The voters have spoken, and they’ve chosen a new man to sit on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners. Incumbent Larry Givens of Umapine has been defeated by Athena Mayor John Shafer, who earned almost 53 percent of the unofficial tally.
Meanwhile, Commissioner George Murdock will be on the November ballot for a runoff election. Murdock won the election but failed to get 50 percent or more of the vote, pulling in 45.96 percent. He will face the second-place candidate Richard Pullen who was favored by 30.23 percent. Challenger Thomas Bailor earned 23.71 percent.
Voters in both Umatilla and Morrow counties turned down the proposal that the OSU Extension Service form its own taxing district. The “no” votes totaled 63.91 percent in Umatilla County and 53.58 percent in Morrow County.
Rob Collins was chosen in both counties to replace retiring Sixth Circuit Court Judge Lynn Hampton over Michael Breiling. He gained 60.98 percent of the Morrow County votes and 61.17 percent of the Umatilla County vote at last count.
In Morrow County, Don Russell got almost 70 percent of the vote over Raymond Akers for county commissioner in the only contested race.
In the contested Pendleton City Council race for the at-large position, Jake Cambier won over Rex Morehouse, getting just over 64 percent of the vote. For Ward 1, Carole Innes collected 303 votes, to be declared the winner. Chuck LaValle gained 205 votes and David Chorazy picked up 75 votes.
In Hermiston, the race for the Hermiston City Council seat for Ward I will probably be decided in a November election. Mark Gomolski picked up 549 votes, Lori Davis got 500 and Jackie Linton picked up 485. In Ward II, Roy Barron won with almost 55 percent over challenger Shean Fitzgerald. Jackie Myers gained more than 56 percent of the vote in Ward III over Kyran Miller. Douglas Smith won more than 62 percent of the vote over Michael Engelbrecht.
Milton-Freewater’s local option tax to upgrade parks and facilities like the aquatic center got the thumbs-up from voters, approved with 54.49 percent. That means $100,000 a year for five years will be earmarked for those improvements.