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Commissioners hope to conduct public interviews with nine and appoint someone to Position 5 by end of January.


COURTESY PHOTO - Commissioners hope to conduct public interviews with nine and appoint someone to Position 5 by end of January.A record 77 people are seeking the position vacated by Commissioner Jim Bernard, who took his oath Monday (Jan. 9) as the new chairman of the Clackamas County board.

But Bernard and three other commissioners are likely to conduct public interviews with only nine of the applicants during the week of Jan. 23.

Commissioners agreed Tuesday (Jan. 10) to submit lists from which the county staff will compile five names common on all lists. Each commissioner can then add one name not on the common list.

The lists are due to the staff Jan. 17. The target for a final vote is Jan. 31.

Although 78 people submitted applications for Bernard's now-vacant Position 5, one was disqualified because of out-of-state residency. The position is for the two years remaining in Bernard's commissioner term, and a successor would have to run in the 2018 primary to win election to a four-year term.

Bernard was elected Nov. 8 to a full term in the chairmanship (Position 1) after eight years in Position 5.

"There are some well-qualified people I do not know" who should get consideration, Commissioner Paul Savas said.

But Bernard said if such applicants have not shown a previous interest in county issues, "that might be of concern to me."

"I do not think we want to spend the next two months interviewing 77 people," said Commissioner Ken Humberston, who begins a term in Position 4.

Bernard said he would like to see more "diversity" on the board, but when pressed by Savas, defined only gender as one of the standards. Bernard specifically excluded geography; all board members are elected countywide.

At least three current applicants ran for commissioner in the 2016 primary, and one other ran for chairman in 2012.

Steve Bates of Boring and Jenifer Valley of Happy Valley lost to incumbent Martha Schrader of Lake Oswego for Position 3, and Sandy Mayor Bill King lost for Position 4. Dave Hunt of Gladstone, a former state representative and House speaker, lost a bid for county board chairman in 2012.

Other applicants who sought but lost office in 2016 were Jon Gustafson, who ran for Lake Oswego mayor; Tom Kane, Democratic nominee in House District 18, which covers southern Clackamas County, and Steven Paden of Oregon City, who ran for county assessor.

Among the other applicants are:

Former state Rep. Scott Bruun of West Linn; Jody Carson, former West Linn city councilor; Thomas Eskridge of Milwaukie, who led the 2011 repeal of a $5 county vehicle fee for the Sellwood Bridge; Dan Fowler, former Oregon City mayor; Terry Gibson, former president, Oak Lodge Sanitary Board, which merged with the Water Board in 2016; Clay Glasgow, Gladstone city planner; Chris Hawes, prominent opponent of Damascus incorporation; Michael Kohlhoff, former Wilsonville city attorney; Michael Morrow, former Happy Valley city councilor; John Mullin, Oregon Law Center advocate; James Needham, former Molalla city councilor; Carol Pauli, former Oregon City commissioner; Les Poole of Gladstone, a frequent commenter at board meetings; Steve Spinnett, former Damascus mayor; Jenni Tan, current West Linn city councilor.

A total of 44 candidates have been on the ballot for commissioner since 2008, when the board was expanded from three to five members. That total includes duplications.

The board filled vacancies in 2009, after Martha Schrader was appointed to the Oregon Senate — she was elected to the county board again in 2012 and 2016 — and in 2011 after Lynn Peterson resigned to take a state job.

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