by Meta Maxwell
The “Recall Claire Syrett” campaign announced plans to deliver over 2,000 petition signatures from Ward 7 voters to Eugene City Recorder Katie Lasala. They will meet in front of the Lane County Public Services Building, 101 W. 10th, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 21.
The primary reason Syrett’s constituents signed the petition was her vote for building EmX bus-only lanes for nearly empty buses, which will reduce River Road from two lanes for cars in each direction to one lane each direction, cause massive traffic jams, and necessitate the removal of 112-136 trees.
Chief Petitioner Gerald Morton says he’s confident that the recall will be on a ballot in early September because there are far more than the necessary 1,365 signatures required to ensure a recall election.
After Lane County Elections Division verifies signatures and announces there are the necessary number for an election, Councilor Syrett will have five days in which she can resign. If Councilor Syrett doesn’t resign, within thirty-five days, the City of Eugene will hold a special election for Ward 7 voters. A simple majority of votes cast is sufficient to remove Councilor Syrett from her position.
In the event Councilor Syrett resigns or is recalled, the remaining seven city councilors would choose her successor. The regular election for a new Ward 7 councilor will occur in 2024. Prior to delivering the signatures, several individuals who have been centrally involved in the “Recall Syrett” campaign will explain how Councilor Syrett has ignored her constituents’ input and has neglected or worked against the interests of Ward 7 residents and businesses.
Mark Osterloh, who coordinated signature gathering, was impressed by how many Ward 7 voters he met were upset with Councilor Syrett and wanted her replaced as soon as possible, rather than waiting two years for the next Ward 7 election.
The “Recall Claire Syrett” campaign was initially launched by residents and business owners along River Road who would be adversely affected by a proposed EmX project that Councilor Syrett supported.
The campaign quickly discovered that many additional Ward 7 residents and business owners were upset by how badly Councilor Syrett had ignored or mishandled major city issues:
- Ignoring the surging crime in her ward;
- Doing little to provide sensible, sustainable solutions to homelessness;
- Removing critical protections for the Willamette River Greenway;
- Pushing for the complete elimination of single-family neighborhoods; and
- Supporting outside investors who intend to “gentrify” Ward 7’s more affordable neighborhoods.
As a Ward 7 resident, Janet Ayres, put it: “Syrett seems to be listening to the Realtors, Chamber of Commerce, LTD, and special interest groups pushing wild ideas. They are pushing EmX, up-zoning, and developing in the Greenway, rather than listening to our neighborhood concerns and taking care of our needs. Her actions are in direct opposition to the interests and concerns of Ward 7 citizens or the needs of the city of Eugene. People are worn out from her bad policies and lack of corrective action.”
The “Recall Claire Syrett” petitions formal “Reasons for demanding recall” states:
Claire Syrett voted to advance the multimillion dollar MovingAhead project that will remove two lanes for cars on River Road and replace them with dedicated EmX bus lanes. This will leave only one lane for cars in each direction and take substantial private property from businesses and residences, including removal of parking and trees. Traffic congestion will increase.
Syrett is ignoring the facts concerning opposition she has received. On 28 February 2022 she said, “I don’t believe I have received one communication from a property owner along River Road who has concerns about this proposal.” Five days earlier, over 150 petitions against MovingAhead, signed by people in and near her ward including numerous people living and working on River Road, were delivered for her to the City Manager’s office. She also received notes and emails in opposition.
Syrett supports MovingAhead’s EmX plan despite the fact that taxes will need to increase to support operations and maintenance for a system which cannot be re-routed to accommodate changes in ridership. Bus ridership has declined nationwide since 2012 despite increases in population.
Syrett supports an EmX system not wanted and not responsive to new eco-friendly transportation alternatives.
For more information, see clairesyrettrecall.com.