The campaign to recall Metolius Mayor John Chavez for concealing his criminal record is moving forward with a special election to be held this month.

Chavez apologized to the city in a letter that will accompany the ballot question — his first public comments since the story broke in July.

“I apologize to my community for the embarrassment I brought you,” Chavez wrote. “I made some personal mistakes and made choices that were unfit and wrong. I am determined to make things right with the Courts and adhere to all the Court Orders.”

Chavez, 54, has two pending criminal matters that were unknown to most of his colleagues and constituents. One is an assault case from 2018 for fighting with his brother. The other stems from a drunken driving arrest in March.

Both are relevant today because Chavez allegedly failed to comply with the conditions of his resolutions with the court. In the assault case, he failed to serve his assigned 10-day jail sentence by his deadline. In the DUII case, he failed to comply with his DUII diversion by driving a vehicle without an ignition interlock device — a law enforcement tool used to detect alcohol on a driver’s breath.

Hearings to resolve those matters were reset for later this month.

A group of Metolius residents organized to recall Chavez for downplaying the extent of his criminal record.

The seven-member City Council approved a resolution at its August meeting urging Chavez to step down.

On Aug. 19, residents submitted 45 signatures in support of the recall to the Secretary of State’s Office — two more than needed.

Chavez was given a customary opportunity to resign or submit a justification letter that will accompany the ballot question. He chose the latter.

“I don’t want my personal affairs to impede my judgment while serving our great City,” he wrote in the Sept. 3 letter. “I am determined to lead as Mayor and to accomplish our goals in a professional manner with grace.”

Ballots in the recall election will go out to Metolius’ 550 registered voters Sept. 18. Ballots will be due by 8 p.m. Oct. 8.

Tryna Muilenburg, a former longtime city councilor who lost to Chavez in the 2018 mayor’s race by one vote, is leader of the recall campaign.

“I don’t like all this negative stuff,” she said. “I wasn’t really anxious to submit all those signatures — it’s just negative. But his apology came a little too late.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com

23980625