Early this week, Baker City, a small town in Eastern Oregon, made headlines when a circuit judge ruled against Gov. Kate Brown's stay-at-home orders. Now, it's garnered attention for something far less controversial.
On Tuesday, Baker City residents overwhelmingly passed a measure that allows the city council to sell a used backhoe.
Measure 10-99, which gives Baker City the authority to sell the 1995 excavating machine, passed with 2,900 votes. Around 250 people voted against the sale, and even though it's by far the minority, that still seems like a lot of people for an anti-backhoe sale faction.
On the same ballot, Baker City voters also passed a measure so that they'll never have to approve the sale of a backhoe again.
The city charter, written in 1880, previously required the council to get the approval of voters to sell any surplus equipment valued at over $10,000—hence the backhoe measure. Voters passed an amendment to the charter, giving the council the power to sell old machinery without a public vote.
But the town's final voter-approved sale has led to a surprising afterlife for the backhoe. Now, the aging equipment has become one of the most famous backhoes on Twitter:
Sure, Baker City may have decided to discard the backhoe, but now it's beloved by Twitter users across the state. In a way, it will always have the backhoe.