A group of small business owners is calling for the immediate resignation or firing of Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein, pointing to a series of events that have caused the group to cast its vote of “no confidence” in the chief.

Roseburg Citizens for Truth started the campaign for Klopfenstein’s removal, saying the chief reported questionable crime statistics in 2019, targeted Casey’s Restaurant in early May 2020 for COVID-19 violations, and ignored proper safety protocols during a Black Lives Matter rally in late May.

Gary Klopfenstein, Andrea Zielinski,Marion Kotowski

Klopfenstein

Over the weekend, the group sent an official letter to the Roseburg City Council and Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich demanding the chief’s resignation. The group also recently launched a website, which spells out its allegations in detail.

Joshua Brennon, the spokesperson for Roseburg Citizens for Truth, said the group doesn’t believe that the community is getting the proper transparency from the city’s top cop.

“We believe the chief can’t lead the city right now,” Brennon said. “His actions are sending the wrong message to community members. His decisions don’t reflect leadership qualities.”

On May 5, 2020, Casey’s opened its doors to indoor dining, at the time a violation of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-07. The order, issued on March 8, banned any restaurant, bar or dining establishment to allow indoor service.

The group said Klopfenstein noticed that Casey’s was serving people inside, took pictures and reported the restaurant on Northwest Garden Valley Boulevard to Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The restaurant received a total of nearly $14,000 in fines from OSHA and was issued a “red tag” warning, typically associated with shutting down a business due to an imminent danger that people may get sick or injured.

“I have seen no other cases in Oregon where they issued a red tag like this. It’s very unusual,” attorney George Goodman, of the firm Cummings, Goodman, Denley and Vicker of Newberg, said in a June 11 interview. Goodman is representing Casey’s owners Lance and Laurie Mounts in their appeal process.

Klopfenstein said his report came only after multiple other residents had submitted complaints about the restaurant to OSHA.

“Our guidance for law enforcement agencies relating to the order was to educate, warn, then report,” Klopfenstein said. “What’s being missed is that other civilians had already reported (Casey’s). I generated a report and sent it to OSHA, and they did the site inspection later. That’s when the red tag was issued, and they chose to ignore the order.

“They were penalized on the site inspection, not my report,” Klopfenstein said.

The group also said Klopfenstein was photographed greeting demonstrators at a heavily attended Black Lives Matter Rally on Northwest Garden Valley Boulevard.

Approximately 150 people attended the rally, which the Roseburg Citizens for Truth said also was a violation of Executive Order 20-07, which restricted public gatherings to no more than 25 people.

“Despite Klopfenstein’s grave concerns about safety precautions with Casey’s restaurant only three weeks prior, Klopfenstein had ZERO COVID FEARS as he continued to make his rounds up and down the protest line, greeting and bumping elbows, all while not maintaining social distancing recommendations and with no face mask,” the group wrote on its website. “Most of the protesters did have face masks, however, Klopfenstein told no protesters that they were in violation of executive order of large gatherings nor chose to enforce any actions related to the protest.”

Klopfenstein said multiple law enforcement officers attended the rally to ensure that the overall tone was peaceful. While many of the demonstrators wore face coverings, Gov. Brown’s mandate on outdoor masks was not put into place until July 15.

“At the time of the rally, there had already been violence in other cities like Portland and Eugene,” Klopfenstein said. “I walked that line and wanted to make sure that those attending knew that we support their constitutional rights and that they knew we were going to make sure it remained peaceful.”

He also noted that law enforcement agencies across Oregon had received no concrete guidance pertaining to outdoor gatherings.

The group posted on its website a photo from The News-Review of Klopfenstein giving an elbow bump to an unmasked demonstrator carrying an American flag.

Roseburg Citizens for Truth

A group of small business owners known as Roseburg Citizens for Truth emailed a letter Saturday to the Roseburg City Council and Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich, demanding the resignation or firing of Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein.

