Former Warrenton Mayor Mark Kujala and Commissioner Lianne Thompson overwhelmingly seized victories Tuesday in their races for the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, while Pamela Wev and Peter Roscoe are set for a November runoff.
Wev — a land use consultant — and Roscoe — a former restaurateur — will compete in the first commission runoff in a decade after neither reached 50 percent of the vote in District 3. Doug Thompson — a property manager — finished third.
Wev received 43 percent of the vote to Roscoe’s 37 percent and Thompson’s 20 percent, according to unofficial results.
Commissioner Lisa Clement chose not to run for re-election in a district that covers parts of Astoria, Miles Crossing, Jeffers Garden, Lewis and Clark, Youngs River, Olney, Green Mountain and parts of Walluski.
Wev served five years in former Portland Mayor Vera Katz’s administration, while Roscoe served on the Astoria City Council.
Wev stressed advocating for fishermen and environmental preservation in her campaign, while also discussing education funding, government transparency and collaboration and investment in mental health.
“I am excited that the people of the third district responded to our campaign of new ideas, fresh energy and forward direction for Clatsop County,” Wev said in a statement. “During the runoff campaign I will continue to describe how we can have a strong and sustainable future without going backward with outdated and inadequate approaches.”
In his campaign, Roscoe proposed using natural resources to create energy and incorporating mental health services into a potential new county jail.
“It’s kind of what I expected,” Roscoe said. “It looks like it’s going to be a long summer. What can I tell ya? I think I did a lot of ground work that will help me in this next election.”
Roscoe said he will distinguish himself from Wev as a longtime county resident who is not bound by “I-5 corridor” ideals. Wev and Thompson have both been involved with Clatsop County Democrats.
“In a lot of ways there are not a lot of differences between us, but in a lot of ways there are,” he said. “I choose to look at each issue and examine them and go toward that middle.”
Environmental preservation, advocating for fishermen and emergency preparedness were Doug Thompson’s key issues.
In District 1, which covers Warrenton, Hammond and the west end of Astoria, Kujala received 67 percent to George McCartin’s 18 percent and Andy Davis’ 15 percent.
Scott Lee, who is the board’s chairman and holds the seat, announced in 2016 that he would not seek re-election.
Kujala, a former Warrenton mayor and owner of Skipanon Brand Seafood, had the most experience in local government of the candidates who wanted to replace Lee. He spent 12 years on the Warrenton City Commission and became the city’s first elected mayor in 2014. The core issues in his campaign included healthier collaboration between governments, affordable housing and opening more access to mental health treatment.
Kujala thanked voters and said he was humbled.
“I extend that appreciation to both candidates I ran against. This was a very civil and respectful race,” Kujala said. “I look forward to unifying all the residents within District 1 as their representative on the county commission next year. I also look forward to unifying the county commission to work diligently on the issues facing our region.”
Davis is a data analyst with Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc., and McCartin is a retired attorney.
Davis sits on the Astoria and county budget committees. He is a member of Indivisible North Coast Oregon, a progressive activist group. The data analyst stressed affordable housing and mental health access throughout his campaign.
He said while he has some policy concerns, Kujala’s experience could benefit the board.
“I think we were kind of hoping there would be a runoff and that we would head to the fall and have a longer conversation,” Davis said. “There is some obvious tension on the board right now. I hope that he’s able to show the board good ways to cooperate and work together.”
Issues McCartin touched on during the campaign included making the county commission work better together, creating more affordable housing, increasing access to mental health services and addressing homelessness.
“I think the voting in District 1 demonstrated there are still a lot of people who are interested in how they spend their money and where they spend it,” McCartin said. “Likewise, with regard to the jail, there’s a substantial number of people who would like to see homeless people in some other facility and not the jail.”
Commissioner Thompson won a second four-year term in District 5, which covers most of South County. She received 59 percent to Susana Gladwin’s 39 percent.
Her top priorities are housing, economic development and emergency preparedness.
“Thank you to my bosses — the voters in District 5,” Thompson said. “I’m grateful for their support and will continue to work hard to do right by them.”
Thompson has faced sharp criticism from three other commissioners and County Manager Cameron Moore over her travel expenses, behavior toward county staff and view that commissioners should have a more active role in day-to-day county operations. At one point, Lee called for her resignation.
“When I went out and said, ‘(Voters) are at the top of the organizational chart, you pay the bills, you hold staff accountable for what they paid for,’ they said, ‘Yep, that’s it,’” Thompson said. “Now we’re crystal clear on that.”
Gladwin, a Jewell farmer, challenged Thompson. The candidates served with each other for four years on the county Planning Commission. Gladwin often attends Planning Commission meetings and highlighted housing and forestry policies as two of her core issues.
Ron Brown, running unopposed for district attorney, secured a four-year term on Tuesday. The longtime prosecutor has served as District Attorney Josh Marquis’ deputy since 2004. Marquis is retiring after 25 years in office.
Circuit Court Judge Cindee Matyas, also running unopposed, won another six-year term. Matyas has been a judge since 2007.
Voter turnout in Clatsop County was 36 percent.
• Election results: View results at https://tinyurl.com/ybvujs48