A12 • HERMISTONHERALD.COM WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2018 NEWS Former councilor challenges incumbent in mayoral race By JADE MCDOWELL STAFF WRITER Umatilla’s candidates for mayor are both familiar faces at city hall. Daren Dufloth is the incumbent, running to keep the seat he was appointed to after David Trott resigned as mayor in March 2017. Mary Dedrick has been on the city council twice, for a total of about 13 years. For Dufloth, running for mayor is about keep- ing momentum in the city through a period of growth and transition. He just helped hire a new city man- ager, David Stockdale, who started Oct. 15. Next on the city council’s list is hiring a new public works direc- tor. The city is undergo- ing engineering studies and construction projects as it seeks to move its utilities from a mostly residential system to one that supports data centers and other indus- trial users. A group of Port- land State University grad- uate students put together a comprehensive plan for Umatilla’s downtown that the city is starting to imple- ment, and a parks master plan has already prompted renovation of a city park in McNary Heights. Dufloth would like to help see those things through. “We’ve started a pretty big transition with the city,” he said. Dufloth was also elected to the Oregon Mayors Asso- ciation Board of Directors last week during the League of Oregon Cities’ annual STAFF PHOTO BY E.J. HARRIS Umatilla Mayor Daren Dufloth and challenger Mary Dedrick will face off in November. conference in Eugene. He said that opportunity will help his efforts to bring Umatilla onto a more prom- inent stage. “The big piece for me is for Umatilla to have a big- ger voice, to have a seat at the table,” he said. He said he has done a lot of work building stronger partnerships with other cit- ies, the county and various organizations and compa- nies — something he would like to build on if re-elected. If Dedrick beats Dufloth for mayor in November, she said one of her big- gest focuses would be look- ing at what the city can do to increase its affordable housing. She has worked for Umatilla School District for 38 years, but this year became a district liaison for homeless families, which inspired her to run for office. “It was and is a big eye- opener,” she said. “People can’t afford the rent some people are charging, and there isn’t anything. It’s all full.” Dedrick also said since she resigned from the city council in April 2017 com- munity members still come to her to discuss city issues, and some of them asked her to consider running for mayor. When Dedrick resigned, city hall was a divided Three positions open on Umatilla City Council There are three Umatilla city council positions up for election this November. One incumbent is seek- ing re-election, and is being challenged for his posi- tion. Mark Keith, who cur- rently occupies position #1, will face Corinne Funder- bunk for the first spot on the council. The other two spots are uncontested, and neither incumbent is seek- ing re-election. For posi- tion #3, longtime councilor Mel Ray will step down at the end of the term, and Leslie R. Smith is running unopposed. Josy Chavez is running unopposed for position #5. Selene Tor- res-Medrano currently occupies position #5, but is not running again. The Umatilla Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum for all council and mayoral candidates on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. The public is invited to the forum, which will be at the chamber office, 100 Cline Ave., Umatilla. BALLOT Continued from Page A1 pleted to improve livability, including the Eastern Ore- gon Trade and Event Cen- ter, the downtown festival street and new trails around town. She said the city is working on a management plan for EOTEC now and will be looking next week at the results of a public sur- vey about the venue. She said she would like to see the old Carnegie the library on Gladys Avenue turned into a museum, and sup- ports the city’s goal of com- ing up with the funding to build and manage a rec- reation center with indoor pool. She also touted the city’s financial stability and praised staff for work- ing hard and “watching the bottom dollar.” “Hermiston is in a good financial position and will remain that way,” she said. Gomolski criticized some of the projects Davis listed, stating that the city should have had a plan in place for EOTEC a long time ago. He said the festi- val street was a “showboat” and the $1.5 million could BTW Continued from Page A1 fighting with the insurance company. They have finally reached a settlement, he said, but not one that would pay to rebuild everything the club had before, up to current building codes. And once the club opened it would take months of hard work to try and re-attract custom- ers that have been “absorbed into the market” elsewhere. STAFF PHOTO BY E.J. HARRIS Challenger Mark Gomolski answers a question during the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce candidate forum as incumbent City Councilor Lori Davis looks on Oct. 10 at BMCC in Hermiston. have been better spent on updates to Main Street. He said the city needs to do