In his first time running for an elected position, Sandy resident Mark Shull hopes to unseat Clackamas County Commissioner Ken Humberston with a campaign to "Keep Clackamas County affordable."
Shull, who's been involved politically in the area the last few decades, has never thought to champion himself as a candidate until this year. He filed Monday, Feb. 10.
"It's going to be fun and I enjoy the challenge," Shull said.
In the past, Shull has served as captain of the House 52 Republicans, committeeman for Precinct 404 of the Clackamas County Republicans and alternate vice-chairman of the third congressional district.
Though much of his experience has been fairly focused within his party, Shull plans to run a nonpartisan campaign "focused on the people" and "not throwing rocks" at other candidates.
"I feel a responsibility for the people out here," Shull said. He added that multiple people from his area in Sandy have come to him with concerns over the years and recently when the person he thought was going to file for the commission pulled back, "I decided it was time for me to step up, take action and get involved."
"The county is in need of new leadership and that's what the people are asking for," Shull said.
Shull claims current and past leadership have led the state to becoming "one of the top six states in the union on high taxes" and hopes to target areas raising the cost of living in Clackamas County, if elected.
"People call me often with concerns about property taxes," Shull explained. "They want somebody to stick up for them and be a voice for the people."
Shull said there's a discrepancy currently between how the county budget and fees increase and the rate at which residents' income changes.
"As the budget gets bigger it demands more taxes," Shull said. "We have a lot of retired people in east county and most of them are on pretty fixed incomes. People's budgets don't go up as the county's does. It seems like every level of government is looking at every possible way to get new fees out of the people. Now there's an ever-growing chasm between government and the people."
Some of the fees Shull cited as examples include a proposed short-term rental permitting fee and one he says has been proposed to charge to permit larger public assemblies of people in the county.
"All of these fees go back to the bottom line of our people," he said. "What can we do to make government less intrusive and less expensive?"
Besides his bid to lower the cost of living in the county, Shull also proposed revisiting known transportation issues.
"We've not had a new major road in Clackamas County in 60 years," Shull said, referencing the establishment of Highway 26. "People want new roads to preclude traffic jams like on Highway 212."
He added that the county needs to move forward on the Sunrise Corridor, which "needs to bypass Sandy."
"We need to be able, as a county, to be responsible for our own highway development," Shull said.
If elected, Shull says he plans to push forward for cuts to cost of living and transportation projects, and do so with complete transparency.
"The people I talk to feel like they're not being heard," he explained. "What I see is a need for the Clackamas County Commission to get out and meet with concerned citizens about their issues and share the strategic plan of the county. If the people of the county are actively engaged, we'll have a better county."
Shull calls for the commission to act nonpartisan as he plans to run his campaign, saying "I am going to be all over the county meeting with people of all walks of life, regardless of their politics."
"The only thing that should pressure the commission is the will of the people," he added. "Taxes affect us all the same; transportation affects us all the same, regardless of political affiliation. There's more about us that's common and we're much more alike than we're different. We need someone on the Clackamas County Commission to be an advocate for the people. I think I could be that person."
Incumbent Commissioner Ken Humberston (D-Oregon City) and candidate Breeauna Sagdal (NP-Molalla) both filed for Position 4 in September 2019.
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