The elected leaders of Woodland, Washington, on Thursday came out against recent vaccine mandates in the state, and discouraged local businesses from requiring vaccines for workers.
An impassioned resolution passed by Woodland City Council called the mandates “horrendous civil rights violations,” and told workers who are required to be vaccinated to challenge the mandates in court.
The city’s resolution said Woodland would not require its own staff to get vaccinated. It said other businesses, locally and across the state, should follow suit.
“We highly encourage employers to follow the example set by the City of Woodland and not mandate the injection of substance into an employee’s body as a requirement for employment,” the resolution said.
The resolution passed by a 5-0 vote. Councilors Janice Graham, Carol Rounds, Dave Plaza, DeeAnna Holland and Benjamin Fredricks voted in favor. Councilors Monte Smith and Karl Chapman did not attend. Plaza wrote the resolution.
Mayor Will Finn, the city’s top administrator and a Washington State Patrol officer, said he supported the resolution. Before deliberations, he called Washington Gov. Jay Inslee “our tyrannical leader.”
“I think it goes well beyond vaccines,” he said in the meeting. “This is the first step to losing even more.”
During discussion, councilors invoked similar language. A comment from a member of the public raised questions as to whether the city was opening itself up to backlash from the state.
A representative from the governor’s office told OPB the office likely would not intervene in Woodland’s resolution.
In Washington state, workers for state government, schools and health care companies must be vaccinated by Oct. 18, under policies announced by Inslee as COVID-19 infections have surged throughout the state.
Woodland straddles Cowlitz and Clark counties, both of which are seeing coronavirus spikes, according to state data.
Cowlitz is in the midst of its largest COVID-19 spike to date. As of Aug. 19, the county had 93 confirmed cases and 15 probable cases. Hospitalizations have also also at their highest levels in August, the data showed.
Woodland isn’t the first local government to try to buck state mandates. In June, Kelso officials tried to oppose requirements for masks and proof of vaccines at certain events. That resolution failed on a 3-2 vote.