more to reach out to groups such as the His- panic community and the disabled, and to repair its relationship with the cham- ber of commerce. Hermiston’s biggest challenge, he said, was a lack of workforce in fields like electrical and plumb- ing work, which slows down development of housing and other proj- ects. Gomolski is currently a member of the Herm- “I did that once when I was 25 and that was fine, but I’m too old to take on that challenge again,” he said. Instead, Watkinds is con- ducting required yearly inspections of fire extin- guishers through Fire Pro, a local business he has begun with former court club man- ager Mary Marsing. For more information about the business, or to sched- ule an appointment, call 541-567-9451. • • • iston School Board, and said the city needed to do what it could to encourage more students to go into the trades and to help the school district build new schools or expand them. “I would like to see the schools better helped with bond issues,” he said. He has lived in Hermis- ton for the past five years, and said he loves the city and believes he will pro- vide leadership beyond showing up at meetings to vote on what the city man- ager wants. Sen. Ron Wyden will hold a town hall in Hermis- ton Tuesday. He plans to hold five town halls at schools in cen- tral and Eastern Oregon counties the week of Oct. 22-24, including Tuesday’s at Hermiston High School, 600 S. First St., at 9:20 a.m. • • • Fun Fashions Boutique is hosting a Fall Fashion Show. The free event is Sun- day at 2 p.m. at 165 W. Coe place. Then-Mayor Trott had pushed the council to investigate what he felt was dishonesty on then- city manager Russ Pel- leberg’s part and the coun- cil had taken sides on the issue, ultimately taking no action. Trott resigned in pro- test, and Dedrick resigned the next month, stating in a letter that “For personal rea- sons, I feel that it is best for my well-being not (to) be involved with the city coun- cil anymore.” When asked about her resignation Wednesday, Dedrick said at the time she had gotten tired of hearing “that’s not the way I want it” from other councilors. RACE Continued from Page A1 county management and transitioning the county’s Assessment and Taxation Department into the digital age, a move he claimed dou- bled employee efficiency. As he took credit for the technological progress, he never mentioned the name of the department, nor the involvement of the county’s computer and internet tech- nology personnel. He also skipped the fact the change is ongoing. Assessment and Taxation staff is using digi- tal and paper this year. The department also did not get key software for the transi- tion until February, a cou- ple of months after Pullen quit his job. Economic development and housing came up a few times. Murdock said the county helps communities in several ways, such as the recent economic develop- ment grants to Stanfield or providing technology ser- vices to Ukiah. The county also is contributing about $2 million to help Hermis- ton with the major housing development on the town’s north end, Pullen said the county should be “shepherding” communities — working with and providing them resources and support they might lack. He said the board of commissioners made a mistake in recent years by taking on eco- nomic development itself, only to realize the need to hire someone for the job. When the position became vacant about four years ago, Commissioner Bill Elfering and then-plan- ning director Tamra Mab- bott split much of the eco- nomic development role, which led to the creation of a grant process for proj- Ave., Stanfield. Owned and operated by Kathy Baker, the boutique features trendy fashions for women and teens. Refreshments will be served and those who shop will receive a 10 percent dis- count. For more informa- tion, search Facebook or call 541-571-6388. • • • Registration for the Hermiston Youth Basket- ball Association is open online at www.hermiston- basketballclub.org, “It’s not about what they want, it’s what’s best for the whole community,” she said. Dedrick said she’s ready to take another crack at it, and if elected she will help rebuild trust in the city by voting for what is best for the community, regardless of her personal preferences or what will help a small group of people. Dufloth also spoke of rebuilding trust in the city after some tumultuous years. He said he has been focused on absolute trans- parency at city hall, which is why the city held a forum for the community to meet and question the three final- ists for city manager the week before the council made a decision. He hopes to encourage city leaders to be more approachable, and to encourage citizens to get involved not only with city-sponsored events but with new things the chamber of commerce and museum are doing as well. “I’m trying to get people involved,” he said. Dedrick also wants to get people involved, by trying to harness public influence to help bring in new busi- nesses. She said she would love to see a WinCo Foods, Costco or Fred Meyer store come to Umatilla and she thinks it would be more likely to happen if residents are writing the companies to request it. She also