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County voters begin march to mailbox

MHCC bond, Clackamas races highlight primary ballots


There may be a Donald on your ballot. Or a Hillary. Or a Kate or an Allen.

But there’s also a Steve and a Martha, a Tootie and a Bill. Oh, and three local governments asking you to pay more taxes.

There are 242,620 registered voters in Clackamas County. When the last ballots are finally counted next week — a day or two after Tuesday’s 8 p.m. deadline — some 60 percent of them are expected to have actually voted. That’s more than any presidential primary since 2008 — the last time there was a contested presidential primary in Oregon.

As of Monday, the countywide turnout was 19 percent.

And that’s even after a Ted and a John stopped campaigning under the onslaught of a Donald.

There are a lot of uncontested primary races on your ballot. Those folks will be back in November for the general election. Here’s a quick roundup of locally contested races on your ballot, where you have a choice between a John, a Jim, a Paul or a Dan.

CLACKAMAS COUNTY

Board chairman

Incumbent John Ludlow of Wilsonville faces commissioners Jim Bernard of Canby and Paul Savas of Oak Grove and Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay.

Bernard and Savas are in mid-term. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two finishers would advance to the general election Nov. 8.

If either Bernard or Savas were elected chairman, the four members would have to appoint someone to complete the two years remaining in the term.

Position 3

Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader of Canby faces a second-time candidate and a political newcomer in the contest for Position 3.

Steve Bates of Boring lost narrowly to Commissioner Jim Bernard for Position 5 in the primary two years ago. Bates is a former chairman of the Boring Community Planning Organization. Jenifer Valley of Happy Valley is making her first bid for public office.

If none of the three candidates wins a majority, the top two finishers move on to the Nov. 8 general election.

Position 4

Tootie Smith is seeking re-election to Position 4 and keeping her platform of supporting expansion of Portland’s urban growth boundary to promote business and population growth in Clackamas County. She is opposed by Sandy Mayor Bill King, and Ken Humberston of Beavercreek, who is on the Clackamas River Water Board.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the primary, the top two finishers face off on Nov. 8.

Only your opinion

Measure 3-478 on the May 17 ballot is an advisory vote on whether Clackamas County should pursue a voter-approved funding source — the source is not specified — to help pay for road work.

Board chairman John Ludlow says if voters approve the idea Tuesday, commissioners are likely to pursue a car registration fee that is limited to seven years and directed toward completion of 47 specified projects in seven clusters.

Emergency communications

The county is seeking approval of a $58.7 million bond to pay for upgrading its emergency communications system. The cost to the owner of an average house is estimated at $25 annually, at a rate of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

It would help pay for new digital radios for 20 police, fire and other emergency agencies that now rely on antiquated analog technology plus equipment and towers that extend communications coverage around Mount Hood and the southern Clackamas River.

Sandy fuel tax

Sandy voters will decide whether to increase its city fuel tax by 3 cents per gallon. The current tax is 2 cents; it would increase to 5 cents July 1 if voters approve.

Money from the increase would primarily be used to pay for the capital construction of key roads in the transportation system plan.

The City Council wants the town to capture proceeds from the thousands of tourists who travel through on their way to or from Mount Hood.

Oregon Legislature

There is just one contested legislative primary election race in the area.

Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River, is the unopposed incumbent in House District 52, which stretches from east Gresham to Hood River and includes Sandy and Estacada. Two Democrats — Mark Reynolds, a retired teacher from Hood River, and Walt Trandum, a caregiver from Sandy — are competing in the Democratic primary to challenge Johnson in the fall.

Mt. Hood Community College

Sandy-area voters are joining with their counterparts in East Multnomah County to decide on Mt. Hood Community College’s request for a $125 million bond, said to be the largest community college bond request in Oregon history.

The Gresham-based college wants to build a workforce technology center, replace its aging Parkrose area building, and make safety, technology and infrastructure improvements.

A campaign group, Friends of MHCC, has done extensive fundraising and campaigning for the bond. Through May 4 it had received $126,485 in donations and spent $139,385 for campaign coordination, phone canvassing, mailers and advertising.

The tax rate is estimated at 31 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $62 a year for property assessed at $200,000.