Julia Shumway
The Bulletin

Central Oregon residents will see contested races for school boards, park boards and fire districts in the May election, though most candidates who filed by Thursday night’s election deadline will remain unopposed.

Those seats can be filled by write-in candidates, or, if no write-in candidate is qualified for or accepts the position, by appointment, Crook County Clerk Cheryl Seely said.

Each county also will have positions for water, sanitation and soil districts on the May ballot.

April 30 is the last day for new voters to register in time for the May election. Voters can confirm their registrations online.

Ballots will be mailed May 1 and must be received by the county clerk’s office by 8 p.m. May 21.

Deschutes County

Former Bend Mayor Jim Clinton is running for a full four-year term on the Central Oregon Community College board he was appointed to in January. He is running against botanist John Short in a Bend-based zone.

Current board member and Bend City Councilor Bruce Abernethy is unopposed for his re-election bid in a zone that includes northwest Bend, and Oliver Tatom, a paramedic who expects to graduate from the COCC nursing program in June, is running unopposed in a zone that covers southern Deschutes County.

Amy Tatom, a family nurse practitioner who is married to Oliver Tatom, is running unopposed for one spot on the Bend-La Pine School Board. Speech-language pathologist Caroline Skidmore, IT solutions architect Chet Liew and former Bend City Councilor Mark Capell are running to finish the remaining two years of the school board term vacated when new state Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, resigned from the board.

Board chairman Andy High is running for re-election against Presbyterian pastor Shimiko Montgomery. Melissa Dholakia, founder of an education consulting firm; retired teacher and principal Richard Asadoorian and Mike Way are running for the final open seat.

Incumbent Tim Carpenter is running unopposed for a seat on the Redmond School Board and incumbent Johnny Corbin will face Liz Goodrich, adult programs coordinator at the Deschutes Public Library.

In Sisters, incumbents Jeff Smith and Stephen King are running for a single school board seat in a race that also includes David Thorsett. Sisters Park and Recreation District employee Mandee Seeley and former school board chairman Don Hedrick are running for the other position.

Most rural fire protection district races in Deschutes County are uncontested. Ben Schimmoller, a conservative activist who lost the 2019 Republican primary for a Bend-area state House seat by two votes, is challenging Deschutes Rural Fire District #2 President Ray Miao. A three-way race for an open seat on the Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District consists of retired Redmond fire Capt. Stratton Poindexter, Ken Jones and retired Sisters district Deschutes National Forest Ranger Kristie Miller.

Incumbents Gary Cadez and Kent Haarberg and retired wheat farmer Karl Scronce are unopposed for seats on the Deschutes Rural Fire District #2 Board. In Sisters, incumbents Chuck Newport and Bill Rainey are unopposed.

Alfalfa Fire District incumbents Carolyn Chase, Nate Starr, Ole Olsen and David Pike; Black Butte Ranch Rural Fire Protection District incumbents Don Bowler, David Gibson and Roger Gabrielson; Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District incumbents John Thomas, Jerry Johnson and Alycia Downs; La Pine Rural Fire Protection District incumbents Joel Whitmer, Jim Landles and Larry South and Redmond Fire & Rescue incumbents Craig Unger and Carroll Penhollow are all in uncontested races.

Incumbent Miao is running against Betsy Tucker for one seat on the Deschutes Public Library District Board. Incumbents Cynthia Claridge and Ann Malkin are in uncontested races.

The two Bend Park & Recreation District board members whose terms are ending are not seeking re-election. Oregon State University-Cascades instructor Ariel Mendez and insurance risk adviser Travis Davis are running for a seat in the lone contested race.

La Pine Park & Recreation District Incumbent Gary Gordon and Deren Ash are competing for one seat on the La Pine Park & Recreation District Board and La Pine High School employee Bridgit Montgomery is unopposed for another.

Sisters Park & Recreation District vice chairman Heath Foott is unopposed in his re-election bid, while incumbent Peggy Tehan faces a challenge from Rosemary Vasquez. Redmond Area Park and Recreation District incumbents Zack Harmon and Ed Danielson are unopposed.

Redmond voters will also vote on two park ballot measures that will increase their taxes: a $40 million bond to acquire land and construct a recreational facility and a five-year operating levy of $0.19 per $1,000 in assessed value to pay for park operations.

Crook County

Of 25 races in Crook County, only the two open positions on Crook County Fire and Rescue board are contested.

Incumbent Jerry Brummer, who is also a Crook County commissioner, is running for one seat on the fire board against county planning commissioner George Ponte and Redmond firefighter Beth Mitchell. The other fire board race is a matchup between incumbent Jim Dean and Redmond firefighter Gary Abrams.

Incumbents Doug Smith, Patti Norris and Walt Wagner are running unopposed for the seats they hold on the Crook County School Board. Current Crook County Parks & Recreation District board members Jeremy Logan, Carol Benkosky and Jason Carr are also unopposed in their re-election bids.

Jefferson County

Both openings on the Jefferson County School District board are contested. Board chairwoman Courtney Snead faces a challenge from Casandra Moses, a Madras resident and enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. A three-way race for the other open seat includes Warm Springs Tribal Council representative Carina Miller, Madras father Taylor Lark and Madras farmer Kevin Richards.

Only one of the four open seats on the Jefferson County Education Service District, which provides support services for school districts in the county, is contested. Ashwood-area incumbent Dani Cowdrey is being challenged by Ed Jackson, the current vice chairman of the Ashwood School District board. Black Butte-area incumbent Daniel Petke is running unopposed for re-election, and no candidates have filed for open at-large and Culver-area seats.

Longtime Culver High School football coach Brian Silbernagel and Culver resident Seth Taylor are vying for an open seat on the Culver School Board. Dave Slaght, the vice-chair of the board, has no opponent.

Incumbents Jackson and Taasha Cooper are unopposed for their seats on school board for the Ashwood School District, which comprises a one-room K-6 schoolhouse 30 miles northeast of Madras. Incumbent Lauren White and newcomer Susan Carlson are unopposed in their races for the Black Butte school board, which oversees a K-8 school in the Metolius Basin.

Bill Burt and Jeff Green are vying for one spot on the Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District, while incumbent Bob Bengtson faces a challenge from Mark Wilson, who retired from his post as assistant fire chief Jan. 1. Incumbent Barb Oakley has no election opponents.

Farmer Ryan Boyle and Madras resident John Adams are running for an open seat on the Jefferson County Rural Fire Protection District. Incumbents Rob Galyen and Tim Whitaker are unopposed for the other two seats.

All three seats on the Lake Chinook Fire & Rescue Board are contested. Culver residents Rich Brandvold and Larry Griffin are seeking one seat, Culver resident Art Dorsey and Redmond homebuilder Kevin Fitzpatrick are vying for another and Salem resident Joe Parrott and Portland resident Robert Zavodsky want the third.

Galyen and current Madras Aquatic Center District board member Steve Webb are in that district’s one contested race. Board chairwoman Jinnell Lewis, board member Greg Williams and Lindsay Foster-Drago, director of global strategy for a Madras-based machinery company, are unopposed for the other three positions.

Jefferson County Library District board member Guy Chittenden, Crooked River Ranch Special Road District candidates Sue Ellen Haley and Mike Schlabach and Jefferson County EMS Board candidates Steve Heydon and David Budden are also in uncontested races. No one has filed for the other open library district seat.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160; jshumway@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated John Short’s profession. The Bulletin regrets the error.