True to his word, Rep. Brian Clem has drafted legislation that could stop future annexations like the Clearlake proposal by Keizer Fire District.

The district, which has served most of Keizer since the 1940s, is seeking to take over north Keizer from Marion County Fire District No. 1, and its leaders persuaded a Keizer City Council majority to back its efforts (pending an election in March).

A legal dispute ensued over whether the city was allowed to do that without providing fire service with its own department. The city has argued its home rule authority allows councilors to decide who will provide service within the city limits. While some legal challenges are still pending, all that have been decided so far have gone Keizer Fire’s way.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, R – Keizer, hadn’t had a chance to read the bill, but said generally she thinks areas under consideration for annexation should  have a special role in its approval.

“All I know is I wish they would all get in a room and figure it out,” Thatcher added.

Clem, a Democrat representing suburban Salem (and a significant swath of MCFD’s territory) said he would consider asking fellow legislators to help ensure “this can never happen again,” in his words.

The legislation he proposes would amend current law to require cities to provide a particular service before withdrawing territory – and ultimately tax dollars – from a special district. It also contains an emergency clause putting said language into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

Clem was out of the country and could not be reached.

– Jason Cox

Fired city employee intends to file suit

Former public works employee Roland Herrera provided notice of intent to sue the city that fired him last year.

A January 10 letter from his attorney, Clark Williams, notified the city council and attorney of Herrera’s intent to sue for “wrongful and unlawful termination,” with claims that could include “intentional infliction of emotional distress, unlawful age and racial discrimination (and) denial of civil rights and due process laws.”

He could seek reinstatement to his former job, back pay, attorney fees and compensatory damages.

– Jason Cox