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2023 Special Election Voting Guide: Deschutes County - May 16, 2023

2023 Special Election Voting Guide: Deschutes County - May 16, 2023

Who to vote for in the May 16, 2023 Special Election in Oregon, Deschutes County, Bend, La Pine, Redmond, and Sisters.

Laura Camacho
Laura Camacho

Welcome, voter!

It is our privilege and responsibility as Oregonians and US citizens to vote all the way down the ballot in every election. When you demonstrate your engagement, you inspire others to participate!

I do this work for you and nothing makes me happier than to know it helped you fill out your ballot thoughtfully and intentionally. Thank you so much for reading and voting! β€Œ

This is a living document - until election day, as I received feedback and gain knowledge, I will add it to the guide. If I drastically change my position or candidate choice, I will note it with the edit date.


My vote recommendations are based on my own research and do not represent any entity's opinions but my own. I vote progressive/liberal/democrat. When other factors are equal, I favor the candidate that is the least cis/hetero/male/white/old; who is aware of, and working on, their own implicit biases; and who is committed to improving equity, accessibility, and inclusivity within their jurisdiction. (Why this isn't racist.)

I will absolutely never vote for a Republican again. The GOP has given itself over to violence and lies and anyone who is still willing to call themselves a Republican, no matter now they frame themselves as "different," is complicit in the destruction of our democracy. The Republican party is corrupt to its very core and there will be no rehabilitation from within its ranks.

I'm sorry for those people of integrity whose identity has been Republican, but it is way past time to renounce your party.

True patriots and conservatives with any integrity must not align themselves with the hateful, anti-democratic rhetoric of the Right. If this statement bothers you, close the tab and move along; I don't want to hear from you about it.

Anywho! I've included summaries of why I'm voting the way I am, and links to more information on candidates, when available, in case you want to be an informed voter. I'm open only to discussion based on actual facts, that respects the work I've done here already. If you disagree with me philosophically to begin with, my guess is that it's going to be a waste of both our time to discuss. But if you think I've erred within my own set of values, I would appreciate your input!

Pay me for my work

What started out as a favor to friends (to keep them from randomly filling in bubbles on their ballots!) has turned into a significant piece of my community service. My voting guides will always be free to use and share, but they've never been free to make. The guide I've written for you here represents at least 35 billable hours of my time, researching, info-gathering, and writing. If this guide helped you fill out your ballot and you can afford to, you can pay me for my work:, Cashapp: $laurajoycamacho or Venmo: @laurajoycamacho.

Please feel free to share this Voting Guide with your friends and on social media, as widely as you can. If you choose to quote any part of it publicly, you must credit my work and link back to the original. β€Œ

Teal background with black and white lettering. From the top, "Laura's Voting Guide: Deschutes County Special Election, May 16, 2023." Below that and to the left, there's a speech bubble coming from out of the left side of the frame saying, "Please tell me how to vote!" To the right, there is a drawing of a white woman with brown hair and a black sweatshirt, showing you a ballot-type of paper with checkboxes next to star ratings. The top box next to its 5-star rating is checked. Although there are no facial feature details, the overall effect of the woman is a smiley helpfulness with a slightly know-it-all quirk of the shoulder. At the very bottom, there is a link to

Now Vote!

I'm using the Voter's Pamphlet that you can find here. Your ballot was mailed to you on April 26. If you think it has gotten lost in the mail, or it is damaged in any way, contact your county elections office and they'll help you out.

YOUR VOTE IS YOURS. If you are unhoused, you can still vote. If you are a student here, you can still vote. If you need disability services, they are available. If you feel threatened or manipulated to vote a particular way by someone, or if you feel unsafe in any way right now, there are so many people available to help you.

Keep in mind that not everything I cover here will be on your ballot; your ballot only allows you to vote for the measures and candidates in your particular area of Deschutes county, plus the Oregon-wide candidates and measures.

Your ballot must be postmarked on Election Day – May 16 – and received within 7 days, to be counted (but please fill it out and mail it ASAP!). Or you can drop your ballot at any of the secure ballot drop boxes throughout our county, beginning on April 28.

