The Roseburg City Council meeting was nearing an end after stretching for more than three hours Monday night when Councilor Brian Prawitz clearly had enough. During his closing comments he turned to Councilor Ashley Hicks and let loose.

“You just went totally rogue and I am angry,” Prawitz said. “I, at the very least, am glad to hear you say the words ‘I’m sorry.’ But I believe this was a censurable move. You stepped out of bounds.”

What set Prawitz and others on the City Council off started with an online spat Hicks had with residents of the Shadow Ranch Mobile Home Park, a senior community located just north of the Roseburg Regional Airport.

Hicks, who was elected in 2016, has continuously advocated to use city-owned property on General Avenue — across from the mobile-home park — as a shelter.

The dispute spilled into the council chambers Monday night when about a dozen Shadow Ranch residents showed up at the meeting. About half spoke at the meeting, each giving Hicks an earful.

One after another they chastised Hicks’ plan for the homeless shelter. Putting such a shelter there would bring crime and drug problems into their neighborhood and hurt the value of their homes, they said. One speaker said there may be guns in the nearby Army National Guard building that could get into the hands of the homeless. Another worried residents at a nearby center for dementia patients would also be in jeopardy.

“It’s disrespectful to do this to us. Disrespectful,” one speaker said.

As one elderly woman gingerly made her way to the meeting, someone in the audience said, “Imagine if she’s confronted by some of these homeless. What could she do?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll protect her,” a man replied.

Hicks remained silent as each resident spoke.

Mayor Larry Rich tried to calm the group, saying a homeless shelter in that area was not something the council was even considering.

“That is not something the council has discussed,” Rich said. “There is no plan to put a homeless shelter there.”

When Hicks finally spoke she appeared contrite, thanking the Shadow Ranch residents for coming.

“I think all your concerns are valid,” Hicks said. She went on to say that she lives in Southeast Roseburg, near the Roseburg Rescue Mission, which provides myriad services for the homeless.

“The Rescue Mission is responsible for removing thousands of people from homelessness,” Hicks said. “If the city wants to move forward with something like that, it’ll be successful because the people who will be there want to be there.

“Homelessness is not going anywhere, so at some point we’re going to have to deal with it.”

After her comments, the discussion moved on to other matters before the council and the residents from Shadow Ranch left. But that wasn’t the end of it.

During closing comments, Prawitz brought the matter up again. He and other city council members had been inundated with calls and emails from concerned residents of Shadow Ranch, which was a “waste of energy and brain cells” for everyone involved, he said.

“I think you should cease and desist posting on Facebook on this topic,” Prawitz said. “You went outside the process so badly that you stirred up a good 50 people. This has to stop. It’s irresponsible.”

Hicks did not back down.

“The folks who came here tonight are not city residents, these are not my constituents,” she said, which caused Prawitz to chuckle.

“Why are you laughing?” Hicks asked.

“Because that’s ridiculous,” Prawitz shot back.

Rich intervened, telling Hicks that he hoped when she posted something on Facebook like this she would make clear that it’s only her personal opinion and not that of the City Council.

“To sit here and not say you were sorry, this was not OK,” Rich said.

Rich said he believed the council had three options to discipline Hicks: Not allow her to speak at council meetings anymore, take away her committee chair, or lose her travel privileges.

“I’ve got to tell you, my feeling tonight is to pull the travel,” he said.

City Attorney Bruce Coalwell then stepped in and cautioned the council not to act in haste.

“I don’t really know that you’re going to have a discussion in the waning moments of the meeting here,” he said. “The appropriate step is to schedule an executive session to discuss this. This isn’t an issue that has to be decided tonight.”

Rich then told council members to let him know via email how they wanted to proceed with disciplining Hicks.

“If you’re interested in having an executive session, let me know,” he said.

Shortly thereafter he gaveled the meeting to a close.

Following the meeting, Hicks went to social media to vent her frustration with the City Council and accused them of infringing upon her first amendment rights.

