Man putting a ballot into a voting box

Buried beneath some of the more high-profile races in Oregon’s Tuesday primary, the residents of Baker City voted by an overwhelming margin to allow the municipality to sell a 1995 backhoe.

Why was a vote necessary ? The city charter forbids the council from selling any surplus equipment valued over $10,000. That left Baker City with an extra 1995 Case 580N 4x4 backhoe and no way to sell it.

So the voters stepped in. Just over 92% of the people of Baker City opted to rid themselves of the machine. Of course, that means that more than 7% of voters, 200 people, voted to keep the quarter-century-old piece of equipment, perhaps for sentimental value. It was unclear for how much or to whom the backhoe would be sold.

Residents also approved a measure to amend the city charter so next time they need to get rid of some expensive equipment, they won’t need voter permission to do so.

— The Oregonian

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