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Heimuller draws challenge in county commissioner race

Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller will not run uncontested in this year’s election to the Board of County Commissioners.

Bill Allen of St. Helens, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard, filed to run for Position 2 on the Board of County Commissioners last week.

“I was watching the filings, and I knew that the deadline was coming up,” Allen said Monday, Feb. 24. He said he decided to run to give voters “an option” in the race, although he admitted he has no “grand plan” as to what his platform for the election will be. He described himself as a “babe in the woods, but a really socially conscious ... babe in the woods.”

But Allen said he believes there is discontent in Columbia County with the county’s elected officials.

“I’ve seen a lot of public dissatisfaction,” said Allen, adding, “I consider myself very honest. I consider myself very high-integrity. I believe I would ... do my very, very best to represent all of Columbia County.”

Columbia County’s traditional north-south divide frustrates Allen, he indicated.

“This concept of south county and north county, I don’t like this,” Allen said. “The single biggest point is that we should be looking out for each other and the county.”

Heimuller, who also lives in St. Helens, did not respond to request for comment before press time.

Heimuller is in his first term on the Board of County Commissioners. He defeated Republican Terry Luttrell, who sits on the Port of St. Helens’ Port Commission, and independent Wayne Mayo in a three-way race in 2010, after narrowly beating out Shawna Sykes for the Democratic Party nomination.

Heimuller’s father, Democrat Dale Heimuller, served one term as a county commissioner, from 1991 to 1995. He was defeated in his bid for reelection.

County commissioner elections in Columbia County are now officially defined as nonpartisan races. That means Allen and Heimuller will both appear on the May 20 primary ballot.

If a candidate receives a majority of the vote in the primary, he will be declared elected and no election will be held for the position in November. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.

The deadline for candidates to file for the race is Tuesday, March 11.