“He was actually a counter-protestor protecting his First Amendment rights as well as his Second Amendment right to open-carry,” Klopfenstein said. “We spoke and I wanted to be sure he was doing so peacefully, which he was.”

Finally, Roseburg Citizens for Truth said questionable crime statistics reported by the Roseburg Police Department to the FBI which, when released in a January 2020 report by www.lawnstarter.com, listed Roseburg as the most dangerous city in Oregon.

The report, which emphasized property crimes and other forms of theft per capita, rated Roseburg well above the national average in both categories. Roseburg Citizens for Truth believes that those numbers were inflated based on the department’s reporting system.

The group contends that Roseburg police officers responding to all calls — an assertion attributed to the chief on the group’s website — makes the crime problem in the area look worse than it is.

Klopinnochio

A photo of Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein featured on the website www.timetogogary.com, developed by the group Roseburg Citizens for Truth, who have demanded the chief’s firing or resignation.

Klopfenstein assumed his current role in the department in July 2018 when then-chief Jim Burge retired. Roseburg Citizens for Truth believes that after two and a half years, Klopfenstein isn’t the man for the job.

“These are unprecedented times, but I can assure you that community safety and compliance with the law will always be my priority,” Klopfenstein said. “I truly mean that. That’s from the heart.”

Brennon and Roseburg Citizens for Truth feel differently, alleging that the chief carries a political bias when it comes to enforcement.

“We felt like the chief was targeting (small business owners),” Brennon said. “He may have allowed some of his political bias to affect his decision making.

“That’s not the transparency the community needs right now,” he said. “That’s the issue.”

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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(39) comments

Momos

So, what's the problem with their pathetic website now? Appears to be a dead end, just like their mission of hate and ignorance. Choosing a BLM rally to whine about shows their racist bias. "I'm not a racist, but..." says every racist person hiding behind a keyboard.

melrosereader

Seems to me that the Roseburg and Douglas County small business people are small minded and vindictive. Good reasons to shop at Amazon, etc. and avoid their vindictiveness.

mworden

I think the list of signers published by The Beacon was for the Citizens for Tyranny, not the Citizens for Truth. Citizens for Truth appears to have disappeared. If there is a list of members, I'd certainly like to see it.

CitizenJoe

Mike did a list as a comment on the article:

http://www.nrtoday.com/news/health/coronavirus/citizens-against-tyranny-names-supporters-but-some-say-they-dont-belong-on-the-list/article_208169eb-eabb-5a66-9b83-56eb473c30f6.html

I hope he will post it here. It's his list, not mine.

mworden

Mike's list is for citizens for tyranny -- Dallas Heard's group. This article is about citizens for truth demanding the firing of the roseburg police chief. Two different groups.

Citizens for truth got maximum publicity and then disappeared. Their petition and website disappeared. They're gone. If other businesses supported this effort to fire the chief for spurious reasons, then I want to know who they are so I can take my business elsewhere. IMO, citizens for truth was a sham from the beginning.

Jbrennon

No one disappeared. Our website was taken offline due to a doxing issue with one of our members. It is back online. It is sad when individuals like you and others on here only want to know what members are in group, have no issue making fun of our website layout or what our political beliefs may be but not even question or debate the serious allegations that we make against the chief of police. If you have evidence otherwise that contradict the "why bother" and "online reporting system" excuse by the chief as the reason why our crime statistics look high, please share that. If you believe that the chief citing covid safety issues in his report to OSHA then later have no issue not wearing a mask and touching people is not hypocritical, please do tell us why.

mworden

The Citizens for Truth website is still down this morning. Perhaps there were no citizens, plural, involved in this, no group of small business owners objecting to our local police chief. Businesses and owners in this group were not named and the business of Joshua Brennon, the spokesman for the group, was not named. The website of the business that had previously complained about the crime stats was named, but that's from a previous story from months ago. Now, I want to know who Joshua Brennon really is.

