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Hammond man to challenge Balensifer for mayor's post

John Washington
By Cindy Yingst, Friday, September 7, 2018

Henry Balensifer will have some competition in his race for Warrenton mayor.

Retired commercial truck driver John Washington, 54, of Hammond has filed for the post, which will be decided in the Nov. 6 election.

Balensifer, who was 23 when first elected to the City Commission in 2012, was appointed to the mayor’s post by fellow commissioners last year when then-Mayor Mark Kujala stepped down.

Washington said he first got interested in local politics when the city placed a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries and then relegated them south of Highway 101 after voters approved legalizing the drug.

“Astoria doesn’t need money for their schools. Seaside doesn’t need money for their schools,” Washington said. “But in Warrenton, the city council made it their job to say no to marijuana stores in town. … I don’t think it should have been up to the city council and mayor. It should have been put to a vote of the citizens.”

Washington, who has lived in Hammond for 18 years, has no beef with Balensifer.

“Not one,” he said. “But I see no reason to come in second place. I’ve always been an overachiever. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it all.”

Washington’s priorities include fixing the streets, making city government more transparent, setting term limits and getting Hammond residents more involved.

The filing period for elected city positions closed Tuesday.

Mayor Pro Tem Rick Newton will have no opponents for his council position.

Other items on the November ballot:

Measure 4-198: Warrenton-Hammond School District’s $38.5 million general obligation bond to purchase property, build a middle school and make safety improvements.

Measure 4-195: Clatsop County’s $20 million general obligation bond to remodel the Oregon Youth Authority facility into a jail.

Measure 4-193: The imposition of a 3 percent county tax on the retail sale of marijuana items in unincorporated county areas.

Voters in other areas of the county also have city elections to decide.

Astoria residents will vote for the mayor and two council positions. Candidates Bruce Jones, Michael “Sasha” Miller and Dulcye Taylor are running for mayor. Roger Rocka and David Drafall are running for the Ward 1 seat; Ronald Zilli and Joan Herman seek the Ward 3 seat. Voters there also will decide Astoria School District’s $70 million bond measure to improve school buildings, technology and safety.

Seaside residents have the mayor and three ward seats to decide as well as a $20 million bond measure to construct a recreation center. Incumbent Mayor Jay Barber will face John Chapman; candidates in three wards are running unopposed. They are Steve Wright, Ward 1; Tita Montero, Ward 2; and Dana Phillips, at large Ward 3-4.

Gearhart voters have two city council positions to decide. Incumbent Paulina Kockrum is running unopposed for Position 3; incumbent Kerry Smith will face off against Jack Zimmerman for the Position 1 seat.

Cannon Beach will select the mayor and two council seats. Incumbent Mayor Sam Steidel is running unopposed; two additional at-large seats will be filled by the top vote-getters between incumbent Mike Benefield, Robin Risley and Greg Swedenborg.

Residents of Clatsop County Commission District 3 (central Astoria and Lewis and Clark area): will choose between Pamela Wev or Peter Roscoe for the seat held by Lisa Clement.

Those living within the Clatsop Soil and Water Conservation District have four director seats to decide.

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