Port of Astoria Commissioner Bill Hunsinger has drawn a challenge in the May special district election from Scott McClaine, a former Port security guard and owner of Clatsop Coin.
Hunsinger has served on the Port Commission for the past 12 years. He has emerged as a consistent critic of Jim Knight, the Port’s executive director, and as a watchdog of the agency’s spending.
“We’ve got to dig ourselves out of a big hole, and the other commissioners don’t seem to want to look at the finances, the lawyer fees and all this other stuff,” he said. “I don’t think the Port deserves what’s been happening to it.”
McClaine, from central Washington state, spent 28 years in the Coast Guard, including tours on the cutter Resolute at Tongue Point and with Group Astoria, the precursor to Sector Columbia River. After retiring in 2005, he returned to Astoria and in 2009 started Clatsop Coin.
Nearly four years ago, he became a security guard at the Port.
“It was my goal prior to becoming a security officer to run for the Port Commission,” McClaine said. “I’ve just taken four years to expose myself (to) the inner workings.”
Hunsinger’s Position 3 is one of two seats available on the Port Commission. Robert Stevens, who was appointed to the commission in 2017, is running unopposed for Position 4.
“I highly regard Mr. Stevens, and I would like to see him continue,” McClaine said of why he chose to run against Hunsinger. “He’s the other available seat.”
Hunsinger, a retired longshoreman and commercial fisherman, was first elected to the Port Commission in 2007.
In the Sunset Empire Transportation District, incumbent Tracy MacDonald, a Home Depot employee, faces a challenge from Larry Taylor, the former chairman of the Clatsop County Democrats, for Position 1.
Incumbent Lylla Gaebel faces a challenge from Debbie Boothe-Schmidt, a trial assistant with the Clatsop County District Attorney’s Office, for Position 5.
The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District features two contested races.
There are four candidates for Position 4 being vacated by Edward Hassan, including retiree Marti Wajc, former Columbia Bank branch officer Katherine Parker, Seaside School District employee Shirley Yates and radio station owner John Chapman.
In Position 5, incumbent Rodney Roberts faces challenges from retiree Lindsey Morrison and Wheel Fun Rental owner Patrick Duhachek.
School board races
David Oser, who was appointed to the Astoria School Board in 2016 and recently retired from nonprofit lender Craft3, faces a challenge for Position 2 from Heidi Wintermute, a school psychologist with the Ocean Beach School District in Long Beach, Washington.
Seaside School Board incumbent Sandra Gomez, a former school district employee who was appointed in February, faces a challenge from Jeremy Mills, a local insurance agent, and John Dunzer, a greeter at Walmart in Warrenton, for Position 1.
Andrea Mazzarella, who was appointed to the Clatsop Community College Board in January 2018, faces a challenge for Position 2 from retired former business owner Sara Meyer.
On the Jewell School Board, incumbent Brian Meier, a construction worker, faces a challenge for Position 5 from Julie Hedford, a registered nurse and lactation consultant.