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Profanity mars Corvallis council session
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Profanity mars Corvallis council session

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The Corvallis City Council spent more than two hours Monday night discussing a conflict over a proposed path in a new subdivision.

But the deliberations on the Brooklane Heights issue were overshadowed by a breach of council etiquette that might be without precedence.

Just after Ward 6 Councilor Nancy Wyse made a motion a meeting participant whose video was off but whose audio was not muted uttered an extreme profanity that included an F-bomb and that also targeted Wyse’s gender.

Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber immediately labeled the comment inappropriate, sentiments that were echoed moments later  by two councilors, Ed Junkins (Ward 8) and Jan Napack (Ward 1). Ward 9's Andrew Struthers and Hyatt Lytle (Ward 3) also criticized the comment during the councilor reports section at the end of the meeting. It was not clear how many participants had audio privileges at the moment when the profanity was spoken.

Traber, whose video image was on screen at the time of the comment clearly did not make the comment. No one took credit for making the comment.

Here is a look at the business of the session:

• Councilors passed Wyse’s motion on a 6-3 vote. The issue involved an appeal by developers of Brooklane Heights of a staff decision that denied a request to replace a proposed multiuse path with trees. A gravel path of about 325 feet currently connects two streets in the development, but city staff was concerned that the steep slopes of the path make it unsafe. Some of the areas of the path have slops as high as 28%.

Wyse’s motion calls for a paved path built to “common industry standards.” The language leaves it open for city staffers to possibly address the slopes issue in the formal findings that they will present to councilors at their Nov. 16 meeting.

Brooklane Heights is a 42-lot subdivision on 26 acres off of Southwest Brooklane Drive. Some of the homes have been completed and some are under construction, but the bulk of the development remains lots for sale at prices starting at $165,000 and ending at about $250,000.

The initial application for Brooklane Heights came to the city in 2006. It has been controversial throughout, with three appeals moving from the city to the state Land Use Board of Appeals and the developers paying $12,500 in fines for violations.

• Councilors voted 8-1 to reject a request from Oregon State University officials for the city to pay $140,000 for another segment of the university’s Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics (TRACE) coronavirus testing program. OSU has undertaken door-to-door COVID-19 testing and sampling wastewater five times in Corvallis as well as twice in Newport and once apiece in Hermiston and Bend.

Earlier testing had been largely paid for by grants from the state of Oregon, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and PacificSource health plans. Councilors said they appreciated the work OSU is doing in this area but felt that the city could not afford to make the appropriation

• New Parks and Recreation Director Meredith Petit was introduced to the councilors. Petit, who came to Corvallis from a similar position in El Segundo, California, joined the staff Oct. 26 after the retirement of Karen Emery. The conversation focused largely on which football teams Petit and the councilors support.

• James Bombardier was elected to fill a vacancy on the city’s Planning Commission on a 6-3 vote.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@lee.net or 541-812-6116. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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