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government | sustainability

Corvallis Becomes First Oregon City to Endorse Earth Charter

On June 17, after hearing three and a half hours of public comment, the Corvallis City Council became the first in Oregon to endorse the Earth Charter. While a majority of the unusually high number of public comments supported the motion, a significant number of them (about 40%) opposed it, mainly based on accusations made by Operation Green Out of White City, Oregon.

Many of the speakers on both sides of the issue mentioned that they had not been aware of the Charter itself, much less the council's consideration of support for it, until Operation Green Out ran a full-page ad in the Corvallis Gazette-Times just a few days before the scheduled council meeting. The resulting turn-out for the meeting approached 100 citizens in the course of the evening, and one councilor characterized the ensuing exchange of statements and ideas as a fine example of democracy in action.

However, it also provided a clear example of how very small but well-funded interest groups can quickly generate controversy and opposition. While such minority perspectives and opinions should be heard and given due respect, this tactic by a small interest group threatened to undermine the work of a broader and deeper community-based, grass-roots campaign.
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