Don't want to read a billion words and trust my opinion? I'm flattered! Have at it:

Measure 9-157: Yes

Measure 9-158: Yes

Measure 9-159: Yes

Measure 9-160: Yes

Measure 9-161: Yes

Central Oregon Community College Director, Zone 5: Erin Merz

Central Oregon Community College Director, Zone 6: Jim Porter

Central Oregon Community College District Director, Zone 7: Erin Foote Morgan

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 3: Cameron Fischer

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 5: Amy Tatom

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 6: Melissa Barnes Dholakia

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 7: Kina Chadwick

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 1: Write in Stephanie Hunter!

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 3: Amanda Page

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 4: Brad Porterfield

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 5: Liz Goodrich

Sisters School District 6 Director, Position 3: Jeff Smith

Sisters School District 6 Director, Position 4: Asa Sarver

La Pine Rural Fire Protection District Director, Position 5: Troy Waddell

All Other Fire District Director Positions: No Vote

Bend Metro Park and Recreation District Director, Position 1: Donna Owens

Bend Metro Park and Recreation District Director, Position 2: Jodie Barram

La Pine Park and Recreation District Directors: No Vote

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District Director, Position 4: David Rouse

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District Director, Position 5: Lena Berry

Sisters Park and Recreation District Director Positions: No Vote

Deschutes Public Library District Director, Zone 1: Cynthia Claridge

Deschutes Public Library District Director, Zone 4: Marisa Hossick

What's that? You want long-winded dissertations on every voting decision I'm making? Let's go. I have 5,249 words for ya!

Measure 9-157 - La Pine Rural Fire Protection District five-year operating levy for hiring fire/emergency medical staff: Yes

La Pine hasn't had an increase for fire spending since 1998 and its population is growing at around 2% per year. Here are the most compelling reasons to vote for funding to hire more staff, straight from the voters pamphlet:

  • Emergency calls have increased 56% over the past decade.
  • Paramedic transports to the hospital in Bend β€” with take fire/EMS crews out of the District for more than 2 hours β€” have doubled in the past 3 years.
  • In 2022, the District responded over 600 times to 2 or more concurrent emergency calls.
  • In 183 cases, there were no crews available within the District to respond to emergency calls.

Measure 9-158 - Five-year local option levy for fire and emergency medical services in City of Bend: Yes

Our current levy expires in June of 2024, and this is an attempt to continue (and increase) funding for our growing area for the next 10 years.

Measure 9-159 - Five-year local option levy for fire-emergency medical services in Deschutes County : Yes

This is basically the same thing as 9-158, but for the county at large, rather than the City of Bend.

Measure 9-160 - Renew 5-year levy to maintain recreation programs and facilities for Sisters Park & Recreation District: Yes

Yeah, of course you want to maintain funding for Parks & Rec.

Measure 9-161 - Five-year local option levy renewal for Sisters school district operations: Yes

This funding equates to approximately 16 teachers and support staff or 21 school days. If it doesn't pass, programs will get cut and teachers will be even more overburdened. Don't be a jerk!

Central Oregon Community College Director, Zone 5: Erin Merz

I think both candidates are perfectly adequate for the job. They both seem to hold similar values and goals for their work on the COCC board.

My vote is for Erin Merz because she is younger and, because of her work, more in tune with current student social issues and struggles. Merz also endorsed by past and present board members, while her opponent is only endorsed by the Deschutes Democrats – of which she is the secretary (just a slight nepotistic, yeah?).

Merz is currently the Director of Marketing & Communications for Cascades Academy, and previously a senior marketing administrator and instructor at Portland State University. She is conversant on issues of DE&I, an advocate for affordable student and workforce housing.

You can watch Merz's candidate interview with The Bulletin, here.

You can watch Berry's candidate interview with The Bulletin, here.

Central Oregon Community College Director, Zone 6: Jim Porter

There are 4 older white dudes running for this position. Right off the bat, I eliminated Michael Sipe - please do not let this huckster get his foot in the door of public office in this town! He is endorsed by the Deschutes Republicans, which was recently taken over by People's Rights extremists, and the "anti-woke" Deschutes Citizens for Law & Order.

The other two – Kevin Knight and David E Price – are fairly indistinguishable from each other. Both retired, both with experience in leadership (Price in the military and Knight in the airline industry). I didn't find anything particularly objectionable or compelling about their interviews with the Bulletin (you can see Knight's here, and Price's here).

