All three Douglas County commissioners have filed for reelection in 2022, and one of them has a challenger.

Commissioner Tom Kress will square off against Marcus Black, a logger from Drain.

Black grew up in Douglas County and works in his family’s logging business. At 25 years old, he is a newcomer to politics and said not enough people of his generation are involved in politics.

He thinks it’s time for new people with new ideas to serve on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

“They are not pushing that envelope to do something great,” he said of the current commissioners. “They are content to just do enough to stay relevant, stay elected. They are too afraid to rock the boat to make everybody’s lives potentially better.”

Black cited education, homelessness and forest fires as his top priorities.

He wants the county to give parents options outside of the state-funded education system.

“A lot of parents are unhappy with the school district due to the policies that are coming into play with critical race theory, transgenderism,” he said.

He mentioned offering tax breaks for parents to send kids elsewhere, and also said he would like to fund a county-funded school district as an alternative.

The county is not currently involved in funding or operating any school districts.

To pay for his project, he suggested the county should partner with an environmental group to buy the Elliott State Forest from the state. The forest could then be managed to generate revenue for the county, he said.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, along with Lone Rock Timber, had unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the forest in 2017. The county later proposed buying the forest for $120.8 million. Oregon chose instead to make it a state research forest.

Black said the growing number of homeless people in Roseburg need to be given some tough love because many are drug addicts. He also said the county should give local churches and local businesses the money to help them.

“It’s not going away, it’s getting worse. So let’s try something new,” he said.

A third top issue for Black is forest fires. The county shouldn’t be seeing two or three big fires every summer, he said.

He wants the excess fuels out of the forest and said the county should create a cogeneration plant to burn material cleared out of the forest during fire prevention.

“We can make power with that fuel,” he said.

That would also bring the county energy independence, he said, if in the future there are power brownouts elsewhere due to a movement toward green energy.

Black also wants the county to have control over the federal O&C timberlands, which are operated by the Bureau of Land Management.

He said the BLM is required to harvest 500 million board feet of timber off those lands annually and is harvesting less than half that.

“We’re not getting as much of that money as we possibly could,” he said.

Commissioners Chris Boice and Tim Freeman are so far unopposed. All three incumbents have formed campaign committees and are actively fundraising. Black has not formed a fundraising committee yet and said he is not collecting campaign contributions.

Kress and Boice have each raised $19,000 in campaign funds so far this year. Freeman has raised $29,000.

This is the first time that three incumbents have ever run for the Douglas County Board of Commissioners at the same time.

Prior to 2015, all three of the commissioner seats were staggered, with Positions 1 and 3 coming up for election two years apart from Position 2. Freeman holds Position 2.

After longtime Commissioner Doug Robertson retired from Position 3 before his term was up, Boice was elected in 2014 to a four-year term, making his position line up with Freeman's. That left the staggering seat Position 1, then held by former commissioner Susan Morgan.

Morgan was replaced by Gary Leif in 2016, but he left Position 1 before his term was up. Once Kress was elected to fill that seat, all three commissioners were on the same cycle, with no more staggering position.

Freeman said this is the first time in the state's history, anywhere in the state, when all the county commissioner seats were on the ballot at the same time.

He said the Association of Oregon Counties has proposed legislation to ensure this won't happen again in other counties.

The candidate filing period for the 2022 countywide races opened in September and continues through March 8.

Douglas County Assessor Heather Coffel has also filed for reelection to her post.

In the state Legislative races, and in the races for seats in the U.S. House, the start of the filing period has been delayed until Jan. 17 due to redistricting.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(13) comments

S

Well, we knew the current three stooges would be filing and given that we now have a Board of Commissioners without staggered terms we can actually, seriously use this opportunity to clean house all at once; once and for all. For the love and salvation of our community.

