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Council discusses letter in closed session

By Vinde Wells


The Oregon City Council discussed a pending lawsuit in a 40-minute closed session Tuesday evening but took no action on what the next step will be.

Mayor Ken Williams said the council was going into closed session to talk about a letter related to the Ogle County Board’s request to permanently close the 100 block of South Sixth Street for a new jail.

County board chairman Kim Gouker said last week that the letter is a formal offer to negotiate the council’s decision not to vacate the street.

Williams declined to comment after the closed session, and neither he nor Gouker would reveal the contents of the letter.

The city council rejected the county’s request on June 27, even though a majority voted for it.

Three of the five city council members voted to grant the county’s request to vacate the street.

However, according to state statute, a super majority of four votes was required for the measure to pass.

Williams and commissioners Terry Schuster and Kurt Wilson voted yes, but commissioners Jim Barnes and Tom Izer voted no.

The county board decided July 18 to send a formal offer to the city council for negotiations to revisit its June 27 decision and engaged Montana & Welch, Palos Heights, a law firm specializing in local government law.

Gouker said after the July 18 meeting that the county board is considering legal action against the city if the offer for negotiations is rebuffed. 

He said the letter was sent to city attorney Paul Chadwick from Montana & Welch.

“The ball is in Oregon’s court. We’re waiting for them,” Gouker said.

The street vacation would allow the proposed new jail to connect to the judicial center across what is now the 100 block of South Sixth.

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