Voters to consider elections, measurers
In less than a month, Jefferson County voters will cast their ballots for an array of candidates and a variety of measures. If you haven't registered to vote, Tuesday, Oct. 16, is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election.
On the local level, each of the county's three communities will vote for mayor and three city council positions. Metolius has a three-way race for mayor, with incumbent John Chavez being challenged by two councilors — Tryna Muilenburg and Foncie "Carl" Elliott.
Chavez was elected mayor in 2016, after serving on the council for three years. Both Muilenburg and Elliott have served on the council for eight years. Muilenburg's position ends in 2018, and Elliott's in 2020. Elliott previously served as mayor for four of the eight years.
Only two Metolius residents are on the ballot for three council seats: Patty Wyler, who was first appointed in 2011, and elected in 2014, and Dan Dulaney, who has served on the council for the past two years. No one is running for Muilenburg's seat.
Culver also has a race for mayor with Ginger Gann challenging incumbent Nancy Diaz, who has served on the council since 2009, and became mayor in 2014.
Hilario Diaz has filed to retain position 6, and Shannon Orr, position 2, but no candidate filed for position 1.
Madras Mayor Royce Embanks, who has served in that position for the past four years, and prior to that, as councilor since 2003, will step down, and run for a seat on the council. Running for Madras mayor will be Council President Richard Ladeby, who has served on the council since 2011.
Running to retain their seats on the Madras City Council are Bartt Brick, who was appointed to his seat in January 2016, and Rosalind "Rose" Canga, who was appointed in October 2017.
Running unopposed for Jefferson County clerk is chief deputy clerk Kate Zemke, who collected more than 54 percent of the vote in a four-way vote in the May primary election. Zemke has worked in the Clerk's Office for the past 17 years.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins is running unopposed for the position he has held for the past eight years.
Jefferson County jail levy
Besides his own election, Adkins is also hoping that voters will give the nod to the only countywide measure — a five-year jail operations levy. Currently, county residents pay $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed value. The new levy would increase 46 cents per $1,000 to $1.70 per $1,000.
"The increase would address cost increases attributable to inflation, inmate medical expenses, insurance and PERS," the ballot states.
Currently, the Jefferson County facility houses 22-32 Crook County inmates, at a cost of $76.32 per inmate, per day. Next year, the new Crook County jail will be completed, which will mean the loss of about $750,000 per year, Adkins said.
"We all suspected that this day would come, when Crook County would build their own facility and we would have to step up to the plate and pay what it actually costs for our facility," he said on Tuesday. "It doesn't matter whether I have 25 inmates or 110 inmates, I still need the same number of employees to operate the jail. Today as of noon, there were 94 inmates, with 20 Crook County inmates."
CRR Rural Fire District local option levy
Crooked River Ranch residents will vote on a five-year local option levy for the CRR Rural Fire District. The district is seeking an increase of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in the local option levy, up to 89 cents per $1,000. The district also has a permanent levy of $1.8379 per $1,000.
The levy is needed to maintain current staffing levels, meet the district's minimum projected equipment replacement plan, and maintain and upgrade the fire station.
Culver marijuana prohibition
Residents of the city of Culver will decide whether or not to continue to prohibit medical marijuana processors and distributors, and recreational producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers in the city.
A yes vote on Measure 16-90 would prohibit "certain marijuana registrants and/or licensees in Culver." The city has banned marijuana sales within the city since 2016.
National, state elections
On the national level, only one seat is on the ballot — U.S. representative for the 2nd District, a position held by Rep. Greg Walden for the past 20 years. Walden, a Republican from The Dalles, is being challenged by Crooked River Ranch resident Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democrat, and Mark R. Roberts, an Independent.
Statewide, Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, will face five challengers, Republican Knute Buehler, Independent Patrick Starnes, Libertarian Nick Chen, Aaron Auer of the Constitution Party, and Chris Henry of the Progressive Party.
State Sen. Cliff Bentz, a Republican who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Ted Ferrioli in November 2017, will be challenged by Democrat Solea Kabakov for the 30th District. Ferrioli resigned to serve on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
Republican Daniel Bonham, who was selected to replace 59th District Rep. John Huffman, will be challenged by Democrat Darcy Long-Curtiss. Bonham was appointed after Huffman resigned in November 2017 to accept a position as state director of the USDA Rural Development.
Five statewide measures
The ballots, which will be mailed out around Oct. 17, will also include five statewide measures, four of which would amend the state constitution.
Measure 102 would amend the constitution to allow local governments to issue bonds to finance affordable housing with nongovernmental entities.
Measure 103 would amend the constitution to prohibit state or local taxes or fees on groceries.
Measure 104 would amend the constitution to expand the type of bills to raise revenue that require a three-fifths legislative majority for approval. Currently, only bills that levy or increase taxes require a three-fifths majority.
Measure 105 would repeal the law that limits the use of state or local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
Measure 106 would amend the constitution to prohibit spending federal funds directly or indirectly for abortion and would reduce abortion access.
The Oregon voters' pamphlet, which will be mailed out this week, will have additional information on the state and federal candidates and measures.