News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Detroit charter update leads by nine votes

A ballot measure intending to update the city charter for Detroit, was passing Wednesday in unofficial returns.

Measure 24-499 led by a 24-15 vote, according to voting totals released by the Marion County Elections Office. It is not clear how many additional votes remain to be counted.

“It’s hard for us to figure out what the numbers mean and if it will change or not in the next six or seven days,” said Councilor Denny Nielsen, a key backer of the measure.

The charter update, which lost by a 55-51 vote in 2022, would eliminate the full-time residency requirement that measure backers say is making it harder to recruit people for volunteer positions such as the City Council and the Planning Commission.

Because the 2022 election also included councilors and the governor’s race on the ballot it was expected that the 2024 vote on the charter would almost assuredly receive fewer total votes than in 2022.

“I’m pleased at where we are at this point and hope the trend holds,” Nielsen said. He added that compared to the 2022 campaign there was “more of a concerted effort through our team to do a better job of education our community.”

Backers posted items on Facebook and Nielsen wrote two pieces that were posted on social media sites.

“We received a ton of good feedback,” he said, “but some folks were upfront about wanting to see things stay the same. Win, lose or draw, though, this has been a great experience in community communication. There is a lot more interest in the charter and the city. For me it’s been a positive experience no matter what happens.”

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