Lawyer's opinion ramps up talk about recall of Seaside City CouncilSEASIDE - The city of Seaside will not allow a citizen vote on the controversial U.S. Highway 101 project.
"In my opinion the city's action in this matter is not subject to a referendum," Seaside City Attorney Dan Van Thiel wrote to opponents' lawyer Jill Gelineau after the Nov. 22 vote in favor of expanding the highway to five lanes. "I believe the city's action in this matter is not 'municipal legislation' but is rather 'administrative' in nature."
Gelineau, representing Seaside citizens who are against the project, is planning to seek an emergency hearing with Clatsop County Circuit Court. Paperwork for a referendum must be filed within 30 days after a law goes into effect.
Meanwhile, resident Richard Trucke said several people are considering a recall of some members of the Seaside City Council.
"It's going to happen," he said. "We don't want somebody that we can't trust at City Hall."
Last year, the city of Seaside was given a one-year extension by the Oregon Department of Transportation to make a decision or lose the funds. That extension will expire at the end of 2004, and a decision by then was necessary to secure $38 million in funding.
Trucke questioned why that detail was not made public before.
"Why didn't they press this to go to the people when they could?" he said.
Mayor Don Larson said the extension was made public. However, Council President Diana Schafer, who voted against the project, said she didn't know about it.
"It's kind of sad to do a recall when somebody doesn't get their way," Larson said. "I don't think it's very good for the city of Seaside."
He is concerned the city's reputation will be hurt by the controversy.
The recall is not a very popular idea. "I'm mad at Mayor Larson, but I'm not that mad at him," resident Marjorie Diebolt said.
Opposition to the project has been fueled by businesses concerned by lost access and reduced parking spaces, among other issues.
Christopher Lloyd, a former ODOT employee is among opponents. said he believes the majority of Seaside residents would prefer a three-lane highway with frequent right-turn lanes.
"There are alternative sources of funding for a much smaller project," said Lloyd.
Councilors Stubby Lyons, Don Johnson and Tim Tolan, who have just been re-elected unopposed, cannot be recalled for six months, according to the Clatsop County Elections Office.