PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — In a controversial move, embattled Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick attended his own recall campaign planning meeting in what he calls an attempt to learn the motives behind a grassroots effort to oust him from office.
Several attendees at the meeting, at Tabor Space in Southeast Portland, were surprised by Novick’s attendance at the meeting. It is the campaign’s first official meeting since recall petitions were filed by Ray Horton Friday, July 11.
Roughly 30 people attended the meeting, something Horton said he was impressed with.
Conversation got heated over many civic topics, including the Powell Butte II reservoir, the Portland Street Fee and other contentious issues.
Horton said he held the meeting to gauge support and organize volunteers for the petition recall effort.
‘He has a valid point of view’
“This is really the start up, the real beginning,” he said. “The petitions are out in circulation now, so people can watch for them in public places.”
He said Novick’s presence didn’t disturb the meeting.
“I think he has a valid point of view, and we have a valid point of view,” he said. “I do appreciate Commissioner Novick coming in and he did keep his comments brief.”
Others were more focused on the petition to recall Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
“My emphasis is on the Mayor, not so much on Steve Novick”, said Portland resident Joe Walsh, who donned a custom T-shirt reading “Chuck Hales, schoolyard bully.”
“The Mayor and the council, all five of them, have gone along with things that have angered the citizens of Portland to the degree we are calling for a recall,” he said.
“The fact that Councilman Novick is here today to listen to what we have to say makes me believe we have their attention.”
Novick said he was there because he wanted to know the motives behind the recall effort.
As always, he defended the street fee proposal as the only solution to a broken system inherited in 2012.
“Thank you very much for coming, it showed balls,” one attendee said to Novick as he left the speaker’s table.
The campaign needs 34,921 signatures in order to force recall elections in October for both Hales and Novick.