Jim Porter, on the other hand, is absolutely passionate about COCC. He and his entire family have degrees from COCC, and he has an existing relationship as a former lecturer and his long career in local law enforcement. His interview with the Bulletin is head and shoulders above all the other candidates'.

Also, Porter is a truly good man who truly loves Central Oregon. He has been deeply involved in our community for decades, not only as former Chief of Police, but as a volunteer in and on the boards of many of our community aid programs – Family Kitchen, Homeless Leadership Coalition, Central Oregon Villages, etc. Porter brings an energy and connection to this position that the board will be lucky to have.

Maureen Radon is apparently also running, despite not having a statement in the Voters Pamphlet. I watched her interview with the Bulletin and was left pretty luke warm. It sounds like she basically just threw her name in the hat on a whim when it didn't look like anyone else was running for the position, and hasn't put any effort in since (or bowed out now that there are 4 other contenders!). She doesn't seem like she knows too much about COCC and has been too busy to do any deep dives into issues that COCC faces. I'm disappointed; I think she would be an asset in a position she is passionate about, but she's just not bringing the effort I want to see.

Central Oregon Community College District Director, Zone 7: Erin Foote Morgan

I'm so excited to see Morgan's name here! She's done great work in our community at the Bulletin and Source Weekly, Family Access Network, and as executive director of Bend 2030. She's super well connected and respected in the community and her entire professional life centers around community investment and civic engagement. She's running unopposed and will make a great COCC board member.

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 3: Cameron Fischer

Fischer has an impressive resume in education, including a master’s degree in Education and a doctorate in Educational Leadership with an Equity Concentration. She's also an active volunteer in the Bend community, which has been her home for 18 years.

I appreciate that Fischer is willing to criticize the current board – all of whom are endorsing her – for how the new grading system is being rolled out. And I loved what she had to say about the difficulties in the restorative justice approaches in our schools, and how they need to be improved and supported.

Fischer is a parent of two high schoolers and clearly values teens as actualized human beings. She has a willingness to respect kids and listen to them. That's a vanishingly rare quality in leaders, and one I want to especially see when it comes to K-12 education!

She and her cat had a great Bulletin interview. ;)

Fischer's opponent is Chris Strengberg, who has what sounds like a pretty unique life story and who didn't proof read his campaign signage. He's fluent on current educational issues – both as a parent (of now-college students; he's 40) and as a student (he's getting his second masters, in education, at George Fox; his first is from Liberty University). His biggest downfall is that he's registered Republican and endorsed by right wing radical groups who want to destroy public education. I can't tell by any of his statements that he actually agrees with their politics, so either he's completely ignorant or very sneaky. Either way, that's a huge red flag for me! You can watch his Bulletin interview here.

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 5: Amy Tatom

Amy Tatom is running to retain her seat and she deserves to keep it. She and the rest of the school board that shepherded us through the beginnings of the pandemic did an incredible job during a nearly impossible time.

For people whose major complaint about our school board being pandemic lockdown: Ours was the first major school district in Oregon to be able to open after lockdown, because of the tireless efforts of our board to meet and exceed mitigation requirements by the state. I'm tired of that whining; it needs to stop.

Tatom is a healthcare worker with a trauma-informed approach to bringing our students back up to standards. She's pro-play (because she's evidence-based!), pro-teacher, and pro-public health and safety. I really like the way she's campaigning this year and I really hope she wins.

Tatom's opponent, Sherrie Grieef, just did a meet and greet at Kevista. That tells me all I need to know about why I won't be voting for her. Kevista has positioned itself as the alt-right gathering place in Bend and any candidate who wants the right wing vote knows that's their hotspot. But, I did my due diligence and read through all of Grieef's website and social media. I wasn't surprised.

She's being very clever not to make any substantive statements about her beliefs. It's all just allusions and implications; if you didn't know what to look for, you might be taken in by her 20 years in child advocacy and hippie-librarian look.

The biggest buzzword is, of course, "Parental Rights," made popular by Moms for Liberty and other political entities and interest groups. They say it's a "parent's right" to force the tax-payer funded public school system to cater to their white, cis-heteronormative supremacy or risk being defunded.

