One of the biggest stories in the Clatsop Community College Board election is how little candidates vary on the proposed college campus, one of the most hotly debated issues this election and last.
Campus location was widely considered the reason for a $24 million bond measure's defeat in the November 2006 election, when college leaders were looking to build new facilities on John Warren Field in Astoria.
Location was also a point of contention in 1999, after the seven-member board reversed an unpopular decision to create a new campus at South Tongue Point, and started over the debate over how to replace aging facilities. It caused a clash in 2002 as well, when the college requested taxpayers' help to fund renovations and a new building at the existing Jerome Avenue site in Astoria - a measure that also met defeat.
Now, CCC is campaigning for a campus in Warrenton, backed by a $22 million bond request on the May ballot.
Five of seven contenders in four board races participated in a Wednesday forum sponsored by the American Association of University Women. Each pledged support for a new Warrenton campus, although not everyone considered it the highest priority.
However, the two challengers who didn't appear, stand in stark contrast to the others. Both prefer the present Astoria campus location. One has even called for the ousting of CCC President Greg Hamann over the issue.
Following is a breakdown of the races for directors' seats at Clatsop Community College.
Zone 1, Position 1Position Sought: Clatsop Community College Board, Zone 1, Position 1
Address: 43738 Gerttula Lane, Brownsmead
Occupation: agriculturalist/dairy farmer
Education: Knappa High School; Bachelor's Degree in animal science with minor in business, Oregon State University; EMT basic, Clatsop Community College
Length of time in Clatsop County: 25 years
Affiliations: Brownsmead Grange, Clatsop County Planning Commision, Knappa Water Association, C.R.E.S.T. cooperator, Brownsmead/Knappa fire and emergency volunteer
Prior Experience: various student organizations at OSU
Key issues: Providing life-enhancement and self-improvement opportunities for residents such as job training in computer skills and technical vocational areas to promote increased individual quality of life and community benefit; providing introductions to higher education for high-school graduates/GED; improving the quality of services in recruitment and retention of high-quality educational staff; improving relations between the college and community; improving the educational environment, in terms of infrastructure.
Dirk Rohne is running unopposed for the Zone 1, Position 1 seat. A dairy farmer in Brownsmead, he grew up in Clatsop County and graduated from Knappa High School. But he left the area for about six years to pursue higher education at Oregon State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in animal science with a minor in business.
Rohne feels one of his biggest strengths is the relatively short time he's been out of college. He graduated in 2000.
"It hasn't been a long, long time since I've been out of school, so I think that's kind of pertinent relating to the college board, in terms of understanding what it is to be a student and the different things important to a student," he said. Looking back on his college experience, he said good teachers always left a lasting impression - whether it was a visiting professor from Yale during his time at OSU, or a paramedic offering emergency medical technician training at CCC. Faculty is one of his biggest priorities.
"I believe it is important to recruit and retain talented instructors," said Rohne. "Our primary concern should be attracting the right people to the college and supporting them so they can be effective."
In addition, he said, a new campus could also improve a student's college experience, despite the apparent local aversion to helping fund its development.
"Clatsop County is said to be a great place to retire. Maybe it could also be a great place to get an education," Rohne said. "Environment can set the tone; it can influence the expectations of students and teachers alike. The current facility may work, but even with some new elevators and a fresh coat of paint, it will not change the fact that it was a condemned high school in 1958."
"The college could be considered an economic engine," producing a "skilled and educated workforce," he added. "I think (a new campus) would appeal to a student to want to stay there and invest their time in a place where the community has invested its money."
Rohne will take over the seat being vacated by Laura Harris, who did not file for re-election
Zone 2, Position 4Zone 2, Position 3 is a face-off between incumbent Paul Gillum and newcomer Stephen "Steve" Berk.
Position Sought: Clatsop Community College Board, Zone 2, Position 4
Address: 303 Pleasant Ave., Astoria
Occupation: Retired police officer, artist
Education: Astoria High School, Clatsop Community College
Length of time in Clatsop County: 43 years
Affiliations: Boy Scouts of America
Prior experience: Clatsop Community College Board member from 1999 to present, Clatsop County Ambulance Service Advisory Board Chairman, Clatsop County Sheriff's Explorer Post Committee Chairman, Cub Scout Pack 211 and Boy Scout Troop 535 from 1997 to present, Fort Clatsop District Explorer Training Commissioner
Key issues: Continuing to provide quality higher education for Clatsop County, retaining qualified faculty and staff, continuing to meet college accreditation standards, and facilitating the construction of a new campus in Warrenton.
