Fourth candidate enters Columbia County commissioner race
One more candidate filed for Position 2 on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners before last week's deadline, bringing the field to four.
Jonathan Barclay, who moved to Deer Island in 2020 after nearly two decades in Hillsboro, said he is running because he doesn't believe Columbia County voters are being represented.
"The people really need representation, and they feel like they've been failed, and I agree with them," Barclay said, "and so I would like to be their voice and allow them to feel like their vote and their voice is heard."
Barclay said the biggest example that sticks out to him is the ongoing ordeal of the two firearm rights ordinances that voters approved in 2018 and 2020. The ordinances prohibited the use of county resources to enforce most gun regulations. The county filed a petition for judicial validation, seeking to have a judge determine whether or not the ordinances were valid under state and federal law.
"The people of Columbia County voted in two ordinances, SAPO and SASO … Columbia commissioners didn't like that. And they essentially went against the voters and they used a taxpayer-funded lawyer that argued against the people," Barclay said.
The county has not explicitly argued against approving the ordinances, but county counsel Sarah Hanson said the validation proceedings were initiated to "allow the court to tell us whether the county can actually decline to enforce certain laws, and … how to abide by the will of the voters to the extent that we can."
Judge Ted Grove dismissed the validation proceeding, saying it didn't meet the standards for a review, but he did not review the legality of the ordinances. The county is now appealing.
Barclay works in Hillsboro as the director of maintenance for a hotel management company.
Barclay said recent approvals of large housing projects in Scappoose and St. Helens were another area of concern — though construction within city limits is approved by the city, not the county.
"It's going to put more traffic, it's going to put a bigger drain on the resources that we already have," Barclay said.
Barclay said he couldn't define his top three priorities if elected.
"Ultimately, it's what the people want," Barclay said. "The people need to have the opportunity to come to the meeting, voice what they want to have happen, and then the person that they elect needs to do as (the citizens) wish, regardless of what their personal beliefs are."
Barclay says he has not attended any county commissioners' meetings and has not had any prior elected or appointed government experience.
"The county has a lot of good attributes, and that's why people like moving here," Barclay said. "Our county is expanding greatly. I would just like to instill the small-town values and make sure that we stay wholesome and don't go the route of our neighbors."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.