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Bernard, Humberston lead in Clackamas board contests

Challengers Jim Bernard and Ken Humberston took early leads against incumbents on the Clackamas County board Tuesday.

Bernard, an incumbent commissioner, was ahead of incumbent John Ludlow for chairman of the five-member board.

By 9 p.m. Bernard held 53 percent of the vote to Ludlow's 45 percent. With 115,900 votes counted, Bernard has collected 62,563 votes, well over Ludlow's 52,559 votes.

Humberston, who allied himself with Bernard, was leading incumbent Tootie Smith by a smaller margin for Position 4.

More than 100,000 votes were counted in the initial tally.

Incumbent Ludlow sought a second term against the backdrop of his long-standing opposition to the Metro regional agency and what he says is its stances against highways and for more compact growth.

Ludlow, 68, is a real estate broker who owns his own firm and a former Wilsonville city councilor and mayor.

Four years ago he unseated Charlotte Lehan, also a former Wilsonville mayor and current city councilor, with strong financial support from the Oregon Transformation Project — a political action committee that also backed Tootie Smith.

But Ludlow and Bernard have differed sharply over whether urban growth should extend south of the Willamette River — and Wilsonville, which adamantly opposes such a move.

Bernard says the future of the region’s urban growth boundary will remain unresolved until the county drops any consideration of extending south of the river.

Bernard, 62, is the owner of Bernard’s Garage — which has been in business in Milwaukie since 1925 — and was mayor of Milwaukie from 2001 until he was elected to the county board in 2008. He now lives outside Canby.

In the May 17 primary, Bernard led Ludlow, 36 percent to 29 percent; the other votes were split between Commissioner Paul Savas and Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay. Savas has remained neutral; Holladay has endorsed Bernard.

A victory by Bernard for chairman would leave a vacancy on the board, because Bernard’s term has two more years to go.

Bernard has cross-endorsed Humberston against Smith, who is seeking re-election to the Position 4 seat.

Smith, 59, is a fourth-generation farmer near Molalla, where she raises hazelnuts. She was a Republican state representative from 2001 until a losing bid for the county board in 2004. She won an open seat in 2012.

While Smith shares Ludlow’s sentiments critical of Metro, she also has emphasized her work on the Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon City, a joint project with Metro, Oregon City and the state.

Humberston, 70, is a retired probation officer from Beavercreek who has worked in a variety of jobs and served in a range of government positions, including a stint at mayor of Dunsmuir, Calif. He is currently on the Clackamas River Water District board.

Humberston also called for a less confrontational and more cooperative approach between the county, its cities and Metro.

In the primary, Smith led Humberston, 47 percent to 28 percent; Sandy Mayor Bill King finished third.

For comprehensive coverage, go to PoliticalOregon.com