Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



UPDATE: Damon declines to comment until ballot-fraud investigation is completed

by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Oak Grove Elvis Ray Herrera congratulates John Ludlow after his victory became apparent in the Nov. 6 election for Clackamas County chairman as Republicans celebrated on election night at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas.“He’s OUR bully!” declared the Oak Grove Elvis, Ray Herrera, of John Ludlow after the candidate’s victory became apparent in the Nov. 6 election for Clackamas County chairman.

Republicans cheered Elvis’ remark as they celebrated on election night at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. By early Wednesday morning both Ludlow and fellow challenger Tootie Smith had commanding leads of more than 52 percent over their opponents, switching the commission’s make up to what they call a “new direction.”

But not so fast on that bully comment, Ludlow said. He told Elvis that he still felt wounded by the signs that a supporter of his opponent, incumbent Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan, put up all over the county.

Also a former mayor of Wilsonville, Ludlow had spent the last few weeks of his campaign explaining to voters that there would no way he could have continued to receive awards for his work with youth, mothers and seniors if he were a bully.

Ludlow has announced Wilsonville High School football and boys basketball games since the school opened 17 years ago, and played Santa since 1988 for the Gladstone Senior Center, Alzheimer’s centers, fundraisers, local Ronald McDonald Houses and schools.

But Elvis explained to Ludlow that he considered the candidate to be “his bully” because, to steal a phrase from President Teddy Roosevelt, the chairperson’s position could be called Clackamas County’s “bully pulpit.” Ludlow liked how Elvis co-opted the phrase and wrote “To Elvis, From the ‘Bully’ (signed) John Ludlow” on one of his campaign RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - John Ludlow signs Elvis' campaign sign 'From the 'Bully.''

Clackamas County, under supervision of Secretary of State elections monitors, has identified six ballots that were potentially altered by the accused temporary county elections employee. Lehan’s campaign said on election night that it would challenge the results if they within a few hundred votes, but Ludlow had a more than 6,000-vote margin with 98 percent of the votes counted.

by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Incumbent Clackamas County Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan worries about election results on Nov. 6 with political consultant Jeremy Wright (left) at the Highcliffe Restaurant in Oregon City.


With a fairly narrow margin of victory, Ludlow told this newspaper that he did not feel that he had a mandate from voters to stop dealings with Metro, TriMet or other organizations he feels represent “Portland creep” into Clackamas County. However, he’d plan to go to voters for approval of any future regional plans such as the controversial light-rail line through Milwaukie.

“Stakeholders shouldn’t speak for the will of the people,” he said. “County commissioners paid that $20 million to TriMet four days before the rail-vote election, and that was their undoing.”

Ludlow said that the county’s own polls have shown that locals support road work, so he’ll be putting his focus on transportation issues. He said that most people choose to drive their cars because they value the time that it saves.

“Seniors will tell you that time is the most valuable thing in life,” he said. “In order to find more money for roads, rather than ask taxpayers to pay more, I’m going to the employees of the county to ask them what cost-saving measures they can find.”

Smith, who lives and operates a bed-and-breakfast in Molalla, has many similar views to Ludlow. She says government should be of, by and for the people, and that has been lost on the current commission.

Smith served in the state Legislature for four years, including as a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Smith says she would draw upon her experience as a legislator and her time as a small business operator to understand and represent the views of Clackamas County residents.

Commissioner Jamie Damon thanked supporters for inspiring her to put together a “people-powered campaign,” saying she never thought she’d be battling hundreds of thousands of dollars of out-of-county money and some of the most divisive politics Oregon has seen. Damon also acknowledged, in the letter to supporters that “according to reported results,” she was trailing Smith.

“However, you are no doubt aware a Clackamas County elections employee is currently under investigation by the state Department of Justice for alleged ballot tampering, and it’s been reported she was marking ballots for my opponent,” she wrote. “Due to this investigation I have been advised by legal counsel to hold off on making a statement regarding my race.”

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