Running about two hours and 45 minutes, the Paisley City Council meeting held Tuesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. was significantly longer than usual. In addition to a Paisley Mosquito Festival update, multiple conditional use permit requests from Councilor Krissy Funk, and some more routine items, the meeting had some contentious back-and-forth between the Council and Paisley resident Bruce Gibbons. And at the end of the already eventful afternoon, Paisley Mayor Craig Delarm resigned.
The meeting started with an update from Amy Davis and Chelsea Jones on the annual Paisley Mosquito Festival. They mentioned that a new component is being planned for the event this year: a presentation of the popular show “Romancing the West.” The show has previously been in Lakeview at the Alger Theater, and is billed as “a time traveling, visual musical concert spanning over 240 years of the history of the people of the American West in the musical styles of their times, illustrated with historic photos and video.”
Davis told the Council that she was planning to make the showing a donation-only event, rather than charging a specific fee for admission. The Council approved the idea for the show and making it donation-only.
Moving to other Mosquito Festival business, Davis said she has established the fee for vendors this year. She noted that the festival may again include a community dance, depending on how well things are coming together as the event draws closer. Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union donated plates and napkins for the dinner, along with $1,000, she reported.
The most important need for the festival currently is equipment and volunteers, Davis said. As she is dealing with health challenges, Davis said she will not be around much during the event itself and is therefore pushing for more help. An announcer for the parade is also needed.
A drawing is being held at Paisley School to determine the design for this year’s Paisley Mosquito Festival t-shirts. This year’s vendors will include a hot dog truck, a leather worker, and a rock guy, Davis said, among many others.
Funk’s CUP requests
Next on the agenda were conditional use permit requests from Funk, who read from a document detailing five separate requests with brief descriptions of each. The first was for a “veterans memorial,” for which Funk was requesting “permission to improve the city easement along Main Street and Cottonwood outside my fence line.”
In the request, Funk noted that since taking possession of the property six years ago, she has done the maintenance and required mowing and cleanup. “I would like to bring in some fill dirt and gravel to eliminate the need/cost for mowing or any weeds removal,” she explained in her typed request.
“I would like the proposed site of a community veterans/service memorial to be located in the area to be graveled along Main Street outside my fence line which provides visibility and ease of access for the memorial for the community.”
Funk said she is working with Portland-based Elmer’s Flag and Banner to obtain service flags representing the various military branches as well as flags for police and other public services. The display would also include a dedication bench, she said, adding that there would be eight flags at most.
One community member in attendance had multiple questions about the location and layout of the planned memorial, which Funk answered, but the lack of a visual representation of the planned memorial created some confusion. Council Ruth Robinson expressed that she did not feel comfortable granting a conditional use permit for the memorial without seeing some diagrams — even if just simple drawings — depicting the location and spacing of the flag poles, among other details. The Council approved Funk’s request to place fill dirt and gravel at the location — which is used for EMS and firefighter parking — but tabled the veterans memorial item until diagrams can be presented.
Musical events CUP
Next was Funk’s request for a CUP to utilize her property as a location for musical events. “The first event I would like to propose would be on June 5, 2022. The first concert of the Paisley Mosquito Festival concert series fundraiser. These are backyard style concerts meant for small venues,” Funk described in an email request. It was noted that Funk had submitted the initial request weeks ago.
Asked how many people would attend such a concert in her backyard, Funk said that number will depend on insurance and the crowd size approved by the fire marshal. She said she had a country folk band lined up for the June 5 concert, adding that the musicians all play “hand instruments” so it would not be a loud show. She had also planned the show for 4-6 p.m., a time when not much is typically going on in Paisley and that would not interrupt anyone’s sleep.
After much discussion between Funk and members of the Council and public, Robinson said she did not think a conditional use permit could be issued in time for a June 5 concert. Funk noted that all of her neighbors are supportive of the event, as she went to them before asking for a CUP from the City of Paisley, in order to avoid wasting the City’s time if the neighbors did not approve.