I suggest that if -- when -- such groups appear again that members be interviewed, are they even local, do they really own businesses? Who are they and what makes them a stakeholder? Anyone can throw up a website demanding anything. This website was pathetic, riddled with errors, but it did have flashy colors before it disappeared.

This particular "movement" was reported in the newspaper and by several local TV news programs. It received maximum publicity and when people demanded a list of its members, it disappeared. We need information with more depth.

Why is this important? A months long PR campaign of baseless claims to overturn the 2020 presidential campaign culminated in the attack and sacking of the nation's capitol by citizens who believed the fake PR. Insurrectionists who wanted to hang Vice President Mike Pence came within one minute of breaking into the chamber before Pence was whisked out. One minute.

Media outlets (not this one) and social media reported the baseless claims of a stolen election without question. We came close to seeing our Vice President and the Speaker of the House murdered on live social media feeds. Those insurrectionists believed the baseless PR campaign to destroy democracy as presented by Donald Trump and his media enablers.

When the so-called Citizens for Truth came after one of our local officials, it was reported widely as if it were a real thing, and then the group disappeared.

This is a bad precedent. I've led citizens groups before. I had N-R reporters following me around (with my permission) to find out if there were other citizens or if it was just my big mouth. They saw the other citizens and reported straight-forwardly, interviewing others in the group and leaving me in the background.

Let's go back to that. I enjoyed the N-R reporters digging out the facts. It helped the cause because it provided facts from a neutral source. Being able to put up websites does not equal having an actual group. Reporters need to talk to the multiple sources who are supposedly supporting the effort and if they can't find anyone else, well ... that makes a great story, too.

CitizenJoe

I, too, thought that it was a tiny group, but The Beacon published a whole boatload of signatories. I was dismayed to find many of my (former) favorites on the list, including Alexander's Greek Cuisine, the Myrtle Creek Saw Shop and others. Unsurprising, but disappointing, was Currieco Real Estate.

There were lots more listed in The Beacon. I think it would be responsible for The News-Review to publish the whole list.

mworden

[thumbup]

Mike

Too bad. I liked Alexander's and the Myrtle Creek Saw Shop. Not any more. Neither will see another penny from me.

Mike

Maybe its time to go on Yelp and Trip Advisor to give them a taste of their own medicine.

mworden

The Citizens for Truth website has been taken down.

Be good

Imagine living in a time and a place where people are upset at a person for trying to save lives.

Jbrennon

Be good-I think you may have missed the point. We called out the hypocrisy from the chief. He wrote of covid safety issues in his police report but then later had no issue not wearing a mask and touching people. We encourage you to take a look at our website and see the entire police report.

CitizenJoe

Donovan, honestly, the headline and the first sentence should indicate "People who represent themselves as small businesses, but who are too cowardly to identify themselves, are pushing for removal...." If that is too long, maybe identifying them as chicken-$h*t cowards would be more succinct.

Brevity is the soul of wit, as Shakespeare wrote.

(Dorothy Parker, another soul of wit, wrote: "Brevity is the soul of lingerie.")

Jbrennon

No one disappeared. Our website was taken offline due to a doxing issue with one of our members. It is back online. It is sad when individuals like you and others on here only want to know what members are in group, have no issue making fun of our website layout or what our political beliefs may be but not even question or debate the serious allegations that we make against the chief of police. If you have evidence otherwise that contradict the "why bother" and "online reporting system" excuse by the chief as the reason why our crime statistics look high, please share that. If you believe that the chief citing covid safety issues in his report to OSHA then later have no issue not wearing a mask and touching people is not hypocritical, please do tell us why.

OregonHusker

I checked out their site. It needs to be proof-read. It also needs to list the small businesses who supposedly back it. I find it cowardly that they've chosen to be anonymous.

Marine Vet

I to would LOVE to See a List of the Name's of these Small Businesses Along with the List of Businesses that Are a Part of the Other MOB Group, Citizens against Tyranny. I wouldn't want them getting Infected with Common Sense or Values from my Money.

