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Syrett campaign files injunction against recall effort

Page 1 of legal complaint filed today in Lane County Circuit Court.
Brian Bull
Page 1 of legal complaint filed today in Lane County Circuit Court.

An official with Eugene councilor Claire Syrett’s campaign has filed an injunction in Lane County Circuit court against a recall election effort.

Petitioners who led the recall effort against the Ward 7 councilor find themselves the defendants in the legal complaint. The move follows their acquiring 1,500 signatures to launch a recall election, on Syrett’s positions including the possible expansion of EmX bus lanes in her ward.

Clair Syrett.
Clair Syrett.

Daniel Isaacson, Syrett’s campaign coordinator, alleges there are serious problems with how petitioners handled the process and represented her actions.

“The signature gatherers intentionally lied to the voters to fraudulently obtain their signature, to recall a democratically-elected public official,” Isaacson told KLCC. “The vote was not to implement EmX, but rather it was to continue to further study EmX on how it might be implemented. Nothing voted on.”

In a release, Syrett's campaign says five other city councilors joined her in the vote to advance the MovingAhead project to the next stage "as did the entire Lane Transit District Board."

Syrett’s campaign is seeking damages of $2,500 apiece from the plaintiffs, and for the court to invalidate the petition signatures.

Meanwhile, the “Recall Claire Syrett” group has come under fire from the collective, Eugene Neighborhoods Forum, which says it’s trying to determine if two of its members even reside in Ward 7, and are registered to vote in Oregon.

Ward 7 contains the Santa Clara, River Road, Trainsong, and Whiteaker neighborhood associations.

Update: An email seeking comment from the Recall-Claire-Syrett group was responded to late Sunday evening (Aug. 21), disputing claims made by Eugene Neighborhood Forum and stating they'll have an official response to the injunction Monday morning.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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