Hamm files for commission position
- Holly M. Gill
- Madras Pioneer - Sports
The third Republican candidate to file for a position on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, Jim Hamm, wants to make the commission more accessible to county residents.
"I think, personally, that the commission should be more open to the people of the county," said Hamm, 59, who moved to Madras in 2001, and is semi-retired.
Hamm questioned why the commission meets at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays, "instead of when people can actually attend."
He recalled an off-hand comment by a commissioner that "if we had them when people can attend, we'd have too many people and we'd never get anything done."
Although Hamm said he can sympathize with that attitude, "it doesn't do the people any good."
Rather than just complain, Hamm decided to volunteer his services.
"Jefferson County is growing like crazy lately, like everybody else in Central Oregon," he said. "You can complain all you want, but if you're not willing to put the time in to see the changes, then why complain?"
Hamm worked as a concrete paving consultant on airports, highways and dams in the Persian Gulf, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Europe and across North America.
"It was definitely an education," he said, noting that he eventually got tired of the hassles involved with finding caretakers for his home and animals when he had to pick up and move to a foreign country for six months.
After retiring from consulting work in 1994, he decided to work in another field -- as foreman for public works for the city of Creswell from 1995 to 2001.
Hamm holds licenses in water treatment, water distribution, wastewater treatment and wastewater collection, which he keeps up to date.
Born and raised in Bend, he graduated from Bend Senior High School, and studied electronics for two years at Lane Community College in Eugene.
"Machines for concrete paving are all run by electronics and that was what I wanted the knowledge for," he explained.
Hamm owns a 54-acre farm and ranch west of Madras, off Bear Drive, where he grows orchard grass and runs horses. In his spare time, he drives a school bus, works once a week at Sportsman's Warehouse in Bend, and had a barbecue catering business.
A lifetime member of the Oregon Hunters' Association, Hamm has been involved in outdoor sporting groups for many years, "so I'm no stranger to government activity," he said, noting that he has testified at the state Legislature on various issues.
As a commissioner, Hamm said he would take the time to research issues, "instead of taking someone's word for it."
"You can rubberstamp everything, but that doesn't make it right," he said.
Hamm joins four other Republicans and one Democrat seeking the post currently held by Republican Bill Bellamy. In addition to Bellamy, Bill Atherton, Wayne Fording, and Mike Goss have filed as Republicans, and former commissioner Walt Ponsford has filed as a Democrat. (The Pioneer will profile Fording, Goss and Ponsford next week. A profile of Bellamy appeared in The Pioneer Jan. 23, and Atherton's profile on Jan. 30.)