Banks, Elections, News

Voters have their say

Voters had their say in Tuesday night’s primary, selecting candidates for their party’s nomination to statewide, congressional and statewide offices, while also making decisions on local ballot measures and county races.

The county elections office reported a turnout as of midnight of 25.89%. The county received 101,192 ballots, some of which had not yet been counted by midnight out of 390,894 registered voters.

Some ballots will continue to trickle in via mail, up to seven days after the election, but the vast majority of ballots have already been received.

View all of the current results for the election online at results.oregonvotes.gov.


Banks School District Bond

In Banks, the hottest topic of the night was the future of the Banks High School and other district buildings serving students who live in the city of Banks and in the greater Banks communities of Buxton, Timber, Manning, Roy, and Hayward.

Measure 34-336, a bond to replace much of the Banks High School, among other projects, is on track to win approval from voters. The first batch of voting results showing 999 voters approving the measure to 666 against, or 60% in favor to 40% opposed.

Subsequent vote tallies showed the yes votes continuing to rise at 10 p.m. Tuesday night and again at midnight. As of press time Wednesday, 60.23% of voters had voted yes to the 39.77% of Banks-area voters voting no.

“We appreciate the support of our community and look forward to making sure that every member of the Banks School District Community is Happy and Proud of their experience with us,” said Banks School District Superintendent Brian Sica in a late-night email to the Banks Post less than two hours after the polls closed.

Wednesday morning, the district released a statement on their Facebook page.

“Thank you to the Banks community for your support of our bond!,” the district said. “With more than 2000 (Over 40% participation!) ballots counted, it appears our bond is headed for voter approval. Your support helps us improve safety, health, and security for all of our students.”

A Political Action Committee formed to support the measure praised the passage of the measure.

“We are just overwhelmingly grateful for the support of the community,” said Yes For Banks Schools PAC Director Kristen Accardi in an email to the Banks Post. “It has been so gratifying to see how deeply the people in the district value our schools. We are so excited and look forward to the next step in creating the facilities our children deserve.”

While not a full replacement of the Banks High School, new construction would replace “most of the high school,” the language submitted to the Washington County Election Division reads. It’s just one of several projects the district will be able to tackle with the passage of the measure.

Find out more information at www.banks.k12.or.us/2024bond. In an FAQ, the district also listed nine pages of questions and answers about the measure, the projects they hope to tackle, and more.


Banks Fire District levy renewal

Voters also resoundingly approved Measure 34-335, a five year renewal of the levy that funds more than one-third of the operations of the Banks Fire District.

The latest results showed 77.89% of voters approving the measure to 22.11% of voters saying no.

“We at Banks Fire would like to thank you for the overwhelming support shown in yesterday’s election,” Banks Fire District spokesperson Scott Adams said in a social media post Wednesday morning. “Your passing of our operating levy by one of the highest margins of any levy in the state shows your trust in us. We honor that trust and will continue be wise stewards of your money as we provide exemplary emergency services to you and your guests,” he added.

In the same post, Adams stepped past the election results and got right back to the business of the district, urging district residents to prepare for and be aware of the challenges that face the Banks region every summer, and noting that information would be forthcoming regarding defensible space, a wildfire prevention measure.


Washington County Sheriff

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has been led by Caprice Massey since December 1, 2023 after the resignation of former Sheriff Pat Garrett, who resigned last year, citing a desire to retire and spend more time with his family.

Massey was appointed to the post to replace Garrett by the Washington County Board of Commissioners, and she filed to run for the office, which is one of several county-level elected in Washington County.

Tuesday night, with no opposition, Massey cinched the election, bringing in 98.23% of the vote as of Wednesday morning. Some additional ballots remain to be counted, but the vast majority of ballots have been received by the county elections office.

1,102 people opted to write in a different name on their ballot.

Massey’s election marks the first time Washington County voters have chosen a woman to lead the county’s law enforcement agency.

“Thank you to Washington County voters for electing me to serve as your next Sheriff,” Massey said in a press release. “Serving as your appointed Sheriff for the last six months has been an honor; it has been a privilege to serve our community and lead the exceptional professional staff in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Now, to have the will of the voters behind me as we move forward together to keep Washington County safe feels incredible,” Massey said.

While many cities throughout Washington County maintain their own police force separate from the county structure, the sheriff maintains the county jail and provides law enforcement to the unincorporated areas in the county, both urban—Aloha, Bethany, Cedar Mill and other regions—and rural, with areas like Gales Creek, Buxton, and Timber served by Massey’s office.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office also serves as the law enforcement agency for several smaller cities in the county on a contract basis, including the city of Banks, North Plains, and Cornelius.

The law enforcement agency also conducts search and rescue operations in and near the Tillamook State Forest.

“You have my steadfast commitment to serve our community with integrity and transparency. My goal is for Washington County to be a place where everyone – regardless of their background – feels safe and welcome, and that is the work I will dedicate myself to everyday as your Sheriff,” Massey said.

She also thanked family, friends, colleagues, and the Washington County Board of Commissioner.


House District 31

The Republican primary race for House District 31, which represents much of the northwest corner of Oregon, including Banks, Gales Creek, and Vernonia drew two challengers—both realtors—for the open seat, Darcey Edwards and Aaron Hall.

Edwards immediately had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead over Hall at 8 p.m., and subsequent results only cemented her lead, with the Banks-area Edwards now sitting at 81.26% of the vote to North Plains resident Hall’s 17.84%.

“I am deeply honored by the trust and support shown by our community in this primary election,” Darcey said in an email to the Banks Post. “This is a testament to the collective desire for common sense, pragmatic leadership in Salem. As we look ahead to November, I remain committed to working tirelessly for a future where every voice is heard, every individual has the opportunity to thrive, and all our communities in House District 31 are represented.”

The primary for the Democrat side of the race drew just one candidate, tax consultant Jordan Gutierrez, who will win the seat and face off against Darcey in November.

The Banks Post will have more from both candidates closer to the November election.

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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