The superintendent of the Oregon City School District has joined the growing chorus calling for Mayor Dan Holladay’s resignation, in the wake of comments and behavior he described as “abusive, tone-deaf and ethically challenged.”
Superintendent Larry Didway’s comments came in a June 28 open letter to Holladay in which he delivers the “urgent message”: Please resign now.
“At your best, you have been a dedicated public servant who has donated countless hours at great personal sacrifice to improve the city and community we both love,” Didway said. “At your worst though, both your words and deeds have been abusive, tone-deaf and ethically challenged.”
Didway encouraged Holladay to educated himself about racism and to “reflect on your own privilege and bias.” But Oregon City residents, he added, especially those who are Black, “should not have to wait for you to reckon with and atone for the undeniable harm you have caused while occupying the mayor’s seat.”
“Our children are watching and listening. They deserve a better role model in civic leadership,” he wrote. “Do the right thing to spare this community additional pain and your fellow commissioners any further drama.”
Those two ex-mayors, along with a third, John Williams, will speak at a “socially distanced kickoff rally” next week for the effort to recall Holladay that was officially launched on June 22.
“Our team has been overwhelmed by the positive response from the community since we have filed,” said campaign manager Adam Marl, who reported at the July 1 City Commission meeting that petitioners gathered more than 400 signatures their first week — nearly a fifth of the 2,400 they will need to have the recall placed on the November ballot.
“From government officials, both past and present, to the business community, to the citizens themselves, it is clear that our coalition is broad and the people are eager to see positive change in our city.”
The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. July 8 in the parking lot across from Jackson Campus at the Oregon City pool. Drive-through, contactless signature gathering will begin at 7 p.m., following the rally. Pedestrians will also be able to sign.
Other signature gathering opportunities will be available at various times at Oregon City Brewing, Naive Melody and the Oregon City Farmers Market. See the group’s Facebook page, Recall Dan Holladay, for details.
The recall effort is also supported by all four current city commissioners, who unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in Holladay at their July 1 regular meeting.
Holladay has been under fire for comments he made on social media last month that seemed to downplay incidents of police violence against unarmed Black Americans and for being the only Portland-area mayor to refuse to sign a statement condemning systemic racism and the killing of George Floyd. The recall effort has since compiled a much longer list of grievances.
Holladay has repeatedly declined comment on the effort to recall him (of which, this is not the first), but in a statement during an Oregon City Commission meeting last month, he defended his posts as not racist — “not even debatable” — and vowed to treat all residents with “equal respect and equal protection.”
He has since deleted his Facebook account.