“We need to know what the fire marshal says,” Robinson stated. After 30 minutes spent discussing the musical events CUP alone, Councilor Tonie Bailie suggested that the meeting move on in order to address all the items on the agenda. The councilors agreed that Funk could hold the concert as a private event without the issuance of a CUP, and use it as an opportunity to gather feedback for similar events in the future.
EV charging, Chamber of Commerce CUPS
The Council addressed Funk’s other CUP requests in short order, approving the installation of an electric car charging station on the city easement on Main Street just outside Funk’s fence line.
The Council also approved the use of the Paisley Community Center for display of Chamber of Commerce brochures to provide information about the area for residents and visitors. Funk had previously requested to use the old Paisley Jail building for the purpose, but withdrew the request due to the building’s health code issues and need for repairs. She said she will work with the Lake County Chamber to obtain brochures.
The Council then turned its attention to Paisley resident Bruce Gibbons, whose name was listed as one of the agenda items. Gibbons began by acknowledging that anyone serving on the City Council is essentially a volunteer. “I’ve been in and out of the City Council and the Mosquito Festival since the early 70s, so I know what it’s like,” he told the councilors. “… Good for you for being here, but that doesn’t relieve you from doing the right things, and I think you are all making huge mistakes here and I’m tired of it.”
Gibbons first addressed Councilor Ruth Robinson, telling her, “Reliable people have told me that you have spied on me and reported my activities.” Robinson immediately asked, “Reported your activities to who or what?” Gibbons responded, “You know who” and later said Robinson was reporting his activities to her friends and family, but would not state the nature of the activities she was allegedly reporting. He said she was abusing access to the Paisley School surveillance system in her position at the school in order to monitor him, gossip about him and violate his privacy, which he said is a violation of his civil liberties.
“If you have an issue with me or with anybody else on Council, by all means go through the steps through the State. We welcome that, that’s okay,” Funk told Gibbons. Robinson echoed that if he believed she had done something to violate his civil liberties, he should put it in writing and submit it to the State. Gibbons said he had not submitted a formal complaint to Salem yet but had been in touch.
After being asked to move on to his next complaint, Gibbons brought up a retraction that he said the Council had demanded from the local publication The Community Breeze, which also created a good deal of back and forth, confusion and disagreement. Gibbons said he wanted former Paisley City Councilor Travis Way — who he said “demanded the retraction” — to apologize to the Community Breeze. Funk noted that Way was not present to be part of the conversation and Gibbons was again asked to move on to his next item.
After stating that most of his other gripes were also about Travis Way, Gibbons was told by Robinson said that as Way is a City employee, anything complaints about him needed to be submitted in writing. She said the Council could set up an executive session to discuss the complaints so Way could be present to defend himself. “It needs to be done in executive session and it needs to stop now,” Robinson told Gibbons regarding his complaints about Way.
The meeting eventually moved on to vector control and grants, and as it drew to a close, Delarm presented his resignation letter to the Council. “And then, unfortunately, I’m sorry, I just can’t do it no more. There’s my resignation letter from being Mayor and City Council,” he said, adding, “Hate to have done it at the end of the meeting but, I just can’t do it no more … as of right now, this is my last time at this table.”
The Councilors thanked Delarm for his service, with Robinson noting, “This is a small community. Every decision we make gets thrown back in our face 100 times, whether people agree with you, don’t agree with you — whatever … And Craig gets a lot of scrutiny, he wears a lot of different hats around town … And on top of that being a single dad and taking care of his parents. He’s running around doing a lot of stuff and hasn’t deserved all the flack he’s gotten in this position. But I’ll accept his letter because I think it’s good for his health to not have this on his plate anymore.”
Delarm shared that while many locals have positive things to say about him as mayor, there are many negative things that are said as well. “My kids have been affected by comments and criticisms from adults … But as you guys know, I’m pretty much from here, I’ll always be here, so I will still be here for the City.” Delarm said he also serves with Search and Rescue, EMS and Fire. The other three councilors told Delarm he had done a great job on council and accepted his resignation.