Dundee will convene a full council in January
Residents of Dundee embraced an unusual campaign to fill an open spot on the City Council on Election Day. The result is that the city will enjoy a full council in January.
The city found itself in a bit of bind in September when it was revealed that only two incumbents — Jeannette Adlong and Tim Weaver — would be running for three open spots on the council.
Incumbent Kristen Svicarovich chose not to run for reelection, meaning either the electorate had to choose a replacement by write-in vote or the council would be faced with appointing Svicarovich's successor at its Jan. 4 meeting.
Dundee's citizens chose the former in a big way.
As expected, when votes were tallied soon after the Nov. 11 election, Weaver and Adlong had won reelection. But then the electorate endorsed a plethora of write-in candidates as well, ranging from famous individuals like the late Alex Trebek (not a Dundee resident) to dozens of everyday folks.
Topping the list for the third council spot was David Ford, who garnered 12 write-in votes; Adlong tallied 1,055 votes and Weaver 1,039. Incumbent mayor David Russ ran unopposed for another term.
Ford, 65, a forester and founder of L&C Carbon in 2010, has been an Oregon resident since 1991 and moved to Dundee in 2013. This is his first foray into small-town politics, although he has served on the city's budget committee since 2018. He also is a member of the Yamhill County Parkway Committee after being appointed by the Board of Commissioners. In addition, he also serves as a commissioner on the Oregon Global Warming Commission, following an appointment by the governor.
"As a resident of the city of Dundee, I would like to contribute to our community," he responded when asked why he wanted to join the council.
Ford's write-in campaign was fairly informal.
"I have considered running for City Council in the past," he said. "With a vacancy on the council, I talked with some of my neighbors and they were willing to vote for me. I did not mount an organized campaign due to limited time. Also, I found out that many residents vote early, which is a good thing!"
Asked if there was anything in particular he would like to accomplish during his four-term on the council, Ford responded: "Maintaining the livability of our community as we grow in population is a priority. Also, continuing the revitalization of the downtown core and attracting more businesses that are fit and serve our community."
City Manager Rob Daykin said he was confident the council position would be filled one way or another.
"If there was not a qualified write-in candidate, then the council would appoint a qualified candidate to fill the position vacated by Councilor Kristen Svicarovich," he said.
He also was nonplussed by the dozens of write-in votes: "We generally get write-ins whether there is an open position or not."
The possibility that one council position would go unfilled in the general election, however, was not typical for the town of roughly 3,300 residents.
"I came on board in 2007. I do not recall this happening (before) in my tenure," Daykin said in October.
Electing a councilor via the write-in process is not as straightforward as one would think. Daykin explained in October that once the city receives certified election results from the county clerk, it must confirm that the successful write-in candidate meets the eligibility requirements in the city charter (a qualified elector residing in the city during the 12 months immediately preceding the election). If the candidate meets the criteria, he or she is then offered the nomination.
"David does meet the requirements and he is willing to take the oath of office in January," Daykin said.
Had Ford chose not to accept the nomination, the city would have moved on to the person receiving the second most write-in votes and begun the process anew. In this case, the person who garnered the second most votes was Chuck Cook, who tallied five votes.
Among the dozens of others who received write-in votes was former mayor Neil Cohen (1), Jesus Christ (1), county treasurer candidate Paulette Alexandria (1), conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh (1) and the late acting legend Sean Connery (1).
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