Woodburn resident files to challenge City Councilor Frank Lonergan in city's third ward

Still nearly four months from the November election, and the race for the seat on the Marion County Board of Commissioners currently held by Republican Janet Carlson was shaken up this week on the news that her Democratic challenger has been forced to withdraw.

Colin R. Brown, a Woodburn resident who serves as chairman of the Woodburn Democrats and holds a number of civil and religious posts in the area, ran unopposed in the May 20 primary and collected nearly 11,000 votes.

However, according to a release from the Marion County Democratic Central Committee, Brown was forced to resign his nomination due to “employment conflicts.” Reached by phone, Brown declined to elaborate on the reasons for his withdrawal from the race.

“Officially, I can’t comment,” he said. “All I can say is that I’m not able to accept the nomination.”

A May 23 letter from Brown to County Clerk Bill Burgess indicated that he was forced to withdraw due to a conflict between a new job with the state of Oregon and an unspecified provision of federal law. Though Brown works for the state, the position is funded by federal dollars.

“I am extremely disappointed that I find myself in this position,” he said. “I am hoping the Democratic Party will be putting someone else in my place.”

His letter indicates that he would still be legally permitted to seek non-partisan roles, and he intended to do just that.

According to the release, the Marion County central committee will meet at 7 p.m. July 9 at its headquarters, 250 Liberty St. S.E. in Salem. Any registered Democrat who has lived in Marion County for at least 180 days may nominate themselves for consideration.

Questions may be directed to Rick Hartwig, chairman of the central committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.crats. org.

In other election news, two Woodburn city councilors whose terms are expiring have confirmed they will seek re-election in November: Jim Cox and Frank Lonergan. Cox publicly confirmed his intentions to seek another term during the June 9 meeting of the City Council.

During his comments, Cox indicated that he would withdraw his candidacy if someone else filed in his ward whom he thought would be a good fit for the council. As of this week, no one had filed for Ward 4; however, a candidate has thrown his hat into the ring to challenge Lonergan in Ward 5.

Woodburn resident Terry Will, who has served on the city’s budget committee and planning commission and retired from private sector work in 2007, said his desire to run was based on the termination of former Public Works Director Dan Brown last year.

In an interview with the Woodburn Independent following the termination, Brown claimed that City Administrator Scott Derickson said, “I can’t take the city in the direction I want to go with you as Public Works director.”

Will said he was bothered by this comment.

“The City Council is supposed to direct the city, not the city administrator,” Will said. “That’s why I decided to run.”

There has also been news from Mount Angel, with Andrew Otte filing to seek a second term as mayor.

The last day to file for the Nov. 4 election is Aug. 26.

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