Two ballots are dropped off in Forest Grove in 2020. Photo: Chas Hundley

Here we go again: Voters will take to the polls on Tuesday, May 18 to vote on local school, fire, and water boards, and the window to file to run for office is open.

The window to file for office opened February 3, and closes at 5 p.m. on March 18. Candidates need to fill out a form and either pay a $10 filing fee, or gather 25 signatures to declare their candidacy, a process that the county elections office asks prospective candidates to contact them about (email address: [email protected] phone: 503-846-5800).

School board races are often quiet affairs, but with all eyes on local districts grappling with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, community engagement with school boards is at an all time high. A recent stream of a Banks School District school board meeting netted 512 views, an unheard of number pre-pandemic.  

This year, the following positions are open for boards in this newspaper’s territory.

Banks School Board positions 1, 2, and 4 are open, each for a four-year term. 

According to the Banks School District website, Norie Dimeo-Ediger currently holds position 1, and serves as board chair. In position 2 is Raymond Mott, while position 4 is currently held by Ron Frame. As of press time, no candidates had filed to run. 

The Banks Fire District board of directors will also see two seats open in the election, each for a four-year term. Position 1 is currently held by multi-elected official Matt Pihl — he also serves as an elected board member of the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District in Zone 5 — and position 3 is currently held by Kevin Henning, according to county elections archives. 

In the Forest Grove School District, which includes Forest Grove, Cornelius, Gales Creek, Dilley, Verboort and tother rural communities, positions 1, 2, and 3, all four-year terms, are open. Presently, those positions are held by Brad Bafaro, Valyrie Ingram, and Mark Everett, respectively, according to the Forest Grove School District website

Mary Whitmore, who said she is a retired teacher and Forest Grove resident in a candidate filing form, has filed to run for position 3. 

On the Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District board, two four-year seats are open, positions 1 and 3, held by Cleo Howell, a Gales Creek resident, and Terry Lewis, according to data provided by Forest Grove Fire & Rescue public information officer Dave Nemeyer. 

The Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue territory covers much of Washington County and beyond, but in this newspaper’s territory, only the community of Roy lies within the bounds of the district. Positions 1, 2 and 3 are open, and the four-year terms are currently held by Robert Wyffels, Clark Balfour, and Gordon Hovies, according to the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue website

All three have filed to run for their seats.