Defunding public education (not "parents' rights" or the wellbeing of school children) is the ultimate goal behind all of this, and has been spearheaded by conservatives, using racist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric for decades. Their work to ban inclusive, evidence-based education and to terrorize marginalized students is evil. Sherrie Grieef might be a nice enough person and may have done great child advocacy work in her career, but the groups she is aligning herself with in her campaign are fascists and must not be allowed positions of power.

Grieef's Bulletin interview is here. Tatom's is here.

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 6: Melissa Barnes Dholakia

Ditto as above. Barnes Dholakia is the incumbent and her opponent – Chet Wamboldt – Β is the "Parental Rights" candidate with zero substantive information.

Wamboldt went to the trouble of making a website, but says basically nothing on it – just the few key phrases that tells the Parental Rights people he's their guy. Furthermore, the deplorable Deschutes Citizens for Law and Order endorsed him and are contributors to his campaign. So did Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights.

Barnes Dholakia, on the other hand, has probably the most thorough and thoughtful candidacy website I've ever seen for a school board candidate! She's been part of the phenomenal board that's guided us through the pandemic and has weathered a lot of hate throughout her tenure.

You can watch Barnes Dholakia's Bulletin interview here. It doesn't look like Wamboldt bothered to do one.

Administrative School District #1 Director, Zone 7: Kina Chadwick

Chadwick is the appointed incumbent and deserves to stay there. They have the support of the rest of the board and an impressive array of endorsements from all over the community.

Their values statement is clear and strong with concrete, evidence-based ideas that will actually improve the district. I love their emphasis on bringing more diversity to the educators and staff of our schools. My kids are biracial and rarely have had a teacher with a similar shared experience.

Chadwick is a huge advocate for mental, physical, and emotional wellness and wants to prioritize addressing trauma and emotional regulation as a way to improve student outcomes and supporting teachers. This is evidence-based care and the only way forward if we want our students to succeed and our teachers to thrive in this pandemic-addled world.

Chadwick has a Bulletin interview, but I encourage you to listen to their interview on the Radical Songbook podcast, where they get to speak more passionately about key issues.

Chadwick is opposed by Nicole Fitch, Elizabeth Justema, and Rod Hanson.

Nicole Fitch says in her Bulletin interview that some constituents told her that the current board is "censoring parents" but admits she didn't bother to investigate those claims for veracity. Weird flex. I don't really want a school board member who is so easily swayed by hearsay and who is willing to go to battle on mere gossip.

Fitch wants to do all the things all the other board members are already doing, but makes it sound like she's the first person to suggest these things be done (I find it hilarious that she's endorsed and financially supported by Chris Piper, the unofficial king of this behavior in Bend). Fitch's other big donors/endorsers are the Deschutes Citizens for Law & Order, local realtor Danielle Snow, and Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights.

Elizabeth Justema is a recent former Bend-La Pine teacher running as a "moderate, unaffiliated candidate" (while being highly affiliated financially with the GOP). A "moderate, unaffiliated candidate" for school board is how Cheri Helt started her political career, and she has since showed her true colors as a MAGA-adjacent Republican. I get the exact same vibes from Justema.

Justema has raised an eye-popping $30,000 for her run, including $10,ooo from Hayden Homes owner, Hayden Watson, who historically gives large amounts of money to Republican candidates. She has also received funding from (Oregon GOP politician) Knute Buehler's wife. This money allows her to run a very high-visibility campaign, which many uninformed voters will use as the sole basis for their vote – name recognition is a powerful thing! You can watch her Bulletin interview here.

Rod Hanson is a retired Redmond teacher, who, in his retirement, is teaching a class on the constitution and Supreme Court at COCC. He's a union man, and seems like a sweet guy. I'm annoyed that he misgendered Kina, though. Bottom line: it really just sounds like Hanson wants to pick up this gig as an interesting retirement hobby. He signed up last minute, says he's not coming in with any real agenda and doesn't really seem to have any ideas about what to do differently than the current board. His biggest selling point for himself is that he taught for 47 years (32 in Redmond). Check out his vintage arcade games in the background of his Bulletin interview!

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 1: Write in Stephanie Hunter!

