Government, politics, Salem

State news dispatch: Who’s running for office, ODOT traffic safety, and Metro dollars for trails

The Oregon Capitol building in Salem. Photo: Chas Hundley

Election results: Metro bond passes

With no terms up for fire and school board positions, no county-wide measures or levies, and nothing on the city docket within Banks, this newspaper had no elections to cover on Tuesday, November 5. 

However, in neighboring Forest Grove, part of the Portland Metro government, voters overwhelmingly passed Measure No. 26-203, a ballot measure put forth by Metro that will authorize $475 million in general obligation bonds to continue efforts by Metro to do what they describe in their explanatory statement as “protect clean water, natural areas, access to parks and nature.”

In short, the money, while undefined in scope and exact purpose, will fund Metro’s growing network of parks and natural areas throughout Portland, and at properties firmly outside of their boundaries, such as Killin Wetlands west of Banks, a park owned and maintained by Metro.

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In a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, Nov 6, Metro councilor Juan Carlos González noted that at a debrief following the vote, the agency planned to use at least some of the funds on trail building.

 “We are going to build A LOT of trails these next few years,” he posted with a picture of a trail mix snack.

Speaking of elections: Who’s running for local office? 

Much ink has been spilled from the recent November special district elections (see above), but not at this newspaper – we didn’t have much to write about. 

That will not be the case in the 2020 primary elections. 

As of today, 151 people across the state have filed paperwork to run for a variety of offices across the state, and it’s still very early in the cycle. 

The window to file to run in the May 19 Primary Election ends on March 10, 2020.

We’re gearing up to cover a number of elected positions. According to data pulled from the Oregon Secretary of State website, we’ll be seeking information and interviews from the following candidates (so far) a little closer to the primary:

So far, the only individual to file for a local office is Brian G. Stout, Republican, running for the Oregon House of Representatives in District 31, which includes Vrnonia, portions of Buxton and Manning, and areas N of the Banks city limits. 

Various nonpartisan positions on the Washington County Circuit Court:

Beth L Roberts

Rebecca D Guptill

Andrew R Erwin

Ricardo J Menchaca

Nonpartisan positions on the statewide Court of Appeals: 

Josephine H Mooney

Kyle L Krohn

Nonpartisan positions on Oregon’s Supreme Court: 

Thomas A Balmer

Christopher L Garrett

Martha Walters

For the statewide office of Attorney General, incumbent Ellen Rosenblum, Democrat, has so far been the only candidate to fill out the requisite paperwork to run.

In another statewide office, the position of Secretary of State, three Democrats have thrown their hats in the ring so far: 

Mark D Hass

Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Jennifer A Williamson

For the position of State Treasurer, Democrat incumbent Tobias Read has filed his intention to retain his seat. 

At the congressional level, two Democrat Party candidates have filed to run so far for Suzanne Bonamici’s seat. Bonamici hasn’t filed her intention formally to run, but all indications, such as a very active campaign website, say she will. Her two challengers so far are: 

Ricky Barajas

Amanda Siebe

For Senator Jeff Merkley’s seat, one individual is seeking the Democrat Party’s nomination, and two are seeking the Republican nod. 

Though Merkley himself has yet to formally file, he will run again. His current Democrat challenger is Michael David, while Paul J Romero Jr. and Robert Schwartz are fighting for the Republican nomination. 

Oregon Rep. Carla Piluso will retire

In other Oregon political news, Rep. Carla Piluso (D-Gresham) announced on November 12 that she will not seek a fourth term to represent House District 50 in 2020.

“It’s been the greatest honor of my life to represent the people of House District 50. I’ll never stop serving this community, but after three terms, it’s time for me to let the next generation take the reins,” Rep. Piluso said in a press release. 

ODOT would like drivers to quit crashing into their staff and first responders

National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week, which is a mouthful, is November 10-16. As part of the week, ODOT said in a press release that drivers should focus on the following three key areas to keep those responding to roadside emergencies safe: 

— Slow down and move over when approaching and passing an incident scene to provide a protective buffer for you, responders and the motorists behind you. Learn more about Oregon’s Move Over Law.

— If you can steer it, clear it. Many drivers think they should not move their car if they are involved in a fender-bender or crash. Even if their vehicle is drivable and there are no injuries, they believe they should wait until the police arrive and can make an accident report before moving their cars. But this is not true and actually puts them, their vehicles and other people’s lives at risk. Check out ODOT’s PSA to learn more about Oregon’s Move It Law.

— Don’t drive ‘intexticated.’ Oregon’s Distracted Driving Law is one of the strictest in the nation, and for good reason. Every time you text and drive or engage in other risky behaviors behind the wheel, you put yourself and everyone around you in danger.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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