Gillum retired in January after 27-plus years as an Astoria police officer, a career that followed a stint in the military, but he continues to work as an artist, making bronze sculptures for his company, Studio B. He's running for a third term on the board because he feels there's still work to do.
"We have a team that seems to be working very well together, and it seems to be working to the benefit of Clatsop County," Gillum said in an earlier interview. "There are still things we can do, and as new things arise, we can deal with them as a team. It just seems to work really well."
Facilities, he said, represent a big concern, but they follow a few other priorities: providing quality higher education, retaining qualified faculty and staff, and continuing to meet accreditation standards. He said a new campus would ensure CCC continues to meet those standards, which include requirements for access.
"One of the things we need to do to continue to meet the accreditation standards is to facilitate the construction of a new campus, which we, as a board ... agreed would be in Warrenton," Gillum said. "We can make a very viable campus in Warrenton."
Position Sought: Clatsop Community College Board , Zone 2 Position 4
Address: 89245 Saddle Mountain Road, Olney
Occupation: Emeritus Professor of History, Calfornia State University, Long Beach; California-licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (inactive)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History, Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.; Master of Arts in U.S. History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.; Doctor of Philosophy in History (American Culture and Religion), University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; Master of Science in Counseling, California State University, Long Beach
Length of time in Clatsop County: 2 1/2 years
Affiliations: Vice President of Encore Program affiliated with Clatsop Community College, originator and coordinator of Social Science/Humanities section of Encore, columnist for Hipfish, food bank volunteer
Prior Experience: 34-year member of the History Department at California State University, Long Beach, Calif., with work on governance, curriculum development, evaluation of colleagues, familiarity with students and their academic, social and career concerns, collegial familiarity with academic issues, including with faculty and administrators, enrollment and budget issues, faculty unions and collective bargaining
Key Issues: Supporting the bond issue for a new campus that would have regional appeal and offer up-to-date facilities, a student center and athletic facilities, room to expand and meet the economic challenges of the 21st century; expanding enrollment and curriculum, along with related issues such as expanding liberal arts and science offerings for a better college that is more serviceable to a broader population of students, and expanding vocational programs in response to changing local business and industrial needs.
Gillum's challenger, Berk, a retired college professor who moved from California to Olney in 2004, also supports the Warrenton campus. But he didn't always. After rejecting the November bond, he said he dug deeper into the issue and changed his mind.
"In the fall, I did not support the John Warren Field bond, and I was for a time persuaded that the college could rebuild the Jerome facility," Berk said. "I came to the conclusion that the campus on Jerome ... cannot expand where it is."
In addition, he feels developing programs to meet the needs of a changing economy would be much harder at the existing site, where space is limited and there is no available student housing.
"With student housing, you could draw from a broader geographical area and increase your student body, and that way increase your appeal. ... A new campus could become a center for developing new enterprise, for developing new vocational programs and for expanding liberal arts," Berk said.
Those issues tie into his concerns about the state funding climate. Schools get some money from the state based on the number of students enrolled. With less overall state funding, tuition rates typically increase, and students usually take fewer classes because of the cost. That results in even less money from the state, more cuts to teaching positions and programs, and even fewer students.
"It's a vicous cycle; I'd like to see that reversed," he said, noting a similar environment existed during his 34 years teaching at California State University in Long Beach, Calif. But that school was revived after a slight shift in the state budget. Enrollment grew, and so did faculty and course offerings. "And boy, what a different atmosphere it is," Berk said. "If you've got a broader number of liberal arts courses to choose from, a broader curriculum, I think you can draw more students."
Zone 3, Position 6Incumbent Marilyn Lane is facing a fight for her Zone 3, Position 6 spot from Rand Dufka, an Arch Cape building contractor.
Position sought: Clatsop Community College Board, Zone 3, Position 6
Address: 79905 Anvil Rock Road, Arch Cape
Occupation: Building contractor, architect and artist
Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Length of time in Clatsop County: About 18 years
Affiliations: None provided
Prior experience: Southwest Coastal Citizens Advisory Committee/Arch Cape Coastal Design Review committee
Key issues: None provided.
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Dufka declined an interview with The Daily Astorian, saying he didn't have time. He also did not participate in the Wednesday forum. He did, however, speak with at least one other publication, which quoted him saying he prefers Astoria for the primary campus location.
While he would support additional services in the southern part of Clatsop County, he apparently supports an overall expansion in offerings countywide, especially those focused on traditional education.
