The race for District 2 on the Washington County Commission is down to the incumbent, Greg Malinowksi, versus the challenger, Pam Treece. And if voters are having a tough time choosing, welcome to the club.
The race was a close call, but we are endorsing Pam Treece for the seat.
District 2 includes parts of the northeastern Hillsboro area, continuing east to take in northern portions of Beaverton, along with Cedar Mill and Bethany, all the way to the Multnomah County line.
Treece comes into this race having served almost six years as executive director of the Westside Economic Alliance, which has grown into one of the best, most thoughtful, more holistic public policy forums in the state.
Running the WEA gives Treece a high perch with good sight-lines. She has spoken with Pamplin Media Group's reporters on many occasions and shows a competent knowledge of issues ranging from housing and transportation to equity and public health. She has garnered a list of endorsements as long as her femur, and not just from the business community (the base of the alliance), but from NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, labor unions and former Gov. Barbara Roberts.
We won't sugarcoat this: Gender is an issue. The existing Washington County Board of Commissioners is a collection of five middle-aged white guys. An opportunity to get a little bit of diversity on that dais helped push her over the top for us. It is important to have different voices on the Board of Commissioners, and for too long, it has gone without any female representation.
Malinowski is born and raised in this area and has served on the commission since 2011. He's got a good list of endorsements and a solid voting record.
Equally important: Last year, Jerry Jones Jr., a member of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce and an elected member of the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation Board, was accused of sexual harassment by a woman who worked as a volunteer at the chamber. Malinowski was the first elected official in the county to reach out to The Times, our sister paper serving the Beaverton area, and say, "Enough. Jones has got to go." Speaking with Malinowski at the time, it was clear that he was disgusted by the accusations and felt that all elected officials are tainted by any one elected official acting in so terrible a manner. Malinowski gained great credibility with us at that moment.
We wanted to endorse him for re-election. We were prepared to. But Treece has simply put up too good a campaign, with so much energy, knowledge and drive, that she tipped the scale in her direction.
Voters in District 2 cannot go wrong on this race. But by a narrow margin, we urge a "yes" vote for Pam Treece.
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