Critic of Gov. Kate Brown denied spot on locks commission
Wilsonville City Councilor Ben West denounced Gov. Kate Brown's decision not to approve his nomination to the Willamette Falls Locks Commission (WFLC) at a work session Monday, April 15.
West has been a steadfast critic of Brown — particularly regarding Oregon's foster care system — and believed Brown denied the nomination for political reasons.
"As a foster child advocate, it is no secret that during the election cycle I was openly critical of the governor's failed leadership in taking meaningful action to address Oregon's broken foster care system," West said during the work session. "The message that the governor is sending is that if you oppose me or bring a different point of view, then I will shut you out of the Democratic process. That is petty and vindictive."
Mayor Tim Knapp was quick to clarify that West's statements did not reflect the City of Wilsonville's view.
"I feel compelled to make a comment at this point that the city has a long and much appreciated collaborative relationship with the administration in this state and that we as a city intend to continue that. Councilor West has expressed his personal views, but those are not to be construed as the views of the council or the city as a whole," he said at the work session.
Kate Kondayen, who is the deputy communications director in the governor's office, said in an email that Brown "looks at the overall composition of a board or commission and takes balance into account, as well as diverse backgrounds and experiences. The practice of evaluating a wide pool of candidates is standard practice, and she asked the City of Wilsonville for additional recommendations for that seat in order to have a wider pool for consideration."
Wilsonville is one of three city governments that has a representative on the locks commission, which is an advisory commission that is developing a plan for reopening the Willamette Falls Locks.
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