The filing deadline is less than two weeks away for residents who want to serve their communities on school boards, park districts, fire districts and many others.

Is it your time to participate?

Election Day is May 21, but candidates must file by March 21. Candidates can pay a modest $10 fee or collect signatures.

In Deschutes County, there are dozens of board positions on the ballot, including school, library, recreation, fire, sewer and water. Similar positions are open in Jefferson and Crook counties.

Requirements vary. For example, for boards of the Deschutes Public Library system or the Bend-La Pine Schools, candidates must live within certain zones for each position. Other boards elect members who live anywhere in the district. The positions are nonpartisan, and the level of campaigning varies.

You can learn a lot from the website for the board that interests you or by contacting someone who is serving on that board. Also, check the websites of your county clerk and the Oregon secretary of state, or give those offices a call.

Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship told us the biggest stumbling block for inexperienced candidates is often in ethics or campaign finance. She urges candidates to consult the District Director Packet on the Deschutes County website (, Elections and Voting, Filing Forms), and to call with questions.

You pay the taxes that support these districts, and serving on a board is the best way to have a say in how they’re spent. Running for office helps you get involved, meet people and make a contribution. You might even like it, and for sure you’ll learn a lot.