PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon Elections Division is investigating a Johnson City mobile home community manager for a case of possible voter intimidation, the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Monday.
On Tuesday, Stephanie Darcy, a compliance specialist with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, sent a letter to the manager to notify him that her office had received several notifications that he may have violated Oregon election law.
Darcy said multiple people asked the Secretary of State’s Office to investigate the manager. They accused him of violating ORS 260.665 and ORS 260.432.
The man was accused of sending a letter to members of the mobile home community he manages, indicating that their rent will increase if a local proposed measure passes.
Johnson City resident Tara Schoffstall, who’s running for city council in the November election, contacted KOIN News about the alleged voter intimidation.
According to KOIN’s news partner, Pamplin Media, Schoffstall led a petition drive to gather signatures of those who supported annexing the small city into the Clackamas County Library District.
The signatures led to Measure 3-585 making it on the ballot and on Nov. 8. Johnson City voters will have the final say on whether they officially join the library district.
Residents of Johnson City currently pay $95 a year if they’d like to purchase a Clackamas County library card. There’s no charge for residents who live in the library district and the fee is waived for residents of Multnomah, Washington and Hood River county library districts.
Johnson City, a small city between Milwaukie and Gladstone that has approximately 540 residents, has not joined the Clackamas County Library Services District since the district was established in 2009.
The district includes the entire county except Johnson City, Damascus and the part of Tualatin that lies in Clackamas County.
According to the voters’ pamphlet, if voters pass the measure, it will implement a levy of approximately $0.40 cents per $1,000 of assessed value; that’s the value assigned to a home or property for tax purposes. For a household with an assessed valuation of $57,300, this would amount to about $22.77 per year.
Schoffstall said this is the measure the manager is upset about and has sent letters threatening to increase the rent of Johnson Mobile Estates tenants if the measure passes.
The Elections Division will be reviewing the investigation into the manager to determine appropriate action. The investigation does not mean the Elections Division has determined the man did in fact violate Oregon election law.
ORS 260.665 says a person may not directly or indirectly subject any person to undue influence when it comes to a person’s intent to vote.
ORS 260.432 says no public employee can promote or oppose the adoption of a measure while on the job during work hours.
According to the letter from the Secretary of State’s Office, the requests for an investigation accused the manager of threatening his tenants in his official capacity as a public employee.