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Fall runoff likely for county commission chair spot

Candidates include three incumbants and one mayor

Look for a runoff Nov. 8 between incumbent John Ludlow of Wilsonville and one of the three challengers for board chairman of Clackamas County.

With two of those challengers incumbent commissioners — Jim Bernard of Canby and Paul Savas of Oak Grove — and the third Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay, it is likely that no candidate will win a majority of the votes cast for the nonpartisan Position 1 in the May 17 primary.

If it’s Ludlow against Bernard, they say they are friends — even though Ludlow is a registered Republican, Bernard is a Democrat, and they disagree on how to resolve a dispute with the Metro Council over an urban reserve designation for the Stafford area.

But both Ludlow and Bernard have criticized Savas, whose main message is that the five commissioners must work better together. Ludlow and Bernard have singled out Savas as the board’s chief dissenter and say that Savas, also a registered Republican, is often hazy about his direction.

Based on fundraising this year — and the three commissioners carryover from previous campaigns — Bernard ranks first, Ludlow second, and Savas third. Holladay had reported raising and spending nothing, although he carried over about $5,000 from a previous campaign.

Among Bernard’s top contributors are Local 555 of United Food and Commercial Workers, $7,700; Robert Lanphere Jr., Beaverton auto dealer, $5,000; Automobile Dealers Association of Portland, $2,500, and Clackamas County Democratic Central Committee and Mark Hettervig, owner of Portland Mechanical Contractors, $2,000 each.

Among Ludlow’s top contributors are James Bisenius, former chief executive of the Portland-based hedge fund Common Sense Investment Management (now Fort Rock Asset Management), $4,000; Ryan Beckley, a self-employed consultant in Lake Oswego, Stephen M. Dorn Jr., president of Erectors Inc. of Milwaukie, and Freres Lumber of Lyons, $2,500 each, and Mark Hettervig, owner of Portland Mechanical Contractors, and Oregonians for Affordable Housing, $2,000 each.

Savas’ top contributors were the Automobile Dealers Association of Portland and EMS Management of Greenwood Village, Colo., $5,000 each, and Dennis Marsh of Gladstone, $2,000.