County commissioner race getting crowded
More candidates jump into race for position 5 before Tuesday's
Several new candidates have either filed for one of four open seats on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners or officially announced their campaign, intensifying an already busy political year that includes a presidential race and several ballot initiatives.
Ballot measure 3-272, which passed with 62 percent of the vote during last November's election, expands the Board of Commissioners from three members to five. It also makes the positions nonpartisan.
With two new seats and the announcement that Commissioner Bill Kennemer is departing to run for House District 39, there will be at least three new board members as the body expands.
The runoff-style primary race for the new positions will be in May.
Two more candidates announced their intent to run for Seat 5, which will start as a two-year term before becoming a four-year seat, in order to stagger the elections. That brought the total number of candidates in the race to six - all of whom are from the North Clackamas area - making it by far the most competitive race.
Milwaukie Mayor Jim Bernard announced his intention to run on Monday, despite initial claims that he wasn't interested in the seat. Bernard enjoys strong name recognition. In addition to serving as Milwaukie's mayor since November 2002, he also ran a county-wide campaign in 2004. He was unsuccessful in his campaign to unseat Kennemer, but did collect 45 percent of the vote.
Bernard is owner of Bernard's Garage in downtown Milwaukie, a business founded by his grandfather. Bernard also helped to create Milwaukie's Sunday farmers market, and has served on a number of area boards and commissions, including time as treasurer, vice president, and two terms as president of the Automotive Service Association of Portland, and president of the Milwaukie Downtown Development Association.
Happy Valley City Council President Lori DeRemer is also running for the two-year seat on the board.
DeRemer has served on the Happy Valley City Council since 2004 and as council president since 2007. She is secretary and treasurer for Anesthesia Associates Northwest, a Milwaukie-based company she started with her husband, Shaun. DeRemer graduated from Hanford High School and California State-Fullerton, where she earned a degree in business administration, before settling in Happy Valley.
DeRemer said priorities include creating partnerships between the county's communities, ensuring roads meet residential and economic needs, and delivering county services at a fair price.
West Linn's Ron Adams, a former state representative in the 27th House District, filed for Position 5 last week.
Adams, a past director of the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, said primary concerns include the environment, education, economic development, veterans and his concern for senior citizen services. He believes his experience working with the Oregon Legislature and the Oregon congressional delegation on conservation corps, Secure Rural Schools and community college issues will help him on the board.
Adams's background also includes two elected terms on the Clackamas Community College Board, 11 years as chair of the Undergraduate Business and Management degree at Marylhurst University and numerous management positions with Pacific Northwest Bell and AT and T.
Emil Hnidey also recently filed for the seat. The Estacada resident is a customer service representative with Bank of the West. Hnidey sits on Estacada's planning commission and budget committee, and he served on the city's infrastructure committee from 2005 to 2007.
He attended high school in Estacada and attended Clackamas Community College for two years before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Portland State University.
Katherine Kehoe is an Oregon City resident who recently became heavily active in local politics with leadership positions with a number of groups. Beginning in 2007, she took over as chairwoman of the Holcomb-Outlook Community Planning Organization (CPO), chairwoman of the Oregon City Area Sustainability Political Action Committee (ORCAS PAC), co-leader of the Stand for Children Oregon City chapter and vice president of the Redland Community preschool.
Kehoe went to high school in Grand Rapids, Mich., and attended the University of Michigan. She counts natural resource protection, education and transportation among the issues she wants to address if elected.
Trent Tidwell is an Oregon City commissioner and a lifelong resident of that community. He works as a property development supervisor for Canby Investments LLC. He also has been a campaign consultant and an activist.
Tidwell said one the biggest issues surrounding the County Commission is citizen involvement. If elected, he says he would take 'conversations with a commissioner' to various locales throughout the county each month to promote dialogue and to begin to address needs.
Wilsonville resident Raymond D. Nelson has filed to run for Position 3 against incumbent Martha Schrader. Nelson is retired and serves as chairman of the French Prairie Homeowners Association. He has also served as a school board director in the Reedville School District in Washington County.
Nelson graduated from Canby Union High School and earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology from Portland State University. He also spent 20 years in transportation management with Clackamas-based USF Reddaway Truck Line and several other transportation companies. Nelson was also a scout executive with the Boy Scouts of America.
Schrader, a fixture in Clackamas civics and politics for years, is finishing her first term as a commissioner. Schrader's professional background includes time as a strawberry farmer - she manages Three Rivers Farm - a librarian and a legislative aide to her husband, Kurt, a state senator based in Canby.
Schrader holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell and master's degrees from the University of Illinois and Portland State University. She is now in the public administration and policy Ph.D. program at Portland State.
Gladstone's Matthew L. Green-Hite joined the race for Position 4 last week. Wilsonville Mayor Charlotte Lehan and Clackamas businessman Dave Mowry are also vying for the seat.
Green-Hite, a certified public accountant with an MBA in finance, is chairman of the Gladstone Planning Commission and has served on committees that worked on more than 20 annual budgets for government agencies and school districts. He's also served on the Tri-City Sewer District Master Planning Committee and the North Clackamas Water Commission Budget Committee.
Green-Hite counts sewer and water infrastructure and fair representation for rural areas as two of his key issues.
Lehan has been a Wilsonville resident for much of her life. She was appointed to fill a vacant City Council position in April 1991, elected to a full Wilsonville City Council term in 1992, elected mayor in November 1996, and re-elected in 2000 and 2004. She has served as the Clackamas County small cities representative to the Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) since 2004, and served on the Regional Water Consortium Board since its inception in 1997.
Mowry's varied experience includes service as an aide to State Rep. Linda Flores, R-Clackamas, as well as serving on the county Mental Health Council and the Clackamas Annexation Study Group. He said that when he worked with legislation, though, he looked at it from a small-business perspective. He also said he would consider not just what the county needs, but which sector is best to provide such needs.
Clackamas County Commissioner Lynn Peterson is thus far the only candidate for the newly created position of Clackamas County Commission chairperson. Peterson has seen many of her campaign promises - such as expanding the board and creating rural reserves - come to fruition in her year-plus on the commission. She is a former Lake Oswego City Councilor who has represented the cities of Clackamas County on the regional transportation decision-making body, JPACT. She has career experience in transportation, specifically highway design and construction and transportation planning.
Clackamas County Sheriff
Milwaukie resident Rick LaManna recently filed to join the race for Clackamas County Sheriff. He will run against Sheriff Craig Roberts.
Matthew Graham contributed to this report.