Troutdale mayor refuses to resign over building controversy

Troutdale mayor refuses to resign over building controversy »Play Video
Mayor Jim Kight says this structure with two offices, a kitchen and a bathroom is not a second house.

TROUTDALE, Ore. – Troutdale Mayor Jim Kight dug in and refused to resign Tuesday night after city council members, one after the other, called for him to step down over a controversy whether his new building is a shed or a second house.

Kight, who says the investigation is politically motivated, says the structure with two offices, a kitchen and a bathroom is not a second house.

"This is a nonresidential building," he said. "We do not live here. I live next door."

But City Councilor Rich Allen called it "shameful, absolutely shameful," during Tuesday night's heated city council meeting.
One by one, the other six council members argued no ordinary resident could build such a property on a floodplain without manipulating Troutdale's building code and permitting process.

"It is clear to me that Mayor Kight orchestrated an act of deception on a scale this city has never seen," said Councilor Eric Anderson.

Councilor David Ripma said, "This was only possible because he was an elected official with access not available to members of the public."

And Councilor Doug Daoust said, "I ask for the good of Troutdale that Mr. Kight step down as mayor."

But instead of resigning himself, Kight called for the council to resign and to pay back the $30,000 cost of the investigation.

"I think the most important thing in the report is what the investigator said that I used no undue influence," he said.

So where's the smoking gun according to council members?

"There's not supposed to be a basement in a floodplain, and he has a full basement," said Daoust.

Kight has a response to that as well, calling the second level a crawlspace, not a basement. And he says it was built as approved and inspected by the city.

"If I broke codes, that's a real feat because I didn't approve the plans," he said. "The city employees approved the plans. I had a general contractor."

One woman in the audience said Kight should resign, and one council member compared the controversy to Watergate.

Kight is seeking re-election, and he's challenged by one of the council members asking for him to leave.

The council released results of a lengthy investigation they say documents unethical and deceptive behavior.