“Me not going to conferences x’s the citizens out of representation. I don’t see any of the other councilors there participating and bringing back Information for our citizens benefit,” Hicks wrote. “This entire city knows this council has NOT took action on addressing homelessness.”

Hicks emphasized during the meeting, and later on Facebook, that she was serving her constituents in Southeast Roseburg, not the City Council or city staff.

“I stand up by speaking for the best interests of those within our city boundaries, not for county residents,” Hicks wrote on Facebook following the meeting.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

React to this story:

9
12
11
1
12

(6) comments

Richard Saunders

Hicks needs to be removed so the city council can function properly.

Marlena

I know Mr.Rich from my high school days. I think the city council is just a bunch of bully's. I don't always agree with Ms.Hicks but at least she is doing something. Downtown is not safe for kids to be out alone. So maybe addressing this homeless should be a priority. So Haven a shelter made in front of a elderly park may not be the best. But it got some blood flowing. Ms. Hicks goes to those meetings for the people she represent. I don't read Larry Rich is there. Funny thing is no one cares all the people do is set there and not act on anything people need. Bully's set in offical sets to. Email rich how they want to handle Hicks. I find it sneaky backstabbing. Maybe if people support there wards like Hicks does things would be addressed

sectorstar

The problem with Hicks is that she frequently acts or implies (or maybe even seriously believes) that anything that comes out of her mouth is in unison with the thoughts and feelings of the rest of the city council....which often time isn't and probably never has been.

Its just a big deal in this story because I think this is the first time it really came back to bite her In the rear with getting that whole community of people riled up under false pretenses that she strongly implied that turned out to be fiction.

Again, I'd encourage you and anyone else that doesn't know much about her to just take a few mins to go through her facebook postings and see what kind of person she is and her questionable state of mind.

sectorstar

Honest to god I'm amazed it took this long for anyone to consider "disciplining" her in some form. The majority of the city has some type of bone to pick with her, and this was already long before she obtained her position in the city council.

She thinks shes always the smartest person in the room, but just browsing her facebook postings for 2 mins will clearly leave you to question her mental state. I think my favorite one is where she used her position to get an article posted in the news review about wanting to have a locked syringe box removed from a park because a child "might be able to break it open". In what country children are able to break open metal padlocks and get into syringe boxes......I'd love to know. Months later she posts a picture on her facebook of a used syringe on the ground at a local park and start ranting about that. The locked syringe box she fought to have removed was used to prevent that type of stuff from happening.....or did she not know or forget that's what its for? This woman honestly terrifies me, and I've seen quite a few people share these same concerns about her on various other local news comments and social media postings.

S

Wow . . . Roseburg City Council's Little Boys Club in action! Someone might also want to help Bruce Coalwell recognize that the City’s Charter applies. City Councilor’s are not employees and are therefore, not privileged to be discussed in executive session. Any issues regarding Councilors are to be done in public session as outlined in the City’s Charter.

And, Rich’s statement to City Council members directing them to let him know via email how they want to proceed with disciplining Hicks is a violation of the public meetings law and the Charter. The Charter is specific on how disputes among the City Council are to be handled.

Grow up little boys and behave like adults. Just because you don’t like what one of your colleagues is saying doesn’t mean she is not entitled to say it. This is not to suggest that I agree with her or her tactics.

Read your charter City of Roseburg City Council, especially Section 2.34.100. Unless Hicks has violated proper conduct [“proper,” being subjective] or any of the Council’s rules and procedures there is nothing the Council can do to silence her nor should you.

And for the record. . . responding to concerned residents is your job City Council, even if the concern is initiated by one of your own. Grow up and stop being sanctimoniousness; figure out how to work together children. Our community is embarrassed enough with the behavior of the County Commissioners.

Raelden

The council is five women and two men. Not really a boys club. Ashley likes to think she’s rage smartest person in the room but runs completely on emotion and not logic. FAA will not allow residency on that property so it was a no go at the outset but she doesn’t care to learn the law.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.