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Two school board and one park board incumbents defeated in special district elections

Newberg's two marquee races in the May 18 special district election saw razor thin margins and quick reporting of unofficial results on the evening of May 18. Approximately 25 percent of registered voters participated in the crucial local elections, with county officials reporting 100 percent of precinct results counted as of Friday.

In the Newberg school board races, two of the three candidates backed by the conservative "Save Our Schools" PAC emerged victorious. Trevor DeHart defeated incumbent Ron Mock in Zone 1 by a margin of 51.33% to 48.67%.

"I spent many hours getting to know some of the members of our community," DeHart said in an email. "The concerns raised about our schools had a common theme and I will ensure I do everything in my authority as a board member to address those concerns. As I look ahead, I see there is much to learn and do. I look forward to meeting with the existing board members and working to ensure our students have an educational system that facilitates learning excellence and an atmosphere that unites."

Mock pointed to his financial disadvantage in defeat.

"I think my campaign did show that it is possible to beat a statewide organization with a low-cost local school board campaign," Mock said via email. "But spending a small fraction of the money the SOS group did requires spending more time building a team and planning ahead than I did. Or it requires a more gregarious, extroverted candidate than I am. Or maybe both. In any case, I didn't do enough, which cost us this election."

Renee Powell won with a 45.81% of the vote in Zone 5, holding off challenger Tai Harden, who received 36.51% of the vote. Zone 5 incumbent Bob Woodruff — who dropped out of the race after the ballots were finalized — still received 17.68% of the vote.

"Honestly, I was disappointed by the election results," Harden said in an email. "However, I was not completely surprised by them. While there are a lot of amazing people in Newberg, the fact is, there is also a very deep problem with racism in this community. The racism here is deep-seeded and has been allowed to persist unchecked in this community for too long. The things that were said to and about me during the campaign were a clear illustration of that, and the election results are a manifestation of it.

"Unfortunately, the city of Newberg was not ready for the equity-focused approach to leadership I sought to bring to the school board."

In Zone 4, incumbent Ines Peña – who ran alongside Harden as a more progressive candidate – prevented a sweep from the Save Our Schools candidates by a narrow margin, beating John Read 51.00% to 49.00% to earn her first full term on the board.

All the winning candidates were elected to serve four-year terms on the school board.

CPRD board election results

In a crowded field of 12 candidates vying for three spots on the Chehalem Park & Recreation District board, the trio of winners all received 18% or less of the vote. Elected to the board for four-year terms were Jim McMaster (18.00%), Gayle Bizeau (15.19%) and incumbent Lisa Rogers (13.12%). Judy Brown finished fourth in the race with 12.50% of the vote; incumbent Peter Siderius ended up fifth (11.54%).

"I am looking forward to using my past experience in the field of parks and recreation to improve the quality of life for the residents of the Chehalem Park and Recreation District," McMaster said via text message.

Results will be finalized by county elections officials in the coming weeks. For more information on elections throughout the state, visit the Oregon Secretary of State's website.


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