Challengers on path to win in Umatilla

Mayoral candidate Mary Dedrick has served on the Umatilla City Council two times for a total of 13 years.

Umatilla’s mayoral race was too close to call when results came in at 8 p.m., but Mary Dedrick had a 22 vote lead over incumbent Daren Dufloth.

The lead was extended to 46 votes by 11 p.m.

Dufloth was running for re-election for the first time since he was appointed to the mayor’s seat in March 2017. Dedrick resigned from the city council in April 2017 but said she decided to run for mayor after she was encouraged by several community members.

Dufloth said he was disappointed to see the initial results showed him behind, but he felt Umatilla would move forward and continue to do well whether he or Dedrick were at the helm. The city is already moving in a forward direction, he said, and has an excellent staff.

“I think the city is in a better place now than when I took over,” he said.

Dedrick couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night, but before election day she said she thought too many people on the city council were more focused on what they personally wanted than what the community as a whole wanted. She said that was the main reason she resigned from the council last year. She promised if elected that she would vote with the community’s best interests at heart.

She also said one of the things that inspired her to run was her new duties at Umatilla School District as the district’s homeless liaison. She said she wanted to encourage the city to do what it could to decrease homelessness in the community.

Dedrick is a volunteer coordinator at McNary Heights Elementary School and has worked for the school district for 38 years. She has served on the city council twice before, for a total of about 13 years.

Another incumbent looked likely to lose his seat on the city council.

Mark Keith had 45.7 percent of the vote for council position 1, compared to Corinne Funderburk’s 53.7 percent as of 8 p.m.

Keith and his wife Jennifer Armstrong recently opened a new wellness clinic, Encore Wellness 4 Life, in Umatilla and have other locations in the Tri-Cities area. Keith was appointed to the council in June 2017.

Funderburk is a language arts teacher at Umatilla High School who said now that her three sons are teenagers she wants to spend more time giving back to the community.

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