Banks, Banks Fire District, Elections, News

Voters recall Banks Fire District Chair Mark Schmidlin

With the final votes certified Wednesday afternoon, Banks Fire District 13 Board Chair Mark Schmidlin has lost his elected position by 35 votes.

The Washington County Elections Division certified the results of the April 12 recall election against Banks Fire Board members Mark Schmidlin and Ed Ewing Wednesday afternoon, ending one aspect of the contentious election that saw accusations—denied by both targets of the recall—surrounding their handling of investigations into Banks Fire Chief Rodney Linz, among other grievances.

In the end, a slim majority of voters chose to remove Schmidlin from his seat, while Ewing will keep his by a more comfortable margin. 

According to the final results, 811 voters cast a ballot to remove Schmidlin, while 776 voted against the recall. 

For Ewing, voters were more supportive of his tenure, and he will keep his seat after receiving 713 votes to remove him and 785 votes to keep him in the seat. 

“Mark would like to thank the communities for many years of support during his time on the Banks Fire District Board,” a social media post from the Friends of Banks Fire, a political action committee formed to fight the recall, read. 

“Ed would like to thank his supporters as he continues to serve the communities of Banks, Manning, Buxton and Timber on the Banks Fire District Board,” the statement continued. 

With Schmidlin’s departure, the remaining board members will be tasked with selecting a new appointee to the board. If the board cannot come to an agreement, the decision will fall instead to a county judge in Washington County. 

The process will be a familiar one for the board; current board member and Vice-Chair Rae Weaver was appointed to her seat in June 2020 to replace Matt Vandehey, who resigned from his seat after moving out of the district shortly after being elected to the position, interestingly, the second time Vandehey had sought public office, won, and then resigned in a matter of months after taking office. Previously, Vandehey had been elected to the Forest Grove City Council, but resigned his seat the same year he took office in 2017 to move to Banks.

Weaver, as vice-chair, will be tasked with covering the duties of chair, according to board policy documents obtained by the Banks Post in a public records request. 

The board meets next for a regular board meeting Wednesday, May 11 at the district offices in Banks beginning at 6 p.m.

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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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