Oregon City Voters Recall Mayor
Above photo: Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay defended himself after city commissioners criticized social media posts in which he downplayed police brutality against Black people.
Oregon City residents voted to remove Mayor Dan Holladay from office after a committee mounted a monthslong campaign to recall him.
The Clackamas County elections website at 8 p.m. Tuesday reported that of more than 13,500 votes cast, 68% voted in favor of ousting the mayor, while 32% voted not to recall him. Oregon City has 26,259 eligible voters, according to the elections website.
The ballot question asked residents, “Do you vote to recall Dan Holladay from the office of Mayor?”
Holladay did not respond to several requests for comment.
Adam Marl, campaign manager for the recall effort, said he was blown away by community support from across the political spectrum.
“Tonight’s results show that Oregon City is better than Dan Holladay,” he said. “We really showed that it’s still possible to bridge the partisan divide and do the good work of the community.”
A special election will be held to pick a new mayor in March. Oregon City Commission President Rachel Lyles Smith will lead city meetings until January, when the commission is scheduled to select a new president.
City commissioner Denyse McGriff, who was elected to the council last week after previously being appointed to her position, said it was time for the community to come together.
“I think it’s a pretty clear message from the community,” said McGriff, the first person of color ever elected to the Oregon City Council. “The community is asking for a change. They want civility, they want openness, they want people that are there working on their behalf.”
City residents easily gathered 3,000 signatures — well above the 2,400 needed to force a special election. Marl said the effort began in late June, and that because of the pandemic, volunteers relied heavily on social media and mailing signature sheets to 11,000 households.
Holladay has been the subject of several controversies this year. In April, he suggested Oregon City businesses defy Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus order and remain open instead of closing, as the governor had ordered to slow the spread of the pandemic. Holladay drew criticism from city commissioners, and an investigation completed in October found that while he didn’t break any laws, he violated the rules of the city commission.
In June, he came under scrutiny for downplaying police brutality against Black people during ongoing social justice protests. He also was criticized for a social media post asking how there could be “protests, riots, looting and vandalism” in Portland but the state wouldn’t sanction Fourth of July fireworks shows in some of Oregon’s smaller communities.
A 2016 effort to recall Holladay failed when petitioners could not gather enough signatures.
Marl said the group has no plans to make any official endorsements for Holladay’s replacement.