Annetta Spicer will be the new Morrow County Justice of the peace. She won 63 percent of the vote — 1,716 people voted for her and 972 voted for her opponent.

Spicer, the Heppner city attorney, ran against a former Morrow County District Attorney, Earl Woods. The county’s justice of the peace for the past 32 years, Charlotte Gray, has said she will leave her position Dec. 23. Spicer said she did not know whether the county court will appoint her to start the last week of December or have her begin Jan. 1.

The justice of the peace presides over the justice court, which handles traffic violations and other minor crimes. Although Gray successfully handled her post without a law degree, both Spicer and Woods said it was time for someone with a legal education to take over the job.

In addition to her position as a city attorney, Spicer chairs the Oregon Trail Library District Board of Directors. She has no big plans for her first days in office, she said, but she will research the feasibility of some minor changes. Jury trials in the north end of Morrow County, for example. Boardman city leaders have offered space in city hall for trials, she said, and she will look more into that possibility.

Spicer said she would also like to tweak the city ordinance violations process so the city can dispose of them faster.

Another closely-watched Morrow County election was the Boardman Rural Fire Protection District’s $11 million tax bond. It went down, preliminary results show, by 92 votes. While 281 people voted yes, 373 voted no.

The bond would have allowed the district to build a new firestation, pay off debts and implement a training program. The district would have been able to offer a fire science/ emergency medical technician program in exchange for active firefighting duty.

District board member Don Russell said he was disappointed but not shocked.

“I think it’s — money’s pretty tight right now and people are voting with their pocketbook,” he said.

Russell said the board knew that the bond’s success would be a tough row to hoe. He’s not sure if it will continue to champion the firestation/ training center idea.

“We’ll have to talk about it and find out,” he said. “I’m sure we won’t try again right away.”

It’s getting harder and harder to find volunteer firefighters, Russell said. And it’s getting harder to find employers willing to give a worker time off so he or she can respond to a fire.

“It’s a problem that we have that we’re just going to have to find a solution for,” he said. “Either that or place a moratorium on building fires between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.”

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