‘Chicken’ interrupts council meeting

November 20th, 2009 by

durangoherald.com – Entering the third hour of a dry City Council meeting, a person in a chicken costume surprised Durango’s five councilors with an unscheduled visit Tuesday, before heading back out under the lights of East Second Avenue and into a frosty November night.
And one day later, officials at City Hall were no closer to naming a suspect.

The human-sized chicken made its bewildering appearance at council chambers just after 8:30 p.m., as Mayor Leigh Meigs was discussing the language of a recently-passed backyard hen ordinance.

Making a few characteristic chicken noises, the animal entered the room carrying a sign featuring a misspelling of “chicken” and a check mark, took a few turns, and then a seat in the otherwise-empty gallery.

The pseudo-chicken sat patiently and rocked its head while confused councilors chuckled and looked on and attempted to continue. Several minutes later, the council went into a scheduled closed session and the chicken appropriately rose from its seat to leave. On its way out, the bird approached the dais, crouched and left an egg on the floor.

“We have no idea who that was,” said Councilor Doug Lyon, who denied any involvement. “None of my associates has a chicken costume.”

He said fellow councilor and eat-local advocate Michael Rendon might be responsible. Lyon called the spectacle a “humorous interlude” in an otherwise business-like meeting.

Councilor Christina Thompson was relieved as well.

“I thought it was hilarious,” she said. I was laughing so hard my eyes hurt, and my cheeks … There are just so many other things for us to be serious about, it’s good to take a break once in a while.”

The chicken ordinance passed 3-2 at the Nov. 3 council meeting, after a year and a half of public hearings, study sessions and council meetings. Lyon and Meigs opposed the measure citing concerns about dust, odor and predators. Councilor Paul Broderick broke the tie with a vote in support but said later he wished someone had tackled that chicken.

“I want to know who that clucker was,” he said.

At the time of the incident, Meigs and Lyon were asking that the term “predator-resistant” be a required term, not a recommended one, as was written in the ordinance. Meigs said she was glad to have in attendance a supporter of her argument.

“He was obviously there for safety,” she said. “Sanctuary.”

She, too, had no idea who the chicken was.

“Maybe Michael brought him,” she said.

Rendon, who introduced the chicken ordinance over a year ago, avows no knowledge of the event, despite being spotted previously in a chicken costume at a Snowdown parade.

“That was a white chicken head,” Rendon said.

The chicken Tuesday was yellow-headed.

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