supports the grassroots effort by citizens to work toward getting the Army Corps of Engineers to return some of Umatil- la’s riverfront land to the city. She is particularly interested in seeing the old town site along the Colum- bia River revitalized and opened to the public in part- nership with the Confeder- ated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. “There is so much poten- tial,” she said. Dufloth is also inter- ested in opening up more recreational spaces, from the old town site to a trail the city hopes to build along the Umatilla River to Hermiston. Both city council can- didates have deep roots in Umatilla. Dedrick has lived there for more than 40 years, and has spent 38 of them working for Uma- tilla School District. She currently works at McNary Heights Elementary School as a volunteer coordinator and homeless liaison. Ded- rick served on the city coun- cil for an eight-year stint and later came back for five more. Dufloth has worked for the Department of Correc- tions for 18 years and has been a small business owner in the community for 21. He owns the Riverside Sports Bar & Lounge, which has drawn criticism from some residents for including a lounge with exotic dancers. Dufloth has also been active in Umatilla’s youth sports community, serving in coaching positions in Little League and Umatilla High School and as a past presi- dent of the Umatilla Booster Club. ects with tangible benefits, such as job creation. Mab- bott left last year, and the county board in February brought on a new economic development and tourism coordinator. Pullen also stressed the link between water and economic growth, saying Hermiston’s construction of a 1-million-gallon water tank isn’t enough. “If we can find a way to recharge the basalt aquifer that’s more of a long-term fix than building a water tank,” Pullen said. They also differed on what the state should do to help the county address mental health needs. Murdock said he is part of the group that meets each week to find a way to fund a $1.1 million expan- sion at the county jail to accommodate offenders with mental health prob- lems. He said the group has identified possible match- ing funds for the project. He reiterated the notion that the state should create a mental health program akin to the Community Justice Reinvestment Act, which allocates funds to the local level to help keep offenders out of prison. Pullen said getting state money would be an uphill battle. Oregon State Police is building its new crime lab in town, he said, and the state may not want to put more money into to another law enforcement project in the county. He advocated for a mental health crisis center that could distribute medication, but he said that would be expensive. They found the most common ground on a ques- tion about what changes they would like to see to the county charter. The county formed a committee this year to review the char- ter, and it will present find- ings in 2019. Pullen said holding primary and gen- eral election for the board of commissioners is con- fusing, and with a county this size one election would suffice. Murdock said as com- missioner he should not comment on the commit- tee’s work, but would sup- port its recommendations. However, he questioned why a commissioner can- didate who wins outright in the May primary — as John Shafer did this year — should have to wait seven months to take office. Murdock said the county is complex, and he can implement in his sec- ond term all he learned in his first. He also said he can provide stability to the board with Shafer replacing Commissioner Larry Giv- ens in January and Com- missioner Bill Elfering not seeking another term in two years. Of note, Givens has a write-in campaign to keep his job. Pullen said his decade as a county manager gives him the experience to han- dle the job from day one, while the public has been paying for Murdock’s four years of training. Murdock ignored the dart and said he has been responsible for the man- agement of the county on a daily basis. His predecessor was Bill Hansell of Athena, now state senator, who held the position for 32 years. Murdock, 76, said he does not intend to stay that long, but he would like a second term. At one point he claimed to have served as chair of the county board for three years, but Givens held that role in 2017. Ballots for the election will be mailed out Oct. 17 and must be returned by Nov. 6. The program is for boys for boys and girls in grades 3-6. Deadline for registra- tion is Oct. 31. For more information, contact Lacey Cleveland at (406) 490- 8950 or hyba.lacey@gmail. com. • • • The city of Echo recently expressed appreciation for generous donations received from several of its citizens. Those giving to the Echo Public Library included Jean Johnson (108 books and 10 DVDs) and Frankie Sewell (four books). Also, Pat & Merle Geh- rke gave $50 each to Echo Beautification and Echo Historical Projects. And, money was donated to Echo Public Art, including $50 each in memory of Penny Spike Shepherd, Carol Correa, Bea & George Luciani, Gene Berry and Charlets Berry; and $75 in memory of Velma & Marv Laughlin, and Murl & Mil- dred Berry.