I'm going off what a well-connected Redmond friend is doing, here. Apparently Hunter didn't have the ability to run an actual campaign this year, but I endorsed her 2021 run and would love to see her on the board!

What I wrote in my 2021 endorsement: Hunter is a Behavior Professional with the Opportunity Foundation and already works with schools and families to help kids. She has an excellent skillset for interfacing with parents and schools, and has a ton of professional connections that will help get kids the support they need.

The person in the pamphlet and on your ballot is Eric Lea, the appointed incumbent who is endorsed by The Oregon Moms Union, Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists, the Deschutes Citizens for Law & Order and Oregon Right to Life PAC. He apparently hasn't raised any funding, probably because he assumes he'll win since he's the only person on the ballot for this position. Let's prove him wrong!

Lea's claim to fame is that he helped found a charter school in Portland. During his tenure there, the reviews were pretty bad; make of that what you will.

In a recent board meeting, Lea decided that it's impossible that a 9-person committee could unanimously decide to retain a book, so therefore there's "no diversity of thought" and "the system failed," since they all agreed it was a harmless children's book (it is).

For one thing, the 9-person committee was barely scraped together from the very few people who applied to be a part of it (page 16 of this Board work session shows the whole committee building process, and here's the district policies for vetting materials).

It seems to me that not as many people in Redmond are interested in banning books as Lea would like. You can watch him complain about this starting at 1:45 of this video of the April 12 Board meeting.

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 3: Amanda Page

Amanda Page is an Oregon native who grew up in Chiloquin and has lived in Redmond since 2016. She's an active member of her Klamath Tribe, serving on their health initiative and (previously) their education board. She currently works for Life Flight as a paramedic and DEI advisor.

I really appreciate her emphasis on teaching basic life skills and her advocacy for multiple success pathways. College isn't always for everyone, and kids should have the option to train for a career (CTE), if college preparedness isn't of value for them.

Page's opponent is Wendell Otto. He comes off as a nice old guy: retired highschool counselor, track & field star, sports psychologist and coach. He's endorsed by the DCFL&O and funded in part and endorsed by the Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists. I do find it suspicious that for all he loves to talk about his vast accomplishments, he's completely ommited from all of his campaign material that he owns a Christian Homeschooling curriculum business in Redmond. Someone who is making money off of convincing/supporting Christian Homeschoolers has an enormous conflict of interest being on the public school board.

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 4: Brad Porterfield

Brad Porterfield is a single dad whose kid has been in the Redmond school district from K-12. He's very active in the Redmond community: currently the Executive Director of the Latino Community Association, chair of the Community Advisory council to the Central Oregon Health council, and co-chair of the Redmond Parks Committee.

Porterfield has had a rich variety of teaching experiences around the world and the US. He's bilingual in Spanish (20% of the student population in Redmond is Latinx), and justice-oriented – I like his thoughtful, nuanced 2021 blog post on white privilege.

Porterfield's opponent is incumbent Keri Lopez, a Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremist candidate who seems to view her role on the board as an obstructionist. She takes up a lot of air without any real substance, asking questions she already knows the answer to.

Here she is, last fall (start at 1:31), pretending she doesn't know what equity for historically marginalized groups means, and being Very Concerned that all this "equity" is going to marginalize able-bodied cis-het white kids (her main point is finally articulated Shawn Hartfield at 1:42, after none of the other members take the bait).

The fact that Lopez gets the entire board to spend over 30 minutes trying to explain to her what it means that different groups have different needs, and that equity is not, in fact, oppression for white people, is just depressing. What a total waste of time, energy, and taxpayer dollars.

Redmond School District 2J Director, Position 5: Liz Goodrich

Goodrich is the incumbent and has done remarkable work as the only progressive voice during her tenure on the board. She is informed and intelligent, and asks very thoughtful questions at the board meetings I've watched. She collaborates really well with people who probably make her want to tear her hair out!

Goodrich's opponent is John Campbell, a Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists candidate. His website was made by a People's Rights media guy, his campaign treasurer is a People's Rights member.

Campbell is from several generations of Madras farmers and a recent ag teacher/FFA coach at South Umpqua High School, but now says he just does odd jobs for friends and family and putters around on his own farm. He says he homeschools his children in Terrebonne – so he's not even meaningfully connected to the Redmond schools.