Position sought: Clatsop Community College Board, Zone 3, Position 6
Address: P.O. Box 2837, Gearhart
Occupation: Educator (director of instructional services at Astoria School District, former district director of curriculum, former school principal)
Education: Ph.D. from University of Oregon
Length of time in Clatsop County: 10 years
Affiliations: Oregon Community College Association President 2006-07; Clatsop County Team: Balancing Heritage, Community and Commerce; National Staff Development Council; Oregon Community Education Association
Prior experience: Eight years on CCC Board, many years working in education
Key issues: To fulfill the college's mission of providing open access to high-quality learning opportunities for the people of this region and to prepare them for full and productive participation in a dynamic world, and to accomplish that by focusing work on a new college campus, long-term fiscal resources to support the college's mission, an educational community that encourages learning and achievement, economic development and workforce training, and student access and success.
Lane, director of instructional services for the Astoria School District, is running for her third term. She first ran in 1999.
"At that time, the college board had been waffling" about whether to move the campus, she said. Lane was principal of Capt. Robert Gray Elementary School when a student's father approached her with concerns for his child's future. "He could not imagine the current site would meet the needs of the 21st century, when his student would need a college degree," Lane said.
She continues to support an improved campus, as well as maintaining fiscal resources and providing "an educational community that will meet the educational needs of the future," regardless of where it's located.
"The location is not what matters," Lane said. "What matters is this community has a community college, and that we, as an entire community, as Clatsop County, recognize how important continuing education is and provide the facilities for that."
Zone 3, Position 7The final race for the college board, Zone 3, Position 7, is a contest between Cannon Beach resident Larry Sparks, appointed to fill a vacant position last fall, and Lois DuPey, who also lives in Cannon Beach.
Position sought: Clatsop Community College Board of Directors, Zone 3, Position 7
Address: P.O. Box 107, Cannon Beach
Occupation: Part-time cook, intelligence analyst
Education: Master of Arts in International Studies from University of Washington, Honors in English from Western Washington University
Length of time in Clatsop County: About five years
Affiliations: None provided
Prior experience: 12 years of college, background in international business
Key issues: Renovating and restoring the college at its historic location in existing facilities with no new taxes; building out the curricula to connect the college comprehensively to community and to other educational facilities locally; creating a community emergency plan centered at Clatsop College to ensure the evacuation of primary and secondary education centers from their tsunami zones to the one place that is most able to accommodate a public emergency: CCC's Jerome Avenue location; holding board members and president accountable for wasting millions.
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DuPey did not take part in this week's candidate forum and said she prefers to conduct interviews in written form, by e-mail.
She has lived in Cannon Beach since 2002, although she has told elections officials she is homeless; She says her address is Cannon Beach City Hall, although she has also had a P.O. box.
A part-time cook and self-described intelligence analyst, DuPey said her top concerns include renovating and restoring the college at its present "historic" location with no new taxes, building out the curricula to connect the college to the community, and creating a community emergency plan centered at the college. The plan would ensure evacuation of other educational centers from tsunami zones to a safe location, she said.
In addition, DuPey wants Hamann stripped of his presidency. She said her credentials in academia - stemming from 12 years of college - and "the topsy-turvy world" of international business - mostly in Russia, she said - have prepared her "to tackle tough problems like the Clatsop College issue."
"I see no reason to debate the intricacies of the bond measure with incumbents," DuPey wrote in a prepared statement. "I am simply asking the community to call for the removal of the college president from office at this time."
She feels the past two failed bond measures showed "a mandate for him to cease and desist" from the effort.
Position sought: Clatsop Community College Board, Zone 3, Position 7
Address: 472 N. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach
Occupation: Self-employed business consultant and insurance agent
Education: Master of Business Administration from Seattle Pacific College, master's degree in history from Western Washington University, bachelor's degree in history from Western Washington University
Length of time in Clatsop County: Homeowner since 1995, full-time resident for more than one year
Affiliations: None provided
Prior experience: Clatsop Community College Board member since summer 2006; member of the Graduate Curriculum and Undergraduate Curriculum Committees in the History Department at Western Washington University; 31 years' experience working with small and large businesses at the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Company
Key issues: Supporting the bond issue, which "is very important to the future of Clatsop Community College," encouraging students of all ages to continue their education at CCC, and training and developing the next generation of leaders for the challenges of the 21st century.
On the other hand, incumbent Larry Sparks, who lives in Cannon Beach, defended the CCC bond measure and president.
"We really need the new campus," he said. "We're borderline in meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act; we're borderline with accreditation because of our facilities. How can you argue with that? It's not a Greg Hamann issue. It's a facilities issue."
Sparks has lived in Cannon Beach for more than one year, but has owned a house there since 1995. He said his backgrounds in business and education - a bachelor's degree and a master's from Western Washington University and three decades working with large and small companies through Boeing Commercial Airplanes Co. - qualify him for the board.