Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, October 17, 2018, SPECIAL 2018 ELECTION EDITION, Page A12, Image 12

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Former councilor challenges incumbent in mayoral race
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.
to help see those things
“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
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
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
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-
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
• • •
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
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
Dedrick said at the time she
had gotten tired of hearing
“that’s not the way I want it”
from other councilors.
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
• • •
Registration for the
Hermiston Youth Basket-
ball Association is open
online at www.hermiston-
“It’s not about what they
want, it’s what’s best for
the whole community,” she
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
• • •
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.