Woodburn voters will have choices
Woodburn voters will have some choices this fall when it comes time to cast ballots for city offices.
The deadline to file for city offices was at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, and by that time a full slate of candidates had filed to vie for mayor and city council positions. Current Mayor Eric Swenson is the only incumbent who did not file to seek another term.
Shortly after returning from what he described as a reflective vacation in Mexico earlier this month, Swenson said he was not likely to seek another term as mayor, as he plans to spend more time with his downtown businesses and family. He has served since 2018.
"Learning there were a number of good candidates willing to run for mayor, I felt good about the city's future," Swenson said. "That made it easier for me to now focus on my business and my family."
He also resigned from the Woodburn School District Board earlier this month, but he said he is mulling other civic-service options in the future.
School district sources noted that Swenson served on Board Position 4 since July of 2019, but his district work goes back much further.
"Eric came to the school district in 2004 as an assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary. In 2005 he was selected to be the principal at French Prairie Middle School where he served for 5 years," WSD spokeswoman Rachel Danskey noted. "After spending 4 years as assistant superintendent in the Silver Falls School District he returned to serve as one of four small-school principals at Woodburn High. He spent his last year in the district as the After School Programs coordinator and interim principal at Valor Middle School."
Several community members have thrown their names into the mayoral hat: Frank Lonergan, Dalia Lopez and Ricardo Puente.
Lonergan has lived in Woodburn for more than six decades, and he was a city councilor for 12 years prior to running for mayor in 2018. He worked for several decades as a manager at Republic Services in Wilsonville before retiring a few years ago.
Puente is a law-enforcement veteran and currently the director of public safety with the Beaverton School District. He was a longtime school resource officer with the Woodburn Police Department, a Woodburn Proud member and a past president of the Oregon Peace Officers Association.
Lopez is a newcomer to the local political scene. She is retired and has a work history in education, social services and community outreach.
Meanwhile, all incumbent councilors whose positions are up this year have filed to run: Ward III Councilor Robert Carney; Ward IV Councilor Sharon Schaub; Ward V Councilor Mary Beth Cornwell.
Local immigration attorney Azanet Hayden filed to run against Carney in Ward III. Woodburn School District Board member Noemi Legaspi will challenge Schaub in Ward IV. Local insurance broker Juan Bravo will run against Cornwell to vie for Ward V representation.
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