With the Nov. 4 general election only two months away, about half of the open City Council seats in Seaside and Gearhart will be featured in contested races.
The last day for interested individuals to file a petition for candidacy was Aug. 26. As of the deadline, at least one person had filed to run for each open seat on the Seaside City Council and Gearhart City Council.
In Seaside, incumbent Don Larson and local residents Angela Fairless and John Dunzer are in a three-way race for mayor.
“I’m deeply involved with all the projects we’re working on in the city, and I think the continuity is very valuable,” Larson said. “And I think I’ve served the people well and would like to continue to serve the people of Seaside.”
Fairless, who is seeking election to a city government position for the first time, said she is excited about the opportunity.
“After nearly a decade of considering it, being asked by countless locals to do it and with the support of my family, I’ve decided to run for mayor, mostly because I love my home and believe I will serve our town very well,” she said.
Dunzer has run for many elected positions in Seaside and elsewhere, but this is the first time he is seeking to be mayor.
“I was a big participant in the (Seaside) visioning process, and I’d like to see a lot of those visioning results happen in the near timeframe. The biggest problem I see is that it takes too long to make things happen in Seaside,” Dunzer said.
He would like to motivate the city of Seaside to move a little quicker on implementing a cost-effective plan to get the city schools moved to a higher location and out of the tsunami inundation zone.
Local business owner Greg Boat and Seth Morrisey, vice chair of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center Commission, both are running for the position of councilor in Ward 4, Precinct 40. The position, left vacant when former councilor Stubby Lyons resigned, will carry only a two-year term.
“I think there are some changes that need to be made in this town,” said Boat, the current president of the Seaside Downtown Development Association.
He said he would like to focus on improving safety, investing in infrastructure and generating revenue without increasing taxes, among other things.
“I am running for City Council because I think it is important to volunteer and give back to my community,” said Morrisey, a native of Seaside and owner of Morrisey Video Production. “If elected, I will listen to my constituents and advocate for the issues they find most important.”
Incumbent Dana Phillips is seeking re-election to her position as the councilor for Wards 3 and 4, Precincts 38 and 40.
“I look forward to the continuing future of this community, so I just have things I wish to follow through on,” she said.
Jay Barber, who serves as the councilor for Ward 1, Precinct 37, also is seeking re-election to a second full term in that seat.
“My wife and I moved here about eight years ago from Portland, and we felt like if we were going to live here, we needed to make a contribution to the community,” he said. “... My motivation is public service. I think every citizen ought to be finding some way to volunteer for the betterment of the community.”
Incumbent Tita Montero also is seeking re-election to her position as the councilor for Ward 2, Precinct 38.
“I want to continue my commitment to serve the city of Seaside,” Montero said. “I’m excited about our Visioning 2034, and I’m really eager to continue my close involvement as a councilor in fashioning and executing Seaside’s future.”
Phillips, Barber and Montero are running uncontested.
In Gearhart, incumbent Al Carder is seeking re-election to his current seat on the Gearhart City Council representing Position 1 in Precinct 25.
“There are a lot of things going on Gearhart that I think need to be addressed, so I want to see that we take care of those things,” he said.
He will be challenged by Kerry Smith, who could not be reached for comment by press time.
Position 3 also is up for election. Incumbent Joy Sigler is not running again, but there will be a two-way race between John Duncan and Kevin Willett.
Duncan is a professional engineer and land surveyor who has lived at least partially in Gearhart for about 20 years. He said he has a lot of experience to bring to the table.
“I’m semi-retired right now, so I’ve got time, and I’ve got a lot of experience working with small communities in Oregon and Washington. ... I feel like it’s time I give back a little bit,” he said. “I’ve been on one side of the table, working as support to the elected officials, now I’d like to try being on the other side of the table. ... I’ve really fallen in love with this community.”
Willett has been familiar with the area for many years — his mother has lived in the city for 38 years. He personally has lived in Gearhart for 14 years. He is the owner of Gearhart-based KLW Enterprises Inc., which helps individuals start home-based businesses.
“There are just things that have come to light in Gearhart that the city seems to be do nothing about,” Willett said, specifically mentioning raw sewage being leaked into the ground. “... I would like to see some things changed and get involved with the community, quite frankly.”
All Seaside candidates had to turn in a petition containing at least 20 signatures from registered voters within the ward the council position represents; the signatures were approved by the Clatsop County Elections Office. Gearhart City Council positions are elected at large, but candidates also had to turn in petitions.
The last day to register to vote in time for the November general election is Oct. 14. Ballots for the election will be mailed Oct. 15 through 17. On election day, the Clatsop County Elections Office will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ballots must be delivered to an official drop site throughout the county or at the county clerk’s office, 820 Exchange St., Astoria, no later than 8 p.m. Postmarks will not be considered.
For more information, visit the county website at www.co.clatsop.or.us/page/298?deptid=2.