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The campaign around last Tuesday's election had a razor-sharp focus on education, but while races for the Forest Grove School District caught voters' attention, and an effort by Banks School District to raise money for classrooms caught voters

Palm handily defeats Riley in community college board race

Portland Community College Board member Deanna Palm easily retained her seat Tuesday night in a three-way race that included a well-known challenger.

Unofficial returns in the District 7 race showed Palm, the president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, with 54 percent of the vote. Former state Rep. Chuck Riley had 40 percent of the vote, while PCC math instructor Jerry Tobin had nearly 6 percent of the vote.

Palm was appointed to the board in 2009 to fill a vacancy. The District covers most of western Washington County, stretching from the edge of Beaverton to Vernonia.

Palm, a PCC graduate, campaigned on her personal commitment to the community college and her strong ties to the Washington County business community. Riley, who had the endorsement of PCC labor unions, said his knowledge of the state budget process would be an asset to the seven-member volunteer board.

Incumbent school board members elected

Christine Riley, Clinton Nelson and Mike Morey won their bids for seats on the Gaston school board in last Tuesday's election. None faced challengers on the ballot, nor serious write-in opposition

In Banks, Laurie Schlegel was returned to the board by voters, earning 1,131 votes to her challenger, Steven Greagor's 370 votes. Kathleen Edison also won reelection to the board. She drew no opposition.

Rural fire district seats decided

In Washington County Fire District 2, a tight race formed between prominent Republican venue owner Bob Horning and Peggy Halley, a Lake Oswego battalion chief. Halley took the seat with 1,093 votes to Horning's 1,035. The 51-to-48 percent verdict was decided with a narrow spread of 58 votes.

Butch Kindel, Marty Oppenlander and Bill Coussens won easily in unopposed races for the board, which manages fire response in North Plains and parts of Hillsboro.

Mitch Vandehey won the seat for Banks Fire District Director Position 2 against Craig Stewart, earning 812 votes to Stewart's 404.

Mark Schmidlin and Mike Durham, who drew no challengers, also won seats on the board.

In Cornelius, Dan Eischen, Wesley VanDyke and Annette Evans drew no challengers and each earned nearly all votes cast.

The same was true in Forest Grove and Gaston, where unopposed candidates for fire district won easily. Kevin Van Dyke, Byron Schmidlkofer and Timothy Dierickx, all won election to the Forest Grove rural fire district. In Gaston, Steve Hedin, Donald Allen and Philip Anderson won their elections.