Campbell, unsurprisingly, thinks teachers should carry guns in the classroom, sex ed should wait til high school, and arts and music are a waste of time and money. He is endorsed and funded by the Deschutes Republicans, which has been taken over by B.J. Soper's People's Rights extremist group and Deschutes Citizens for Law & Order.

You can watch these candidates' interview with the Source Weekly here.

Sisters School District 6 Director, Position 3: Jeff Smith

I have endorsed Smith previously, and I'm happy to do it again. A 27-year Sisters resident, Smith has been on the school board since 1999 (only taking a 2.5 year break in 2011). Β He has a BS and Ph.D. in Β political science, and a masters degree in business administration.

Smith is really passionate about doing his best on the school board and doing his best for the students – he credits his "public service gene" for his energy and dedication. I especially appreciate his focus on student mental health and his adamance against teachers being armed.

His statement on a weird gotcha question about "gender-affirming care in school" was sweet: "We are in a new world and it's a better world. We need to be respectful of other people's perspectives. We need to be caring; we need to be kind...As people struggle with who they are and where they want to be, we ought to support them in those efforts." (FYI, the only "gender-affirming care" happening in schools is respecting kids' identities; no one is like, forcing sex changes or anything, ya weirdos.)

I found it very endearing that he gave his quite famous singer-songwriter son (Jake Smith/The White Buffalo - you maybe heard him recently on Netflix's Waco: American Apocalypse) a shoutout in his Source Weekly candidate interview, and then immediately took credit for the line he quoted from his kid's song!

Smith's opponent, Karissa Bilderback, didn't say anything super egregious during the candidate forum (other than "parental choice" for opting out of vaccination requirements), but she is endorsed by the Deschutes Republicans, which has been taken over by B.J. Soper's People's Rights extremist group. In the candidate forum, she had basically the same answers as the Democrats. Either she's a super sneaky trojan horse candidate, or she should work hard to separate herself from the extremists. A good first start would be not taking their money.

Sisters School District 6 Director, Position 4: Asa Sarver

The two democrat candidates, Hilary Saunders and Asa Sarver have very similar statements across the board. Saunders lost me on two points:

First, she is (however reluctantly) against vaccine requirements for public schools, instead leaning on the idea of "personal choice" instead.

"Personal choice" (an anti-vaxxer, Covid-denier dog whistle) is not a solution for Public Health. We've learned the bitter lesson in the last 3 years that we can't rely on personal choices leading to excellent public outcomes. The only room for personal choice, when it comes to vaccine requirements for public schooling, is to decide whether or not you're going to vaccinate your kids so they can go. The requirement for vaccinations in public school should not be removed.

Second, she claimed (at 46:22 – watch for Sarver's subtle but obvious WTF moment) that when she was going through the Sisters schools, "we didn't have bully problems," which I guaranfuckingtee you isn't true At All; she must have not experienced it or noticed it.

The reason this is a red flag for me is that it points to an ability to get comfortable in one's assumptions – that the warmth and closeness in community you're experiencing is what everyone is experiencing.

I think a true ally is always on the lookout for who is getting left out, and always assuming that there's a risk that someone is getting left behind, no matter how nice everyone is. As Sisters grows in size and diversity, this ability is going to become more and more critical. Sarver gets this; Saunders doesn't.

These two candidates are also running against Jayne Simmons, who is endorsed and funded by the Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists and has received money from the Deschutes Citizens for Law and Order. She didn't bother to show up for the candidate forum.

La Pine Rural Fire Protection District Director, Position 5: Troy Waddell

The La Pine firefighters union wants Waddell, so I figure we can give them what they want. Waddell is a La Pine resident and firefighter/paramedic for Sunriver with a long history as an Army flight medic, a paramedic, and a fire department lieutenant. He seems super qualified.

Waddell is opposed by Robin Mirrasoul. Here's what I gleaned from her public Facebook posts: She is a Very Christian MAGA Republican who hates Kate Brown and loves veterans and first responders. She supports Ukraine vs. Putin, and did in fact get at least one Covid vaccine. She lists her qualifications as a business person and long-time volunteer EMT and chaplain in the La Pine Rural Fire Protection district. She's got the endorsement from Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists.

