Board of Commissioners race draws familiar foes

Election 2014

Election 2014

POLK COUNTY — Voters have a familiar choice when deciding who to select to serve on the Polk County Board of Commissioners, Position No. 2, this fall.

Incumbent Craig Pope and challenger Danny Jaffer have faced off for the post three times now, first in the 2010 general election and twice this year, first in the May primary and now in the Nov. 4 vote-by-mail general election.

Pope, a Monmouth resident, is seeking a second term to continue the work he began almost four years ago.

“It takes someone who is interested in engaging in policy debate,” he said. “I’m fascinated with it and I enjoy that level of work.”

Jaffer, an Independence resident, said he decided to throw his hat into the ring again because he believes a different perspective on the board is needed.

“I really think we need a change. We have to broaden our horizons,” Jaffer said. “The board needs a more worldly view of where we are at in this place.”

One issue the two candidates mostly agree on is the need to supplement funding for public safety in the county.

Pope is a strong supporter of that effort.

“I’m a realist with regard to the only tools we have for public safety come from the general fund, and the revenue stream to the general fund comes from property taxes,” Pope said.

Pope added that the cost of solving the problem is in the millions, not thousands, and making selective cuts in the budget or establishing new fees for service — a method he’s not in favor of anyway — will not plug the hole.

The previous levy voters declined to approve last November would have charged 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Pope said the amount of a new proposed levy will be refined through a series of meetings with county and city officials and public forums.

Jaffer’s stance on a levy is more ambivalent.

“Obviously, I would prefer we would not have to have one,” Jaffer said.

However, at least in the short term, he said the county may not have another option to fund critical services.



Danny Jaffer

Name: Danny Jaffer.

Age: 53.

Hometown: Independence.

Party affiliation: Nonpartisan position.

Position sought: Polk County Board of Commissioners, Position No. 2.

Area of representation: All of Polk County.

Current employment: Retired U.S. Navy.

Education: Central High School (1979); Oregon State University (Bachelor of Science, 1985); Graduate of U.S. Naval Aviation Officer's Candidate School (Pensacola, Fla., 1986); U.S. Navy Flight School (Designated Naval Aviator, 1987); University of Oregon School of Law (Juris Doctor of Law, 1997).

Prior government experience: Luckiamute Domestic Water Cooperative Board of Directors (2011-present); United States Navy (retired) (1986-1993 / 1999-2010; primary occupation: Naval aviator — helicopter and fixed wing pilot — and operations officer); legislative assistant, Oregon Sen. Cliff Trow (1994); intern, Oregon Senate Minority Leaders’ Office (1997).

Campaign phone: 503-838-1273.

Campaign website:

Why are you running for office? “Public service, personal involvement and in giving back to the community. I desire to make better the place we call home. I will provide something that is currently lacking in county government: teamwork, leadership and a collaborate attitude. I offer experience in leadership, collaboration, long-range planning and project accomplishment.”

What is the biggest single issue facing Polk County today? How would you address it if elected? “The budget for public safety. Public safety is one of the most critical things that county government provides. Without adequate public safety, everyone loses. Businesses, schools and roadways all require adequate public safety. Budget adjustments must be made in the short term, including targeted salary cuts, to improve the current shortfalls in the sheriff's office. I will work to provide the necessary information to constituents so that all can understand the necessity of paying for restoration of public safety to the level that this county requires and deserves. A public safety levy is on the table.”


Craig Pope

Name: Craig Pope.

Age: 58.

Hometown: Monmouth (Airlie area).

Party affiliation: Nonpartisan position.

Position sought: Polk County Board of Commissioners, Position No. 2.

Area of representation: All of Polk County.

Current employment: Polk County Commissioner.

Education: High school (1974); studied mechanical engineering at Oregon State University; local fire and police academies; leadership training modules as county commissioner.

Prior government experience: Polk County Commissioner, Position No. 2 (2011-present); Polk County Fire District No. 1 Board (2003-2007); Luckiamute Domestic Water Cooperative Board (2005-2011); Polk County Committee for Citizen Involvement (commissioner appointed) (1998-2004).

Campaign phone: 503-838-6444.

Campaign website:

Why are you running for office? “I am running for re-election so that I can continue the rewarding, but challenging work as a county commissioner. I have been successful at finding my place in many policy arenas that affect my constituents and I play a significant role in shaping public policies.”

What is the biggest single issue facing Polk County today? How would you address it if elected? “Polk County, like the other 17 O&C timber counties (in Oregon), has experienced a loss of federal dollars that were a significant portion of our general fund. Those cuts, along with the loss of taxable values in property since the 2008 recession, have left a hole that is difficult to fill. Though I continue to work hard with state and federal legislators to restore some level of funding that should be contributed by the government lands we cannot tax, I am part of a board that acknowledges a responsibility to put local funding measure before the voters than wait for tragedy.


The following are races and ballot measures that are, for the most part, Polk County specific that will appear on the Nov. 4 vote-by-mail general election ballot within the Itemizer-Observer’s coverage area. For more information concerning races and measures on your ballot, consult your county and state voters pamphlets.


Danny Jaffer

Craig Pope (i)


Robert Wolfe (i)


Brian Dalton (i)


(vote for four)

Jim Fairchild (i)

Micky L. Garus

Bill Hahn

Joe Koubek

Jackie Lawson (i)

Kenneth S. Mayer

Steve Pickering

Paul K. Trahan


Amy Houghtaling (i)

Jim Partridge

Terry Ungricht


(vote for three)

Jennifer Drill

Tony Meier

Lori Jean Sickles (i)


John McArdle (i)



Position 1

Diana Lindskog (i)

Position 2

Marilyn Morton (i)

Position 4

Thomas E. Takacs (i)


John Oberst (i)


(vote for three)

Gerry Blankenheim

Jon Carey (i)

Marshall J. Guthrie (i)

Royal Johnson



Zone 2

Melvin Chase

David Simmons (i)

Zone 3

David McKibben

Zone 4

No candidates filed

Zone 5

No candidates filed

At Large, Position 2

Frank Pender Jr. (i)

MEASURE 27-113

(New Falls City Charter)



MEASURE 27-114

(Falls City School District

Five-Year Option Levy)



MEASURE 27-115

(New Dallas Charter)



MEASURE 27-116

(Dallas School District Bond)




Glen E. Ewert

Jackie Winters (i)


David Gomberg (i)


Paul Evans

Kathy B. Goss


Wanda Davis

Mark Karnowski

Mike Nearman

Alex Polikoff



Raymond Baldwin

Marvin Sannes

Kurt Schrader (i)

Tootie Smith

Daniel K. Souza


James E. Leuenberger

Christina Jean Lugo

Jeff Merkley (i)

Mike Montchalin

Monica Wehby

(i) — incumbent

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