special election

The Polk County public safety levy and several local board races are on the ballot in the May 21 special district election. 

POLK COUNTY — Voters in Polk County approved a renewal of the county’s public safety levy by a wide margin.

Yes votes outweighed no votes on Measure 27-129 by 8,860 or 68 percent to 4,201 or 32 percent in election night results. It will charge voters up to 42.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on properties for the next five years.

The levy would maintain what it pays for now – 12 patrol deputies; five jail staff members; three prosecutors in the district attorney’s office; two support staff members in the DA’s office; and two juvenile detention beds. It would also add one patrol deputy in year one, and potentially another in year three or four, if needed.

Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton said the margin of victory can be credited to careful spending during the first four years of the levy and hard work supporters put in during the campaign.

“The margin of victory speaks to the hard work of very committed campaign volunteers that worked tirelessly to get the message out in a very short amount of time,” Felton said. “Most importantly, it speaks to the high amount of trust I hope I, and other members of Polk’s public safety community, have earned from the residents of Polk County.”

Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton said he believes the strong support was the result of keeping promises made in the first levy, being clear about how the money was spent, only charging taxpayers for what was needed, and engaging with the community in multiple ways.

“I think wrapping all of that together shows why this levy has the support it does from the community. It is actually quite humbling to see the support because it means we have done a good job, otherwise people wouldn’t have voted for it,” Garton said. “I am honored that the trust is there.  I don’t take this kind of trust lightly and we will continue moving forward.”

Below are the contested races for local school boards, and the Dallas Cemetery District.

Dallas School Board, Position No. 2: Incumbent Matt Posey won re-election with 2,574 votes or 62 percent.  Scott Short is in second with 1,006 votes or 24 percent and Leland Schlenker is third with 572 votes or 14 percent.

Perrydale School Board, Position No. 4:  The race is neck-and-neck, with incumbent Anna Scharf trailing with 134 votes to challenger Jenn Larson’s 138 votes. County Clerk Val Unger said there may be ballots left to run that would affect that race. If the final tally has the race within one vote, that would trigger a recount. Unger said she will run the remaining ballots on June 5.

Dallas Cemetery District, Position No. 3: Sue Olmstead took the seat with 2,098 or 64 percent in early results. Opponent John Barbour has 1,167 votes or 35 percent.

Position No. 5: Sharon “Robbie” Brand defeated Rod Watson 1,732 or 55 percent to 1,401 votes or 44 percent.

For full election results: https://www.co.polk.or.us/clerk.

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