While it is encouraging to see a "young," person run for office, let's at least get a young'un who understands local government and has some humanity. We don't need newcomers to politics who don't have an understanding of government or even what the office he is seeking can and cannot do. We already have that with Curly, Moe and Tommy. Black would better serve his community by running for a school board seat given his agenda and total lack of any understanding of what's actually going on with County business - and even with that one must hope he doesn't have a child who is transgender or has friends who are Black or Brown. At least School Board's have a professional Superintendent to help guide the Board when they end up with elected numbskulls. We're not so lucky at the County level without an experienced and professional County Manager.

Everyone filing so far has checked the "Republican," party affiliation for a completely NON PARTISAN office. That box is there too and frankly, any other options should not be listed because it isn't supposed to be in play. Likely one of the biggest mistakes voters in this County ever made was to make Commissioner seats nonpartisan [Thank you Patrick Starnes - we tried to tell you] because you can't get anyone but a Republican past the primary election. This has only served to reinforce the only qualifications you need to run for office and be successful in Douglas County: 1. be white; 2. have a willy; 3. be a registered Republican; 4. own a gun and support gun rights at all costs; 5. own a chainsaw and believe the only reasonable way to make a living is to cut down the forests.

Aren't we lucky ducks? Nah, we're more like sitting ducks stuck in the beginning of the 20th Century. We don't intend to squander this election or this opportunity. Stay tuned . . .

mworden

S, you know what's going on and what has been going on. Good post.

Mike

A Marcus Black received two write-in votes in the 2020 Drain City Council election. Doesn't that count?

https://douglascounty-oregon.us/DocumentCenter/View/5246/November-03-2020-Official-City-Councilor-Write-In-Tallies-Drain-Riddle-Yoncalla

Momos

Y'all are getting wound up pretty early. It's open till March 8.

Keepin it Real

Let’s see here. School Districts are not controlled by County Commissioners. Elected School Boards serve that purpose. We can see how well that is going right now as there are troublemakers that want and need attention.

Homelessness is a problem, but no one wants to seem to want anything in their neighborhood, and the City of Roseburg can’t get anyone to want to build and operate one.

As far as timber and forest fire issues, he may want to do his research as to what all had been done with O&C and forest management.

Because of his last platform, forestry, why is he running against Kress and not the timber guy? He may want to do some googling on that.

Finally, I am hoping to see Mike run for commissioner since he is all knowing and will solve not only Douglas county’s Covid problem, but the entire worlds pandemic, since he seems to believe Covid is all the commissioners fault.

FormerDemocrat

👍👍👍[thumbup]

mworden

Is it weird to anyone else that a candidate for office in a county that's 94% white and has only a handful of trangender people would make critical race theory and trangenderism an important part of his platform. And he wants a county to run a school district?

Is it possible that we'll get candidates worse than what we already have?

FedUp

You and Mikey seem to be experts on just about everything! Why don't you both run? It seems by your comments that you don't think the commissioners do ANYTHING right!

mworden

Well, you know, FedUp, if you'd ever really read my comments you'd know that I've complimented both Chris Boice and Tim Freeman for some of their activities in the past year. Other people got mad at me for that, but I believe in being fair. I also criticize them, sometimes harshly. Which is my right as a citizen.

It's really silly for you and dljones to keep telling people who criticize the commissioners to run against them. That's like a school yard bully shouting "put up or shut up" in order to intimidate others into silence.

I was never impressed by bullies. I've also read the constitution. We all have the right to criticize public officials, but there's not a single word in there about critics having to run against those they criticize.

But that wasn't my question in my other post. Don't you think it's weird -- I mean, really really weird -- that a candidate would make CRT and trangenderism a big part of his platform here, where almost everyone is white and only a few are transgender? What kind of priority is that? It sounds like people are definitely afraid of the boogeyman.

FedUp

I don't think it's weird at all that parents should have a say on what is being taught to THEIR children in school!! I also don't think it's weird that if they aren't satisfied with the education a school is providing to have the right to take state funds to seek other educational options.

dljones54

CitizenJoe and Mike....here is your opportunity. You two are always criticizing our county leaders so step up and challenge the incumbents.

FedUp

They are just complainers, NOT problem solvers!

alycem

Others need to jump in this race as well. We desperately need new leadership in this county as Mr. Black alludes to in his statements.

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