The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, May 27, 2015, Page 5, Image 5

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
Cloverdale seeks to move beyond contentious election
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor
The contretemps that has
embroiled the Cloverdale Fire
District through a contentious
board of directors election
continued at the district’s May
20 board meeting.
The election saw two con-
tested seats, and a campaign
that included insinuations of
poor oversight of the district’s
recently approved $2.475 mil-
lion bond and accusations
of “malicious misinforma-
tion” being disseminated by
supporters of the challeng-
ers in the election. The vote
wrapped up on May 19, with
current board president Jerry
Johnson garnering 54 per-
cent to stave off a challenge
from Rob Malone, and Alycia
Downs securing 57 percent of
the vote to unseat incumbent
Tom Barrier.
Incumbent John Thomas
ran unopposed and Keith
Cyrus and Cindy Kettering
were not up for election.
Thomas told the board, “I
am sitting here with mixed
feelings of shame, embarrass-
ment, and anger.” He said he
feels the integrity of board
members has been called into
question, and the high level
of trust in the community has
been damaged.
He expressed frustration
with the conduct of his fellow
board member Keith Cyrus,
who voted in favor of the
bond and to approve plans for
its use, but called the board’s
oversight and the purchase of
vehicles into question during
the election campaign.
Vigorous debate is appro-
priate before a decision is
made, Thomas noted, but
once a decision is made, “each
board member must respect
the authority of the majority.”
And, he said, “board members
are responsible to make sure
that everything they tell the
public is true.”
Thomas moved that the
board members commit to
attending board training this
summer, a motion that got
unanimous approval.
“That’s the first step in rec-
tifying our bruised image,”
Thomas said.
Several district volunteers
weighed in with pointed com-
mentary regarding Cyrus’
conduct during the election.
Clinton Weaver took par-
ticular issue with Cyrus’ May
6 letter to the editor of The
Nugget where Cyrus said,
“Even though our two pri-
mary engines are older, I take
exception with comments that
we have substandard or unsafe
Weaver read into the record
a lengthy description of the
deficiencies of the district’s
fire apparatus, which the bond
will correct with the purchase
of new equipment.
“You, sir, get to lie in bed
and get a peaceful night’s
sleep every night. However,
if the pager sounds, I don’t,”
Weaver stated. “My fellow
firefighters and I have to get
up and ride in these trucks at 4
a.m. on roads sometimes cov-
ered in ice, and hope that the
driver doesn’t make a mistake,
or that misfortune strikes. It is
your duty to ensure our safety
and it looks to me as if you are
failing to do so.”
Cyrus responded mildly to
the criticism, saying, “I’d like
to thank you for the update …
I better-understand some of
these issues that apply to these
vehicles… Thank you. I’ve
been a volunteer. I understand
where you’re coming from.”
The board agreed that
there should be regular safety
updates as part of the fire
chief’s report.
Cyrus continued to advo-
cate for citizen oversight
of the district’s use of bond
funds. Fire Chief Thad Olsen
said the citizen input he has
received is that the fire pro-
fessionals should decide what
they need in a fire station. He
also noted that he trimmed
many “wants” out of the bond
request to make the ask as
Register now for
June Classes!
Find your creative niche.
Lake in the Dunes
Private lake access
March thru mid-June OK
O !
151 W. Main Ave., Sisters B NOW
541-549-FISH | Open 7 days a week
Reserve y your seat today!
392 W. Main Ave., #3 Tu-Sa 10-6
(Across from Bright Spot)
affordable as possible for dis-
trict patrons.
“I have deleted so many
things to reduce costs to save
the constituents money … but
that never gets brought up,” he
Olsen said he feels that
his diligence as fire chief has
been called into question.
“I take exception to it
and quite frankly I was very
upset,” he said.
Cindy Kettering told
Cyrus that if he wanted a
citizen oversight committee,
he should make a motion to
create one and let the board
vote it up or down. She also
noted that Cyrus had voted to
approve plans for the bond.
“It doesn’t need to be
rehashed over and over again,”
she said. “The majority has
ruled. Move on. Please.”
Several volunteers
expressed dismay that Cyrus
— a founding member of the
district — had caused divi-
sion in the district. Cyrus
mostly remained silent. He
provided The Nugget with a
list of “dos and don’ts” for the
district to regain public trust
that included a list of what he
considers misrepresentations
such as district concerns that
modern apparatus won’t fit
through the doors of Station 2.
He also dislikes the use of the
term “pole barn” to describe
the new fire station that will
be constructed with bond
The board and staff will
have to find a way to move
past abraded feelings and
work together to complete
the work laid out under the
bond request. Newly elected
board member Alycia Downs
attended the meeting and set
aside her previous duty of tak-
ing minutes to listen intently
to the discussions.
Board President Jerry
Johnson confessed to feeling
“sick at heart” on the day of
the election, but he said he
was gratified to see that the
taxpayers “looked through all
the negativity.”
Speaking directly to the
firefighters in attendance, he
said, “They realize the value
of what you guys do in this
district and a 20-year plan that
ensures not only the safety of
the district but of the firefight-
ers as well.”
Dr. Thomas R. Rheuben
Over 22 years Serving Sisters
541-549-0109 | 304 W. Adams Ave.