Final 2016 City Council Recap: Sanctuary, Climate Change

cityhallIn the final City Council meeting of 2016, Corvallis became a sanctuary city and approved its Climate Action Plan. Public comments, all at least somewhat related to the two aforementioned agenda items, were made for over an hour.

A wide variety of citizens, from schoolteachers to students, young to old, recent residents to native Oregonians, spoke from many different perspectives. By the end of their testimony, the council had been painted a clear picture of the importance and practical applications of each issue. After intense discussion and several on-the-fly revisions, the Sanctuary City resolution passed 8 to 1, and the Climate Action Plan was approved unanimously.

The deliberation for the sanctuary resolution was lengthy and muddled. The original document had been prepared by the King Legacy Advisory Board (KLAB), and had then been revised by the council members before placing it on the agenda. Unfortunately, the revised edition was missing what was seen by many as crucial language. Many members of the public requested the language, which essentially said that Corvallis would not cooperate with immigration raids, be added back into the document. Mayor Biff Traber was confident that the city already had strong language regarding its refusal to involve itself in immigration matters on the books, but ultimately the sense of the room was that the sanctuary resolution itself should, at worst, reiterate that fact.

First, Ward 9’s Hal Brauner amended the resolution to contain some, but not all of the original language regarding raids. A lengthy discussion ensued in which councilors questioned whether or not that was the original language, or if the original language even mattered. Just as it seemed as though a vote would be called to amend Brauner’s amendment, he explained why he felt his wording was stronger than the original. Everyone agreed.

“I think Hal… even improved our language,” Jasper Smith, chair of the KLAB later said, “it was most important to get it done.”

The resolution went up for vote and passed with only Roen Hogg dissenting; the 40-minute-long amendment discussion left him concerned that the council would get something wrong.

By Kyle Bunnell

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