plus the potential to cause environmental damage. City officials countered that they collaborated with stakeholders and community members and followed the recommendations of the impartial experts they hired.

Vandalism Reported

Once the election date of Feb. 13 was set, campaign signs both in favor of and opposed to the recall dotted front yards in King City.

Fender has reported incidents of vandalism at her home at City Council meetings and spoke of the necessity of adding security cameras. On the morning after the election, King City City Manager Mike Weston, who has been with the city for eight years, also was targeted.

At least two city entrance signs were sprayed with “Fire Weston,” and Fender sent out the following message: “I appreciate emotions are high in King City right now but this is absolutely unacceptable. ‘Fire Weston’ has been spray painted on all ‘Welcome to King City’ signs. If you or your neighbor have a security camera facing the signs or have any information related to this criminal activity, please get in touch with the King City Police Department.”

Land Annexation

In the meantime, it was business as usual at City Hall. At the Jan. 17 City Council meeting, the council voted 6 to 0 in favor of an annexation application for approximately 210 acres of land in Kingston Terrace on behalf of New Homes Inc. submitted by Pacific Community Design. According to the application, “this also includes the portion of SW Beef Bend Rd between 137th Ave. and SW Roy Rogers Rd right of way south of midline, and the right-of-way for SW Roy Rogers Rd. and SW Elsner Rd. adjacent to the properties proposed for annexation.”

The application added that as required by the Community Development Code, “the properties shall be rezoned upon annexation in accordance with the Kingston Terrace Master Plan…”

Staff noted that the next step is the development agreement, and the public will have lots of opportunity to comment before construction starts, and they hoped that this process would provide a template for other property owners down the road. “We almost doubled our size,” Weston said.

New Councilor Appointed

A special City Council meeting was held Jan. 31 to appoint a new city councilor to replace Micah Paulsen, who resigned effective Dec. 31 after he sold his home and moved out of the city. There were four applicants for the position, who all provided long resumés listing their employment and community service: Jan Tysoe, currently a member of the Planning Commission; Gretchen Buehner, currently a member of the Planning Commission and a previous member of the City Council; Karl Swanson, who was involved in the planning process for the Edgewater development; and Stephen Gearhart, who is a member of the King City Civic Association Landscape Architectural Review Committee.

With both Swanson and Gearhart active in the effort to recall members of the City Council, Fender commented at the beginning of the selection process, “This will be an interesting evening, and I should acknowledge the elephant in the room – two of the applicants are part of the recall effort.”

All four applicants were interviewed by council members who asked each one the same questions, which was followed by Tysoe being nominated and approved by a 5 to 0 vote.

After the meeting, Tysoe said, “I am excited and looking forward to serving and doing the best I can. I want to help the city grow and move forward.”

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