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Incumbents win in school board races

Lisa Allen will join Hillsboro panel; Cornelius voters back fire levy

It was a good night for incumbents as the results for Washington County’s May 19 special elections made clear early on.

There were three hotly contested races on the Hillsboro School Board, but when the votes were counted, incumbents Wayne Clift and Kim Strelchun cruised to relatively easy wins in their respective bids for fresh four-year terms on the seven-member board.

In Position 4, Strelchun, the board's chairwoman, maintained her position with a solid showing against her closest challenger, Christian Honl. Strelchun, who has served on the school board since 2011, was getting nearly 60 percent of the vote, while Honl had roughly 34 percent and Tim Reeves had 6 percent.

Strelchun said she was pleased to see the support from the community.

“It’s a good sign going forward,” Strelchun said. “I think the school district is headed in the right direction, and I think the voters saw that.”

Strelchun added that her margin of victory was wider than she expected.

“I am hoping voters saw my investment in education and in the community,” she said. “That resonates with voters.”

Strelchun pointed out that Honl called her after the results came in, and she thanked him for the gracious gesture.

“He called to offer his congratulations, and that was great,” she said.

In the Position 7 contest, Clift was carrying about 56 percent of the vote against his challenger, Jaime Rodriguez, who had 43 percent

For Position 5, the one school board race where there was no incumbent running, Lisa Allen, a former teacher, carried about 52 percent of the vote over two opponents — Bart Rask, who had 32.2 percent, and Christopher Barry, who had 15.5 percent.

“We worked really hard and knocked on thousands of doors,” Allen said Wednesday morning. “Honestly, I was a little surprised by the margin — pleasantly, of course.”

Allen said she appreciated it when Rask, her closest challenger in the election campaign, called to offer his congratulations.

“We had a nice conversation,” Allen said. “He congratulated me, and we thanked each other on a race well run and wished each other well.”

Allen, who will be sworn in as a new board member in July, said she was “thrilled” to take on her new role.

“I am enthusiastically grateful for all the support, and so appreciative of everyone who took time to vote in the race, whether they voted for me or not,” Allen said.

In Cornelius, there was a major ballot measure to be decided. The city’s fire officials mounted a major bid for approval of a new, five-year local option levy to pay for emergency fire services in the city, including hiring two full-time firefighter/paramedics and maintain a program to keep fire interns on duty.

To fund firefighting services, the city was seeking to impose a levy of 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Tuesday night the measure was cruising to a very strong win, with more than 70 percent voting “Yes” and a little less than 30 percent voting “No.”

Cornelius officials were ecstatic in the wake of the strong show of support.

“This is fantastic,” said Cornelius City Manager Rob Drake. “I believe voters clearly understood the need to retain our intern program and add the two paramedic positions. It means that when people are in crisis they will immediately have paramedic assistance and all that a full paramedic can do to help someone who has been severely hurt or is having cardiac health issues.”

Drake said the Cornelius Fire Department expects to hire the two paramedics before July 1.

“We want to thank Cornelius residents for voting in support,” Drake added. “It will allow us to continue to provide quality services that won’t be interrupted.”

In another contested race, for the Tualatin Valley Water District, incumbent commissioner Richard Burke won another term in office after topping his challenger, Lars Hedbor.

Deanna Palm, who also serves as president of the Hillsboro Area Chamber of Commerce, was unopposed in her bid for a new term as a director of the Portland Community College Board. Palm carried roughly 97.7 percent of the vote, with 2.3 percent voting for write-in candidates.

According to the Washington County Elections Division, as of 12:06 a.m. Wednesday, May 20, the voter turnout in the county stood at just 15.9 percent, although results are still incomplete.


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