Tight races yield city council shake-ups in Scappoose, St. Helens and Columbia City

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Jaime Holstein drops off a ballot on election night Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the Columbia County Courthouse dropbox before polls closed at 8 p.m. By 8 p.m., Columbia County elections officials reported roughly 15,000 ballots remaining to be counted. Polls across Oregon and Columbia County closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 for the 2018 General Election. A third round of results posted early Wednesday morning showed tight races for city council in St. Helens and Columbia City, where results remained too close to call as of 2 a.m.

This year, voters considered everything from a governor's race that yielded unprecedented campaign spending, to local city council races to statewide measures affecting abortion access, immigration policing, and taxes. Columbia County voters also selected a new sheriff- Brian Pixley, and weighed in on a regional 2nd Amendment ordinance.

Here are the up-to-date unofficial election results, as they become available:

Statewide results

Governor: Kate Brown- 799,051 (50 percent)

Knute Buehler- 845,965 (44 percent)

Patrick Starnes- 49,345 (2.88 percent)

Nick Chen- 25,027

Aaron Auer- 18,980

Chris Henry- 9,822

U.S. Representative, 1st District:

Suzanne Bonamici- 188,217

John Verbeek- 97,803

Drew Layda- 11,344

State Senator, 16th District:

Betsy Johnson- 46,570

Ray Biggs- 9,775

State Representative, 31st District:

Brad Witt- 15,898

Brian Stout- 13,728


102- Local bonds for affordable housing

YES- 56.3 percent

NO- 43.7 percent

103- Grocery tax ban

NO- 57.5 percent

YES- 42.5 percent

104- Requires three-fifths legislative approval for raising revenue

NO- 65.4 percent

YES- 34.6 percent

105- Repeals sanctuary state law

NO- 63 percent

YES- 37 percent

106- Prohibits tax dollars from being used for abortion

NO- 64.3 percent

YES- 35.7 percent

Countywide results

Columbia County Sheriff

Brian Pixley- 10,049

Dave Brown- 8,761

Jim Gibson- 2,525

In Columbia County, the race for sheriff was one of the most closely watched and by 2 a.m. Wednesday, Brian Pixley won by more than 1,000 votes.

The sheriff's race drew public scrutiny over campaign spending on behalf of Pixley and Brown. Pixley drew support from current Columbia County Sheriff's Office employees, and a nod from former sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Brown received heavy financial backing from Tyler Miller, a former Sheriff's Office reserve deputy.

Columbia County Commissioner

Henry Heimuller- 15,096

Write-in- 1,122

Incumbent Henry Heimuller ended up running unopposed for Position 2 on the board of commissioners after his opponent dropped out of the race earlier this year.

St. Helens City Council

In the race for St. Helens mayor, incumbent Rick Scholl is running against St. Helens business owner Al Petersen.

Scholl showed an early lead Tuesday over Petersen at the first count.

Scholl, who runs his own yard maintenance company has served one term as mayor after being elected in 2016. Petersen runs AKAAN Architecture + Design in St. Helens, and this election marks his first bid for mayor. Mayoral seats are reelected every two years in St. Helens.

St. Helens Mayor: Rick Scholl - 3,412

Al Petersen -1,598

Two positions were up for re-election on the St. Helens City Council — Pos. 1, currently held by Doug Morten, and Pos. 3, held by Susan Conn. Conn lost her bid for re-election to challenger Steve Topaz, who garnered just 42 more votes by Wednesday morning. City council members are elected to serve four year terms.

Morten, who has served on the council since 2007, ran against two political newcomers — Maggie Clayton, owner of Running Dogs Brewery, and Mark Griffith. Conn, who has served on the council since 2012 by appointment and was re-elected in 2015, was challenged for her seat by Topaz, a St. Helens resident who is known for his regular attendance at council meetings and vocal opinions about local politics. Topaz also previously ran for city council in 2016.

By the third round of vote totals, Morten held the lead in his run, while Topaz held a tight lead over Conn that was just enough to win the seat.

St. Helens City Council, Position 1:

Doug Morten-1,918

Maggie Clayton-1,763

Mark Griffith-876

St. Helens City Council, Position 3:

Steven Topaz-2,294

Susan Conn-2,252

Scappoose City Council

Incumbent Scott Burge ran unopposed for the mayor's seat, and will embark on his next term as Scappoose mayor.

Three other council seats were up for grabs. Incumbent Mark Reed lost his seat to political newcomer Brandon Lesowske, while incumbents Joel Haugen and Josh Poling, both appointed to their positions prior to the election, will retain their council seats.

Mayor: Scott Burge (unopposed)- 2,352

Joel Haugen- 2,227

Josh Poling- 1,953

Brandon Lesowske- 1,763

Mark Reed- 1,212

City of Columbia City

The city of Columbia City was bound to get a new mayor this election cycle as longtime Mayor Cheryl Young announced earlier this year she would not file to run again, citing health concerns. The only person to file for the position was Casey Wheeler, the current executive director of the Columbia Pacific Food Bank.

As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, Wheeler had received 706 votes.

Mayor: Casey Wheeler (unopposed)- 786

Susan Ziglinski- 705

Gordon Thistle- 689

Columbia River PUD

Subdivision 1: Debbie Reed- 2,152

Guy Auker- 1,106

Subdivision 2: Craig Melton- 2,032 (unopposed)

Subdivision 5: Harry Price- 2,152 (unopposed)

Countywide measures

Measure 5-270: 2nd Amendment preservation ordinance- YES- 12,699

No- 10,438

This story previously contained an error in reporting the results for Columbia City City Council. The story has been updated to reflect correct information.

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