HERMISTON - The races for four Hermiston City Council seats are pretty much decided.

There are four candidates vying for four available seats.

The two incumbents seeking reelection are Manuel Gutierrez and Rod Hardin. Two newcomers likely to be elected are Michael Calame and Joe Harn.

Bob Irby, Hermiston's elections official, said the lack of competition is fairly common in city elections.

"We usually have to dig and scrape to get people to fill positions," he said, noting that it takes a certain kind of civic-minded person to conduct the people's business.

"It's really a personal commitment. They don't just come and go like some cities," Irby said.

Frank Harkenrider, former mayor, city councilman and longtime Hermiston booster, admitted he was surprised more candidates weren't running.

But the lack of dueling campaigns can be interpreted as a good thing.

"You'd think there would be more interest, but maybe not. Things are running pretty smoothly, no controversies," Harkenrider said.

Four of the city council's eight members represent the four wards of the city and four are at-large members who represent the city as a whole.

The at-large seats will be on the ballot in November.

Two of the incumbents decided not to pursue reelection.

Marie Baldo officially stepped down from her seat last Monday in order to apply for the director position at the Hermiston library. DuWayne White, who has served on the council since 1990, did not seek reelection.

White, 64, said he wants to retire and enjoy his free time.

"When you're on the council it's not just two meetings a month. If you're going to be earnest it takes quite a bit of time," White said.

Baldo said she would endorse any candidate who would commit to serving the community.

"I can't think of a better way to learn about your city than to serve your city," Baldo said.

White admitted being a council member can be a tough job.

"Everybody will tell you what you should have done Tuesday morning (after a council meeting), but nobody wants to make the decision Monday night."

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