All Other Fire District Director Positions: No Vote

All these guys are running unopposed. Fill them out or don't; they'll be elected regardless!

Addendum on BPRD candidates - read before you vote

A couple of my local YIMBY pals brought this to my attention and I'd be remiss to not bring it to yours. I'll just quote the inimitable Bringer of City Council Meeting notes, Tailor Glad (give him money - subscribe!):

Did you know that our School Board and BPRD have the power to decide if the City is allowed to give tax incentives to high-density affordable housing projects? I didn't, until Dona Owens and Jodie Bram voted against approving the first project trying to utilize Bend's MUPTE program on Penn Avenue.

I thought I could not care about school and BPRD elections cuz Bend has a ton of people who care about our parks and children, but it turns out deciding if the City can give tax incentives to housing developments is determined by the number of housing advocates on these boards.

Both of these individuals are running unopposed, so I can't endorse an opponent. In the absence of the option to vote them out of their position, I recommend leaving this section blank as an ultimately useless, but satisfying protest.

Alternatively, feel free to write in "Tailor Glad" for giggles.

Since these candidates are running unopposed, your vote for or against them isn't of much consequence. If abundant and affordable housing in Bend is important to you, I recommend you write them each an email after they're elected, and let them know that you expect better from your representative on the board. That's certainly what I'm going to do!

Bend Metro Park and Recreation District Director, Position 1: Β Donna Owens

Owens was appointed to this position in early 2023 and wants to keep it; I don't see any reason why not, and she's running unopposed anyway. She's one of the people behind Save Worrell Park - Β the (successful!) endeavor to keep the park in front of the county buildings from becoming more parking for the courthouse. I appreciate that since saving it from destruction, she's still working to get the accessibility improvements that it needs done.

Bend Metro Park and Recreation District Director, Position 2: Jodie Barram

Barram was appointed in early 2023 is running unopposed to retain the position. She is a long-time fixture in Bend politics, having served on City Council from 2008-2014, along with other committees and commissions. She values inclusivity and environmental stewardship, and is endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

La Pine Park and Recreation District Directors: No Vote

Positions 2 and 4 are both open and unopposed, but both candidates are endorsed by the Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists..

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District Director, Position 4: David Rouse

What a great opportunity to install a civil engineer with extensive public sector experience in the Parks and Rec. Before he retired, he worked for the City of Gresham as their Environmental Services Director and was responsible for Parks masterplanning and development, capital planning, budgeting, and parks maintenance. He's currently a Senior Fellow at PSU, partnering with local governments on sustainability and energy conservation projects.

Rouse is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Zack Harmon, who isn't even getting their endorsement, because their golden boy, B.J. Soper is running against him. I think Harmon is actually kind of a moderate (as far as Republicans go, at this point) and doing a decent job, but Rouse will absolutely be the very best.

Speaking of B.J. Soper: I hate giving him any air, but it's important to reiterate that despite his attempts at normalizing his ideologies, he is an anti-democratic, far right extremist. He should not have any position of leadership in our society. I think that most decent Redmond folk understand the division he represents, and want nothing to do with him – hopefully this election demonstrates this! Y'all are going to need to fight hard for your town in the coming years, as he and his cronies try to install themselves and take over.

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District Director, Position 5: Lena Berry

Lena Berry is heavily involved in community service, as the coordinator of the Sunday Street Kitchen, 17th Street Cleanups and Streetside Cooling Shelters. One of her priorities for the position is to promote collaborations within the community, and with all her connections, she's great for the job.

Opposing Berry is the Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists' candidate, Louie Arzaga, with a freakishly militaristic sounding slogan: "To Guard and Protect Your Quality of Life." Dude, chill, it's just Parks and Rec.

Sisters Park and Recreation District Director Positions: No vote

Both candidates are endorsed by Deschutes Republicans/People's Rights extremists.

An incomplete history of the Central Library Shenanigans

Okay, before I talk about the candidates, let me give you a little back story.

Back in 2020, Deschutes county voters passed a library bond that would fund the building of a desperately needed Central Library, and the remodeling and expansion of several existing libraries in our system.

Founding library board member, Raymond Miao, was opposed to the Central Library idea from the beginning – wanting a bunch of smaller, community/satellite libraries instead – and has resorted to obstructionism to keep the Central Library from being successful.

