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No candidate filings yet for mayor and two council seats, which open next year

PMG FILE PHOTO - Three seats on the West Linn City Council are open in this November's election. The first half of 2020 was a tough ride for the West Linn City Council — so much so that it might be keeping interested candidates from running for the three open positions this November. Filing for the council positions opened last month and closes Aug. 25, but as of July 16, no one has filed.

The terms of Mayor Russ Axelrod, Council President Rich Sakelik and Councilor Teri Cummings each expire at the end of 2020, but none have said definitively whether or not they will seek reelection.

Axelrod, who joined the council in 2015 and was appointed mayor five months into his term following the resignation of then-Mayor John Kovash, was elected to a full term in 2016, but recently said via email he hasn't yet decided whether to seek a third term.

Cummings and Sakelik did not respond to requests for comment on their decisions.

Cummings was elected to her third term as councilor in 2016, after serving from 2004-06 and again from 2009-12.

Sakelik also was elected to his seat in the 2016 election, though his term was interrupted late last year by a battle with cancer. Though he wasn't able to attend meetings in person beginning late last year and continuing through early March, he stayed active with the council by participating virtually.

While no one has put their name in the hat yet, some citizens have heard rumors of possibly interested candidates.

West Linn woman Peggy Kirkendall last month posted to the West Linn Community Page on Facebook that her political action committee was "eager to support good candidates."

Kirkendall said she's heard from three people interested in running. Though she didn't give their names, she said she was confident they would make good candidates.

The PAC, West Linn Citizens, wants to see candidates with leadership qualities, according to Kirkendall.

She said she also is looking for people who are "ethical and fair and understand the necessity to not have favorite groups within West Linn."

Kirkendall also mentioned she'd like candidates to be familiar with the city's neighborhood associations and how they operate.

According to Kirkendall, the West Linn Citizens PAC formed several years ago out of concern over certain ballot measures. Kirkendall said she hasn't yet reached out to any of the other PAC members about the council elections.

Kirkendall said there are a lot of people in West Linn with the knowledge and love of the community to make positive contributions, but they don't speak up.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Kirkendall said she expects it to be difficult for candidates to raise money and meet voters.

These challenges are the main reason why Kirkendall wanted to offer support to candidates she believed in, though she said right now she's still thinking about how best to do that.

For information on how to file as a candidate, visit the city's election webpage.

In West Linn, city councilors serve a four-year term and as a whole, the body is responsible for the city's legislative actions, as well as overseeing the city manager and city attorney.


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