Political carousel starts to turn

Shakeup coming; candidates vie for House and local seats

Before the county election board could finalize the vote from the Nov. 7 election, candidates were jockeying for position in open seats throughout the region.

By Wednesday morning, politicians were already announcing their candidacies for the new positions created when voters approved ballot measure 3-272, which expanded the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners from three to five members. That, combined with an open seat on the Milwaukie City Council and an upcoming vacancy in House District 39, made for a busy week in county political circles.

County Voters overwhelmingly passed the expansion of the board on Tuesday, and by lunch on Wednesday, the first candidate announced she was seeking one of the two spots. Wilsonville Mayor Charlotte Lehan said she will run for one of the open seats. Lehan has been a Wilsonville resident for much of her life. She was appointed to fill a vacant city council position in April 1991, eventually winning a full-time seat before becoming mayor, a post which she's held since 1996.

Current vice chair Lynn Peterson will run next year for board chair, a position previously selected by fellow commissioners. Ballot Measure 3-272 allows voters to choose the president of the commission.

Commission chair Martha Schrader, whose seat expires in December 2008, said she'll also run again, but hasn't decided whether she will run for the chair position or not.

'The important message for me is that I will be back as a commissioner,' Schrader said. 'I like to take my time and be thoughtful of how I move forward.'

As of last week, no other newcomers had entered into the race. Milwaukie Mayor Jim Bernard, who ran unsuccessfully against Commissioner Bill Kennemer in 2004, said he has no plans to run again, citing goals that he's working toward in Milwaukie.