Roseburg City Councilor Ashley Hicks filed Tuesday to run against Tim Freeman for Douglas County commissioner.
On Monday, marijuana store owner James Hoyt and teacher Rita Harris also filed for county commissioner seats. Hoyt will run against Commissioner Chris Boice, while Harris will run against Freeman.
Tuesday was the deadline to file to run for county, state and federal offices in the May primary. The recent filings bring the numbers up to five running for the seat Freeman currently holds and four for the seat Boice holds.
Hicks was elected to City Council in 2016 and represents Southeast Roseburg, including downtown. She was an organizer of the South Umpqua River Cleanup project.
Hicks said she’s excited that so many people are running for commissioner.
“I’m just really encouraged by that. I think it’s great,” she said. “I think having a good group to choose from really does a good service to the voters, because it allows them to have more than just this guy or that guy to choose from.”
As for her own candidacy, Hicks said she just wants to be of service however she can.
Hicks said as a commissioner she would work on increasing multi-family and other housing to deal with the county’s housing shortage.
“Housing is a huge issue, and we need more housing stock,” she said.
She also wants the county to offer programs to provide transitional housing and work for people leaving jail.
Hicks is also concerned about the health of the South Umpqua River, and wants to obtain some data on its water quality and and its wildlife, including fish runs.
She said she’s aligned with Freeman on the need for responsible timber management, but she believes selective timber harvesting could create additional jobs.
As for dealing with the county’s looming budget crisis, Hicks said the commissioners have put the county on a track toward sustainability, and trying to make its programs as self-sufficient as they can be. She doesn’t think that course will be reversed. She said she’s more familiar with the internet and could use it to find additional financial opportunities for the county.
Another challenger for Freeman’s seat, Harris, unsuccessfully campaigned for county commissioner in 2014, after longtime Commissioner Doug Robertson retired.
Although she’s a Democrat, some of her party’s leaders threw their support to conservative Republican Gary Leif that year, hoping to defeat Boice. Backed by the Republicans, Boice won that election. Harris received 6 percent of the vote.
The commissioner race is nonpartisan, so the candidates’ party affiliations are only relevant if they matter to voters.
Harris said she’s running for commissioner again because she wants to improve transparency, and because she questions some financial decisions the county commissioners have made, citing the decision to spend some Title III Secure Rural Schools dollars on a video promoting federal timber harvests after forest fires.
Harris said she decided at the last minute to run, because she wanted to make sure somebody running stood for “an open and transparent government.” It’s a theme she said she will emphasize throughout her campaign.
She said citizens need to feel included in the decision-making process. They need to be able to ask questions, criticize proposals, and be listened to.
“I do not feel like that is what’s happening now,” she said.
She also said the commissioners need to work harder to ensure the public has the information it needs to participate in decision-making, such as expanded information about items on the meeting agendas like what’s offered by the city of Roseburg. She’s also like to see clearer information about where the money in the budget comes from and what it’s spent on.
“County government, to me, should be a beacon of transparency,” she said.
She said she doesn’t have answers yet for how she’d handle the county’s looming budget crisis, but said that’s partly because of the limited information available.
Two other challengers filed earlier for Freeman’s seat. One is Victor Petrucci of Winston, who was recently indicted on a burglary charge in connection with an incident in which listening devices were allegedly placed at the county’s Solid Waste Department. Petrucci told the News-Review he believes the county landfill is leaching waste into the South Umpqua River. The other candidate for Freeman’s seat is Brandy Stone of Roseburg, an opponent of logging in county parks who advocated for the failed Home Rule Charter, which would have reorganized county government.
Hoyt, who will challenge Boice in May, is the owner of the Roseburg recreational marijuana store the 420 Club. According to his filing form, he has also been a contractor and a reserve police officer. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Two military veterans are also running against Boice, Jason Leeper and Jeremy Salter, both of Roseburg. Salter is a Marine Corps veteran who formerly ran a satellite TV installation business. Leeper is an Army veteran and substitute teacher.
In the commissioner races, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright in May. If no one achieves that, the top two vote getters advance to the November general election.
Two candidates have filed for Douglas County assessor, but current Assessor Roger Hartman did not file for re-election. That leaves two appraisers squaring off in May, Heather Coffel of Roseburg and Dean Tucker of Winchester.
Megan Salter, the wife of commissioner candidate Jeremy Salter, is the lone Democrat to file for House District 2, which covers Roseburg, South County and small chunks of Josephine and Jackson counties.
Rep. Dallas Heard, the Winston Republican who currently holds that seat, hopes to be appointed to fill Sen. Jeff Kruse’s seat. Kruse resigned following an investigation into allegations he inappropriately touched women he worked with in Salem.
If Heard is successful, Douglas County Commissioner Gary Leif has lined himself up for the Republican nomination. Heard has endorsed Leif for the position, if he moves up to the Senate. Leif said he plans to drop out of the race if Heard is not appointed to the Senate. Heard and Leif were the only two Republicans listed on the secretary of state’s website Tuesday evening as having filed for the House District 2 race.
North County voters will have simple choices for the state legislature. Incumbent Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, has no challengers in the Democratic primary. One Republican has filed, Scott Rohler of Vida, who owns a refrigerator and appliance repair company.
Incumbent Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Fall Creek, has no Republican challenger in the primary for House District 7, which covers North Douglas County and rural South Lane County. Christy Inskip of Cottage Grove is the only Democrat to file. She is a senior community health analyst at Lane County Public Health.
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, has a last-minute challenger for the Democratic primary, Daniel Arcangel of Monmouth, who works as a Costco cashier in Albany. Arcangel filed late Tuesday. Five Republicans will contend for their party’s nomination. They include Curry County Commissioner Court Boice of Gold Beach; jewelry designer and carpet installation business owner Joe Rae Perkins of Albany; Grants Pass real estate broker Michael Polen; former unsuccessful Eugene mayoral candidate Stefan Strek and repeat candidate Art Robinson, a Cave Junction chemist.