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Filed away

Pigs must be flying, and it must be as cool in Hades as it was yesterday in the Northwest. You got it: Your scribe has become a candidate for office.

Do not expect that anything about this site or any other Ridenbaugh Press activities will change as a consequence. (Possibly, maybe, an iota more sympathy for those who put their names on the line …) None of what follows in this post is of any broad Northwest significance; but we thought it should be noted here by way of full disclosure.

What we’re talking about: A seat (the office is called “director”), nonpartisan and unpaid, on a seven-member local board governing a district that doesn’t exist. Yet.

Our city of residence, Carlton, Oregon, population 1,500 or so, has a volunteer fire department, managed by a part-time and paid (and quite professional) chief. Two things about it are a mess. One is the governance structure, which combines in-city coverage run by the city of Carlton with coverage in an unincorporated rural area governed by its own appointive board. The other mess is inadequate building and equipment; the fire station is not much more than a single good ground shake from serious damage, possibly human injury. The need to address both concerns is broadly acknowledged and accepted locally.

Three local issues are planned for the November general election ballot. One would establish a single new district covering the city and rural area; another would finance the district’s improvements; and the third would elect seven members to a new district governing board (taking office only if the other two pass). I helped out a bit with the petition drive to get these items on the ballot. Midday Monday, I got the word from people at city hall that only three candidates had filed for the board seats, and the deadline for filing was Tuesday afternoon – would I add my name? I agreed.

After that came the rush: By 5 p.m. Tuesday, 10 candidates filed for the seven seats. My analysis of this election is that (a) the district probably will be created, this based on the very positive reaction locally to the petition campaign; and (b) that my odds of joining the new board are less than even, partly because I’m a good deal newer to town than most of the other contenders. The district should be well served regardless, since some solid community people wound dominating the filings.

We’ve watched politics for three decades now, from almost every angle – except that of candidate. So something may be learned from the experience. We’ll keep you apprised.

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