Rierson, Loving re-elected to park board
In the May 21 special election, a number of positions lined the ballot in Yamhill County. Among them were two seats on the Chehalem Park & Recreation District board, occupied prior to the election by board president Bart Rierson and vice president Don Loving.
The voters, 1,737 of whom picked Loving and 1,691 for Rierson, retained Rierson and Loving for another four years. Voters were instructed to pick their top two candidates and the incumbents won out.
It was a contested election for the first time in a long time, according to Loving, but he and Rierson's challengers came up short. Nicholas Morace received 1,273 votes and Bruce Snyder pulled in 1,154.
Rierson said he is excited for the election to be over and for he and Loving to return to their work on behalf of the community.
"I'm pleased to be re-elected," Rierson said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to serve again for another four years. There's still work to do and I'd really like to see more trails in Newberg and Dundee."
Rierson is laser-focused on a paddle launch project as well, which he said is making significant progress. He added that completion of the pool and fitness center are hallmark projects that voters were likely pleased with.
Those facilities, which Rierson called "world class," were the result of an involved community and one that remains supportive of the park district.
"It's a community with a lot of public involvement," Rierson said. "There's a lot of people who don't contribute to where they live in other communities, and here it seems like everybody wants to work together to make it a better place."
Loving agrees. He said the involvement displayed by community members at board meetings and elsewhere is encouraging.
"I'm a firm believer in giving back to the community," Loving said. "For many years, serving on the park board has been my niche in doing that. I still have a lot of enthusiasm for what the park district does and I'm happy to continue in that role."
Loving said he expects a lot of development in north Newberg in the coming years, including the construction of some new parks that the community "needs and wants." The challenge, as always, is about finding the money to build and maintain the parks.
While they don't always agree, Loving said he appreciates how the board often comes to a consensus on issues that impact the community. Having divergent points of view on the board, he said, makes for a more representative local government.
Loving added that he was glad to have challengers for the first time in what he believes is three election cycles. It is further evidence, he said, of the public's interest in making the community better.
"It was interesting for me to be part of a contested election," Loving said. "We need people to be involved and I appreciate the folks who stepped up and ran. I wish they would have attended board meetings leading up to the election, though. It's always interesting to hear criticism of the park district from people who never come to board meetings."
The next board of directors meeting is June 27. On that day, the board is expected to vote to adopt the park district's proposed 2019-2020 budget.