Hermiston will have four contested city council races during the May election, not three.
After the filing deadline passed Tuesday night, a list provided by city hall after a public records request inadvertently left off a candidate who had turned in an application before the deadline that had not made its way to city recorder Lilly Alarcon-Strong yet.
That candidate — Roy Barron — is running for Ward 2 against Shean Fitzgerald, a “semi-retired” construction engineer and husband of current city councilor Clara Beas Fitzgerald, who has decided not to run again.
Barron moved to Hermiston in 2015 after graduating from college and has worked for the county ever since, first in the district attorney’s office and then with drug court and now with the RISE program that provides mental health resources for students in area schools. He said he likes Hermiston and is committed to staying in the community for a while, and would like to help make decisions about important issues such as the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, economic development and downtown revitalization.
“Things are getting better and better here and I want to be a part of it,” he said.
The addition of Barron means that all four races for city council this year will be competitive ones.
In Ward 1, incumbent Lori Davis is being challenged by school board member Mark Gomolski and resident Jackie Linton, who grew up in Hermiston and returned in 2012 after retiring from the post office in Federal Way, Washington. Linton started attending city council meetings two years ago after getting involved in the renovation of a park on Beech Avenue, which was renamed Greenwood Park in honor of her grandfather Greenwood Woodrow Lister, who first established the park. She said she decided to run because she found the meetings interesting and thought she could make a positive difference in the community on the council.
Gomolski previously ran for city council in 2016 and said if he wins this time he hopes that the school district or city council will be willing to change their simultaneous meeting times so that he — and other interested citizens — can attend both. Davis has been on the council since 2010.
In Ward 3, Kyran Miller is challenging incumbent Jackie Myers, who is a licensed tax preparer and was first elected to the council in 1994. Miller, a retired funeral home director who moved to Hermiston from Michigan in 2016, said he doesn’t think the councilors are doing a bad job but wanted to throw his hat in the ring to provide a small business owner perspective.
The race in Ward 4 is between incumbent Doug Smith, who was elected in 2015 and works as a general contractor after retiring from the Hermiston Police Department, and Michael Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht, when reached Wednesday, said he is running for city council because he wanted to be more involved in the community and was concerned about the mental health challenges facing youth and the opioid epidemic. Engelbrecht moved to Hermiston 12 years ago and has four children, including two still attending school in Hermiston.
Hermiston residents will get a chance to cast their vote for the councilor representing their ward in the May 15 election. For Wards 2, 3 and 4 the May election will be considered the general election and the winner will take their seat in January. Because Ward 1 has more than two candidates, the May election will be a primary and the top two vote-getters will have a runoff in November.
To find what ward you live in, visit www.hermiston.or.us/government/city-council.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.