Commissioner squeaks by challenger in Oregon primary

Larry Givens and Bill Hansell have retained their positions in Umatilla County.

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One of two Umatilla County commissioner races went to the wire Tuesday during Oregon's primary election.

In the Position 2 commissioner race, incumbent Larry Givens squeezed by challenger Glen Diehl by 146 votes, according to preliminary returns. Givens had 5,625 votes or 51 percent to Diehl's 5,479 votes, or 49 percent.

"It's a win, we'll take it," Givens said today.

In the Position 1 commissioner race, incumbent Bill Hansell defeated challenger Michael Cannon. Hansell had 6,543 votes, or 59 percent, to Cannon's 4,481 votes, or 41 percent.

Although the Position 2 race was tight, the finish will not trigger an automatic recount, said Kathy Allen of the Umatilla County Elections Office. A recount would be required if the difference in vote totals between candidates was one-fifth of one percent. "So that would be only one to two votes," she said.

Election workers have 20 days to certify the vote totals, although the process will probably be done sooner than that, Allen said.

Because Givens and Hansell received more than 50 percent of the votes in their primaries, they will be declared winners of the seats.

Givens was elected in 2006 to the Position 2 seat on the three-member county commission. Hansell has held the Position 1 seat since 1983. The Position 3 seat held by Commissioner Dennis Doherty is not up for election until 2012.

There were no surprises in the three uncontested races for Milton-Freewater City Council seats. Orrin Lyon received 136 votes for the Ward 1 seat, Steve Irving received 583 votes for the at-large Position 2 seat and Edwin E. Chesnut received 595 votes for the at-large Position 3 seat.

A ballot measure to create a joint radio and data district for Umatilla and Morrow counties to operate public safety radio systems was approved by voters in both counties, but another measure to set a permanent tax rate limit for the district failed.

Ballot Measure 30-83 received a combined total of 6,552 -- 53 percent -- to 5,736 -- 47 percent.

In Umatilla County, the measure passed 5,280 to 4,744. Morrow County voters approved the measure 1,272 to 992.

A companion measure to set a permanent tax rate limit for the radio and data district had failed, according to preliminary results. The measure would have capped the property tax rate for the radio district at 17 cents per $1,000 of valuation, or $17 per year for a $100,000 home.

The measure received 5,713 yes votes, or 47 percent, compared to 6,376 no votes, or 53 percent. Umatilla voters cast 4,581 yes votes against 5,279 no votes while Morrow County voters cast 1,132 yes votes against 1,097 no votes.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.



Vote totals

Umatilla County commissioner Position 1

Michael Cannon 4,481 41 percent

Bill Hansell 6,543 59 percent

Umatilla County commisioner Position 2

Larry Givens 5,626 51 percent

Glen Diehl 5,479 49 percent

Milton-Freewater City Council

Councilor Ward 1: Orrin Lyon -- 136

Councilor at-large Position 2: Steve Irving -- 583

Councilor at-large Position 3: Edwin E. Chestnut -- 595

Measure 30-83

(Formation of Umatilla-Morrow Radio Data District)

Yes -- 6552

No -- 5736

Measure 30-84

(Set permanent tax rate for radio district)

Yes -- 5713

No -- 6376

(Note: Totals for Measures 30-83 and 30-84 compiled of votes from both Morrow and Umatilla counties)

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