By COLIN STAUB
Longtime union activist Claire Syrett, who was serving her third term on the Eugene City Council, lost a Sept. 6 special recall election, with 59.3% of voters supporting the recall (2,312 in favor and 1,588 against). But a legal challenge to the recall is still pending.
Syrett works for the Oregon Nurses Association as a labor representative and has long been involved with the Eugene area’s Jobs with Justice chapter, the Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network. She was elected to the Eugene City Council in 2012.
The recall petition centered on a transit project some residents were opposed to. In the petition filed in April, chief petitioner Gerald Morton claims Syrett did not listen to public opposition in voting for a plan to install a bus lane in place of two car lanes on a Eugene road.
In her response to the petition, Syrett said using the recall because of a vote she cast is an abuse of the recall system. Disagreements over policy should be settled through the regular election system, she said, adding that she was up for election again in 2023.
“Recalls are a means to remove an elected official who has broken the law or otherwise violated public trust,” declared Syrett’s campaign website. “This does not apply to Councilor Syrett, who has worked in good faith to represent Ward 7 voters over the past 10 years.”
The Eugene Register-Guard reported that Syrett and her campaign filed a complaint in Lane County Circuit Court in late August, alleging that the recall petitioners misrepresented the facts in framing her votes on the transit project. The lawsuit asks the court to find that the signatures gathered by spreading false information were gathered fraudulently and should be disregarded. The suit is still pending.