Residents Clash at Boardman Town Hall Meeting Over Possible Recall

An argument breaks ut during the Boardman town hall meeting on Monday, Feb. 5 between Jonathan Tallman, standing on the right, and a local resident. Boardman police officer Jason Navarro broke up the dispute. (Photo by Yasser Marte/East Oregonian)

Two vocal groups emerged during a town hall meeting held Monday, Feb. 5, in Boardman to discuss community opinions on the Morrow County Board of Commissioners.

Morrow County Citizens for Liberty and Justice, resident-led organization, hosted the event to gauge the interest of others on potentially recalling commissioners.

Two commissioners — David Sykes and Roy Drago, Jr. — attended the meeting, though Drago left a little over halfway through when Jonathan Tallman of Boardman made allegations of unethical behavior.

Stuart Dick and Raymond Akers, the hosting group’s public faces, led the meeting and kept time during the nearly two-and-a-half-hours-long gathering. Around 50 people attended in person at the Greenfield Grange No. 579, with 30 people tuning in virtually.

Describing the reasoning behind the town hall meeting series, Dick said: “We’re seeking solutions and (a recall) would be a last resort.”

Rather than meetings to determine whether to hold a recall or even agree on the basic facts, though, Boardman’s meeting was more of a space for people to argue positions they already believed. Members of both sides tried to convince others of their positions, and few attempted to find places of agreement.

Dick started the meeting saying a recall would be a last resort, but later said if nothing changes, his group will be asking for a recall.

Across the four meetings the group has hosted around the county, including the Boardman meeting, Dick said the votes they have tallied show approximately twice the support for a recall than against.

Rehashing the issues

The most contentious issue was the ongoing conflict between Morrow County and Morrow County Health District, the county’s ambulance service provider. The two entities continue to publish inflammatory press releases and disagree on the basic facts.

Supporters on either side are following their lead. Details from earlier in the process were rehashed, such as why Boardman Fire Rescue District applied for ambulance licensure without an ambulance service contract.

Health district supporters said Boardman Fire could have waited to apply for an ambulance license until after the fire district had been awarded an area, as licensing is only required when actually providing service, not to apply. If Boardman Fire had waited, they said, it would not have been impeding on the health district’s service.


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