Crook County scraps party labels

Voters OK a nonpartisan county government

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin

Crook County will be switching to a nonpartisan county government, after voters resoundingly approved a plan to scrap party labels for its county court on Tuesday night.

With the vote, Crook County became the 21st of Oregon’s 36 counties to adopt a nonpartisan form of county government. The change will take effect after this fall’s county election.

Judge Mike McCabe, head of the Crook County Court, said he and his fellow commissioners — all Republicans — were approached with the idea of switching to a nonpartisan system late last year.

McCabe said he liked the idea, but wanted voters to be given an opportunity to weigh in.

“You look at the state of Oregon and the federal government, and how partisan they are, how much worse can it get?” McCabe said.

Republicans have enjoyed a sizable advantage in the county in recent years. As of April, registration statistics from the Oregon secretary of state showed 5,538 Republicans in Crook County, 3,223 Democrats and 3,512 voters who are unaffiliated or registered with a minor party.

— Reporter: 541-383-0387, shammers@bendbulletin.com