A fire truck near Roy from the former Washington County Fire District #2, which was annexed into TVF&R in 2017. Photo: Chas Hundley
ROY – Two Washington County candidates for Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Board (TVF&R) of Directors positions bowed out of the May 21 race, although their names still appear on the ballot.
Kevin Van Dyke, member of the Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District board, and Jason Hitzert, a Beaverton resident and chief of staff for state Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), both appear on the ballot respectively as candidates for Position 5 for the TVF&R Board.
Van Dyke says he’s giving his support to 21-year incumbent board member Brian Clopton, who wants to continue his fiscally-minded approach and help the TVF&R Board, which covers almost 400 square miles of territory, solve issues related to PERS and trimming costs.
Hitzert, however, said he originally threw his hat in the race “after doing a quick search on the internet and found that the incumbent, Brian Clopton, had $93,000 in delinquent taxes in 2013.”
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Hitzert provided the Banks Post via email the address 11277 SW Clay. St. OregonLive.com publishes a public record of current delinquent property taxes in the Portland area. Two businesses listed at the Clay Street address carry Clopton’s name — Wilsonville-based Brian Clopton Excavating, and Clopton Leasing LLC — and each owe back property taxes totaling $80,563 and $13,988, respectively.
Clopton could not be reached for comment.
The Oregon Secretary of State’s website shows Clopton Leasing LLC was owned by Brian Clopton from its founding in December 2001 to its dissolution in February 2011. The website also shows Brian Clopton Excavating has filed an annual report with the secretary of state’s office each year since the company was founded in 2001.
Hitzert said he’s exiting the race and putting his support behind Justin Dillingham, a political newcomer whose election records say he is employed as a “business owner and EMS consultant,” and has 20 years of EMS experience.
“I decided not to pursue the position because Justin Dillingham filed and he had solid experience with emergency services and I decided I wanted to support his candidacy,” Hitzert told the Banks Post.
As for the remaining candidates, Van Dyke, the incumbent running for Position 2 with the Forest Grove Fire District who has served on the board for more than 40 years, says he tells everyone he talks to, vote for Clopton.
“The main reason I want to run is because I know the system,” Van Dyke said. “We’re talking about going through a merger with several other fire districts, and I think it’s important that the rural voters we represent can keep their voice in the process rather than lose it. We don’t want our concerns heard after (those of) a city or a larger district.”
The race for TVF&R Position 4 is between current board member Randy Lauer, regional director for ambulance services company American Medical Response, and Robert Satterwhite, a 37-year veteran of TVF&R as a firefighter who retired four years ago.
Satterwhite says if elected he would bring first-hand knowledge of what firefighters experience on the ground to the board.
“Having worked a lengthy amount of time in public safety gives me a boots-on-the-street perspective on how a fire district operates,” he said. “I’d like to give that perspective to the board. I also want to keep giving back to the community.”
Lauer said he has a background in emergency medical services and in search and rescue, and disaster response.
“I want to find ways for the public sector and the private sector to use resources together to better serve our citizens,” Lauer said. “That would be my policy statement. District expenses also are going to grow, and I’d like to look at ways to reconfigure expenses so cost increases don’t go up behind inflation every year.”
As for the May 21 election, Mickie Kawai, elections manager of Washington County, said Van Dyke and Hitzberg appear on Washington County ballots simply because the candidates changed their minds after the county already finalized the ballots.
“Sixty-one days (from election day) is the filing deadline,” Kawai said. “We have over 300 combinations of ballots we have to put together.”