Forest Grove forums set for Washington County commissioner hopefuls
Western Washington County residents and would-be voters will have the opportunity to meet and address candidates for seats on the Washington County Board of Commissioners at a pair of upcoming forums in Forest Grove.
The forums are being put on by local Community Participation Organizations, or CPOs. Washington County has a CPO program to provide representation at the county level for communities, particularly in unincorporated areas.
On Tuesday, April 3, the two candidates for the District 4 seat on the Board of Commissioners will meet for a forum at the Old Town Church, 2224 15th Ave. in Forest Grove.
Former Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey and Hillsboro community activist and volunteer Kimberly Culbertson are vying for the seat being vacated by County Commissioner Bob Terry. Terry is running for the chairmanship of the Board of Commissioners, opening up his District 4 seat.
Terry and the other three candidates for chairman will have their own turns at the podium the following Tuesday, April 10, at the Forest Grove City Library, 2114 Pacific Ave. Also seeking the chairmanship are former Garden Home Sen. Ryan Deckert, Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington and 2016 congressional candidate Shabba Woodley.
The April 3 forum is a joint effort between CPO 10, CPO 12F, CPO 13 and CPO 15. Respectively, those groups represent: the Chehalem Mountain, Farmington, Groner, Laurel and Scholls areas; the Forest Grove area; the Gales Creek, Roy and Verboort areas; and the Blooming and Fern Hill areas.CPO 12F isn't technically one of Washington County's 12 active CPOs, said event organizer Sebastian Lawler, although it has been designated to serve the Forest Grove area. Lawler and a few others are hoping to change that, although he admitted they have not reached the critical mass needed for the county to consider them "active."
"Right now, we're recruiting people to join," said Lawler. "Every CPO needs 10 members to activate, and right now, we're at six. And we're hoping to — maybe this event would draw some attention to CPO program and potentially recruit some interested individuals into joining CPO 12F."
The format of the event will be a familiar one to anyone who has been to a local candidates' forum before. A moderator will pose several questions for both candidates to answer in the first hour of the forum, then in the second hour, submitted questions from audience members will be asked.
The April 3 forum begins at 7 p.m.
"It's just a great opportunity to come out and be an informed voter," Lawler said. "So often, it's hard to understand where people sit on issues, where people stand, who you should vote for. And this is a great opportunity in your community to come out and get an idea where the candidates stand on issues."
The April 10 forum is being put on by the Washington County Committee for Community Involvement and the CPO program. CPO 12C, which covers the Cornelius and West Dairy Creek areas, is promoting the event locally on behalf of the organizers. It will start at 6:30 p.m. and follow a similar two-hour format.
Follow-up forums featuring the same field of four candidates for county chairman will be held Thursday, April 12, at Sunset High School, 13840 N.W. Cornell Road in Cedar Mill, and Tuesday, April 17, at Tigard High School, 9000 S.W. Durham Road.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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