Keep in mind, since we voted on the bond, it is actually law – the library has to fulfill its promises. All Miao's resistance does is cost us money and...I guess feed his ego? I have no idea what his motivation is, since he literally cannot have what he wants via the bond.

AND ANYWAY, all those little community libraries are only viable if there's a place that can handle all their cataloguing and circulation needs. We have to have a space that is big enough to handle the growth in our area.

The City Council has also played a role in obstructing the Central Library build. The library board purchased for $1.3mil – with cash, incurring zero debt – land off Robal Rd. across from the Cascade Village Shopping Center. When the library board asked City Council to make a land-use exception, to allow the 12-acre library plan to move forward without a master plan for the entire 40 acres of the UGB expansion it resided in, City Council said No, despite having made a very similar exception for the new school nearby, and going against both city planning staff and planning commission's advice to allow it.

Now, the Central Library is slated to begin construction way down south of town, in the new Stevens Ranch development. The site is smaller and less accessible to the rest of the county, and cost an extra $10.5 million of our dwindling bond money.

These libary board votes REALLY MATTER this year; if Raymond Miao and Tony Oliver are voted in, my guess is that the board will be hamstrung in the Central Library debacle and they will continue wasting our tax dollars indefinitely.

Deschutes Public Library District Director, Zone 1: Cynthia Claridge

Cynthia Claridge is the incumbent and has been on the board since 2018. She's a Β supporter of the Central Library, which Bend voted to have built. She's adamantly opposed to banning or restricting books – a stance we are going to need to secure on our board for at least the next few years, as book bans are the GOP's fad right now.

Claridge is running against Tony Oliver, from Redmond. Oliver's deal is that she's mad that Redmond isn't getting a new library. They're getting a "new" (very cool, remodeled) library, just not a second library, which is what she misunderstood the bond to mean. Even being corrected on that point didn't seem to register.

She's also most likely anti-Central Library, or easily swayed (which would be dangerous if Miao is also elected), as her election committee is literally called Friends of Community Libraries.

Oliver is endorsed by Patty Adair, one of our MAGA County Commissioners, and Scott Stuart, the People's Rights guy who helped take over the Deschutes GOP, and is infamous for his march in Redmond's 4th of July parade in Confederate drag.

Deschutes Public Library District Director, Zone 4: Marisa Hossick

FYI: Marisa rhymes with Lisa. :)

Marisa Hossick is the Communications Director at Deschutes River Conservancy, a parent of young children, and someone who is ready to commit to guiding the library through its next evolution.

I really liked the vision she laid out for how mobile libraries (we don't say "bookmobile" anymore, because they're so much more than that!) could be a possible alternative to community/satellite libraries around town, until we can get funding and have them built. And I loved how she explained her stance against book bans: "I believe in intellectual freedom and readers' rights – that's one of the foundations of Democracy."

Hossick is running to unseat Ray Miao who has served on the Deschutes Public Library District Board since its inception in 1998, and is basically the grandfather of every good thing the DPL offers. I'm SO sad to see him screwing up his amazing legacy in these last few years since the Central Library bond passed.

In the League of Women Voters' candidate forum, Miao pretty much stated that his main goal as a board member is to build community libraries – counter to the Central Library bond's legal requirements, and a practical impossibility at this time.

Furthermore, Miao, a registered Democrat who is (as of this publishing) endorsed by Deschutes Democrats and the Vocal Seniority, has been courting the People's Rights vote up in Redmond. He attended their April 24th Patriot Forum with Tony Oliver, and reportedly accepted their endorsement. This "win by any means" attitude is disgusting and undemocratic. Boo on him.

Deschutes Public Library District Director, Zone 5: Ann Malkin

Malkin has been on the library board since 2007. She's a total library geek and has helped bring us some very cool library programs, like "Author! Author!" and "A Novel Idea." Her experience and dedication are a huge asset to DPL! She's running unopposed, so fill in that bubble.

Okey dokey, that's your voting guide. Share it wherever you share things, and encourage all your friends to vote all the way down ballot. We have important ground we cannot afford to lose. Β πŸ’™β€‹ Β Thank you for voting!