Momos

"Small business owners..." Small minded people who own a business, maybe. List them, so I'll know who to avoid. Their website is a childish mess.

CitizenJoe

Momos: agreed. Yes, please; their names should be known.

mworden

[thumbup] Agreed. Names please.

Marine Vet

I to would LOVE to See a List of the Name's of these Small Businesses Along with the List of Businesses that Are a Part of the Other MOB Group, Citizens against Tyranny. I wouldn't want them getting Infected with Common Sense or Values from my Money

NJ

So then, the collective heads of knuckle decided to go with the sedition to incite insurrection guy to help them with the really nasty tactics of getting what they want. Reads as though they're only stamping their little feet about Police Chief Klopfenstein walking the line of a BLM protest. I wonder if it's kept many of them from filling out their applications for the renewed PPP program. A nasty website photo says much more about the Citizens for Truth than it does about Klopfenstein doing his job for everyone under his watch. Oh, the drama. I suppose they must find something to do while they ignore illness and death spiking in town. Must be a herd mentality thing.

Jbrennon

NJ Jan-I believe that you missed the point. If you visited our website, we lay everything out clearly. We are calling out the hypocracy of the chief, no one cares what side politically anyone is or if it was BLM rally or a town parade. The Chief wrote about his covid safety concerns (people not wearing mask, etc) in his report (full police report on website) then later has no issue not wearing a mask himself greeting 100+ people. That is the point.

NJ

jbrennon - And my point is, if you want support, drop the nasty tactics. They're immature and divisive.

Umpquabob

Sounds like a real sour grapes group or.... maybe a China / Russian group of agitators trying to overthrow the guberment starting with the terrible Roseburg Police Chief. They need to get a life or move to Portland where their mindset belongs. "#@%$&**%". Interpret that, sonny.

Jbrennon

We love Roseburg and love our community. We just dont like it when our chief of police lies about reasons why crime rate is so high and his hypocracy. If you have evidence otherwise that contradict the "why bother" and "online reporting system" excuse by the chief as the reason why our crime statistics look high, please share that. If you believe that the chief citing covid safety issues in his report to OSHA then later have no issue not wearing a mask and touching people is not hypocritical, please do tell us why.

Roseburg Reader

Citizens for Truth - you have NO IDEA what the truth is!

Jbrennon

Roseburg Reader- If you have evidence otherwise that contradict the "why bother" and "online reporting system" excuse by the chief as the reason why our crime statistics look high, please share that. If you believe that the chief citing covid safety issues in his report to OSHA then later have no issue not wearing a mask and touching people is not hypocritical, please do tell us why.

garyd

who were the other uptight citizens who signed this letter?

OregonHusker

It sounds like some right wing Covid deniers are angry with Gary. Good.

This county was derelict in their response to it due to politics. Personally, I'd walk through a wall of fire for the man. He's a good man and a good cop. I know this first hand. He's a bigger man than the last three weasels who occupied his chair.

P209

[thumbup]

Kter-pot-taters

😂

George Weston

The problem is that there is no respect for law and order. Nixon and Trump were, supposedly, law and order Presidents who were full of lawlessness and disorder. Is that what the GOP wants to be remembered for?

S

Let's play to tell the truth . . . . I reported Casey's to OSHA.

Citizen495

Good for you. [thumbup] Brave thing considering this current environment.

CitizenJoe

Paranoid, delusional bullies. Dallas Heard and his gang of thugs need to follow Trump off into the dustbin of history.

mworden

So, let me get this straight ... the Roseburg Citizens for Truth are recommending:

1: They say Roseburg police should refuse to investigate some theft and property crimes in order to keep the crime statistics artificially low. Where's a cop when you need them?

2. They oppose Roseburg Police and the Chief himself walking the line of BLM protesters to make sure the event stayed peaceful. Would riots have suited you better?

3. They demand that businesses be in a special class that's not reported for violating regulations. Does this extend to cleanliness, too?

Citizens for Truth please meet Dallas Heard. You seem like a good couple.

P209

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