The chorus of voices calling for the ouster of first-term Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer has continued to grow over the past several weeks to include some unlikely detractors, among them three former members of the commission.
Past commissioners Mary Stern, Stan Primozich and Rick Olson — a trio representing a wide swath of political ideologies — were nonetheless united in their scorn for Berschauer's actions and tactics since she replaced Olson in January.
"I am astounded and dumbfounded by the behavior of Commissioner Berschauer," Olson said on Facebook. "To this day, I continue to question my decision not to run for re-election given the number of questions with Commissioner Berschauer's track record: her prior political involvement both personally and the involvement of her political consulting firm, her campaign finance contributors and fundraising, the campaign techniques against her opponent Barbara Boyer and her leadership and decision-making as a commissioner once she was elected."
Berschauer has declined to comment for this newspaper's stories on the recall. She last addressed the recall effort on her county Facebook page in August, when she posted a lengthy statement castigating the originators of the recall effort, Save Yamhill County, as well as her opponents in the May 2020 election, fellow commissioner Casey Kulla, supporters of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail and others. She characterized the recall effort as being spearheaded by, among others, progressives from Portland seeking to flip Yamhill County "blue" and replace conservative legislators Bill Post, Kim Thatcher, Ron Noble and Brian Boquist.
"Statewide progressive groups see Yamhill County as the next battlefield since we are on the outskirts of the Portland metro region and in order for Portland's policies to work (taxation, mass transit, etc.) they must expand their reach. It is all about control and unfortunately the needs of our families won't be a priority if they win."
Berschauer is not without her supporters, though. Mark Pihl, president of Timber Unity, urged members of the association to support the embattled commissioner: "Lindsay is the only commissioner in Oregon to serve on our board and for good reason: she fights daily to protect our working families and has stood with us since Timber Unity was created two years ago. She has our full support and we encourage you to help her push back on this effort."
Berschauer's county and personal Facebook pages are awash with comments supporting her efforts on the commission, including her lead in stopping the county's efforts on the trail and for her stance against requiring COVID-19 vaccinations.
"Lindsay is doing a beautiful job at exactly what she was voted to do, correct very basic ideals that were getting out of hand," Michelle Andrews wrote on Facebook.
Stern, Primozich and others have seen Berschauer's actions in a different light.
"As a former county commissioner who dedicated much of my adult life to serving the citizens of my beloved Yamhill County, I am deeply saddened by the actions of Ms. Berschauer," Stern wrote on Facebook. "It is abundantly clear that Lindsay is not equipped to handle the important responsibilities of a commissioner. Yamhill County citizens deserve intelligent, thoughtful, honest representation. Please vote to recall this incompetent and dangerous person and return some sanity to the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners."
"I normally would not support this type of political activity. That being said, I do not think Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer considers what is best for Yamhill County in her activities or in her votes on the Board of Commissioners," Primozich commented on Facebook. "Her voting leads me to believe that she has a personal agenda that serves a few of the citizens, but certainly not the majority. What the few citizens who voted in that election were led to believe was that Lindsay was going to educate herself on the needs of the county and she would work diligently to see that all citizens of Yamhill County were well-served. As we quickly found out, she has an agenda that gives little if any consideration to the greater needs of our county and serves only the few people who put many dollars into her campaign. … Lindsay has replaced being knowledgeable and competent with loud and abusive words."
Save Yamhill County got the go-ahead from the county clerk's office in August to begin circulating petitions to place recall of Berschauer on the November general election ballot. Petitioners have until Nov. 1 to submit the signatures of 6,783 voters, which will then be verified by the clerk's office and placed on the ballot unless Berschauer chooses to resign her office. SYC officials reported last week that more than 120 volunteer petition circulators have fanned out across the county over the past several weeks, in addition to online petitions submitted by county voters. "We are hitting our targets and feel confident in our success," a SYC official said.
County group endorses recall
The Yamhill County Employee Association announced in mid-August that it was endorsing the recall effort and is urging Oregon AFSCME, the state's public employee union, to consider supporting the recall as well.
"Berschauer stated during her campaign that she believes our salaries, those of Yamhill County staff serving our community, should be reduced," a release from the organization said. "However, it is notable that last year our union was able to demonstrate to Yamhill County that we were below market for many classifications. After Commissioner Berschauer said she believed our salaries should be reduced, we are proud to have negotiated a fair market adjustment to our wages. …
"Commissioner Berschauer takes positions about highly controversial issues to say they're for our benefit without taking the time to learn what we as Yamhill County employees actually think."
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