By Dora Totoian • Of The News-Register • 

Hill wins second term as McMinnville's mayor

Marcus Larson/News-Register##Scott Hill takes in the moment as friends and family celebrate the initial returns on Election night, showing the mayor with a large lead over challenger Heidi Parker.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Scott Hill takes in the moment as friends and family celebrate the initial returns on Election night, showing the mayor with a large lead over challenger Heidi Parker.

[Updated Wednesday, 2:30 a.m.]

Scott Hill has won a second term as McMinnville's mayor.

Unofficial results show the incumbent with 8,817 votes, or 59.93%, to contender Heidi Parker's 5,828 votes, or 39.61%.

Hill, 68, has been mayor since January 2017 and campaigned on a re-election platform emphasizing his years of service to the city, including 26 years on the budget committee, 12 years as a councilor and the last four as mayor. He moved to McMinnville from Portland in 1992 to continue his career with KeyBank. 

In his bid for a second term, he promised to continue the same style of leadership, preserve McMinnville’s livability and make progress on the city’s strategic plan. His campaign slogan, “There’s no shortcut for experience,” both pointed to his years with the city and criticized his opponent, who has not served on a city board or committee. 

"I’m elated to have the opportunity to serve for four more years and finish the projects and direction that we’re on right now," Hill told the News-Register Tuesday night from a small gathering with family and friends. "It shows me that when you’re doing the right things and you’re connected with the right people, the message is being heard."

In a post to Facebook, Parker congratulated Hill for a well fought campaign and thanked her supporters.

"As this was my first political endeavor and did not know what to expect. This has been a tough race and Mayor Hill should be congratulated on all his hard work. We need to support him in his role as mayor and support him the following days," she wrote. "I understand the Mayor Hill faces much work in the coming months. With everything that 2020 has brought, this has been a tough year. I feel for all that he and the other city leaders face in the coming months."

Parker, 48, moved to McMinnville in 2016 from California. Many constituents know her through the Facebook group she founded, Action in Mac (AIM), where its nearly 3,000 members share community news, events and opinions. Parker, who worked as a nurse and once ran an eBay shop, has also volunteered with organizations like the See Ya Later Foundation and Homeward Bound Pets. 

In a September candidate forum, Parker shared she was in part spurred to run because of what she characterized as unhoused people negatively impacting businesses and other people. Some in the community have criticized Parker for what they describe as harsh stances toward those experiencing homelessness.  

Parker has presented her approach as a fresh perspective on the council and frequently criticized what she saw as a disconnect between the council and residents. Her campaign slogan, “Your voice for action,” drew a contrast between her and Hill, who she said has not reached out to residents enough and shown adequate consideration to those who come before the council with concerns. 

 

The two candidates shared similarities — both are registered Republicans and both attended a pro-law enforcement “Back the Blue” rally in August — but they diverged on issues such as homelessness and expanding the urban growth boundary. 

Parker said in a Linfield candidate forum last month that she would take a “tough love approach” toward those experiencing homelessness, which she said means offering support to those who want it. At the same forum, Hill noted that funding for mental health services stems from the county, not the city, and at the September forum said the city's ordinance allowing people to spend the night in cars on some public property was a step in the right direction. 

Hill is in favor of expanding the urban growth boundary and received a $2,500 donation from Oregonians for Affordable Housing, the political action committee of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland. At the forum, Parker expressed concern that the expansion of the boundary may lead to tract-style housing and advocated for expanding it “where it makes sense,” using currently available land, and revitalizing older homes. 

Social media took on renewed importance during a pandemic that made in-person campaigning more difficult. Parker displayed her social media adeptness from her time moderating AIM. She frequently updated her campaign Facebook page and shared campaign content and information about local happenings in Facebook groups. Hill created a campaign Facebook page in August, several months into the campaign season. 

Local Facebook groups in particular served as forums for supporters of both candidates to make their cases. 

Campaign finance complaints against Hill also accompanied the spirited social media discussion. Two complaints were filed against him for violating part of the city’s new campaign finance ordinance. In part, the ordinance requires candidates to disclose PAC contributions greater than $1,000 and its top supporters on print campaign materials within 10 days and for audio/video transmissions within five days of the donation. 

One of the complaints, filed by James Goings, a member of Parker’s campaign team, alleged that several of Hill’s campaign materials violated the city’s ordinance. City finance director Jennifer Cuellar said in a report posted last Thursday that Hill did not violate the ordinance. The determination of the second complaint is pending. 

The two candidates also raised record amounts in campaign contributions. Parker outraised Hill in the campaign’s early months, but Hill in the end received $10,468 in cash and in-kind contributions to Parker’s $9,432. However, Parker spent about $9,400 of her own money, filed with the state as personal expenditures for reimbursement. Hill’s filings show $1,137.67 of personal contributions.

They received endorsements and/or donations from a variety of local PACs and individuals, including local elected officials. 

Hill’s largest contribution of $2,500 came from the Home Builders Association. Several individual contributions came from longtime residents who have volunteered for city positions, including from former mayor Ed Gormley and public arts advocate Steven Rupp. 

Parker was endorsed by the McMinnville Professional Firefighters union Local 3099 and the pro-business PAC Yamhill First that has supported more conservative candidates in this election cycle. She also received contributions from County Commissioner Mary Starrett, Commissioner-elect Lindsay Berschauer and the candidate committee of state Senator Brian Boquist.

Hill said on election night he was also pleased incumbent councilors Adam Garvin and Kellie Menke, appeared to be triumphant in re-election bids.

"For me, it’s a win for the council, too. We had been making tough decisions, and people recognized that," he said. "I’m very excited and happy -- from the depths of my heart. It was a well run campaign. It took a lot of effort, and I have a greater love and appreciation for this community than ever before."

The office of mayor of McMinnville is an unpaid, nonpartisan role with a four-year term. The mayor presides over city council meetings, sets meeting agendas, votes in the case of a tie among city councilors, and serves as the liaison between the city, the business community and numerous other regional and statewide organizations. 

McMinnville also has a weak mayoral system in which policy implementation is directed by the city manager and city staff. 

Comments

DG

Congratulations, Mayor Hill!

CubFan

Congratulations Scott! Thank you for running a clean race.

LML

I am a bit disheartened to see 3 maybe 4 of the 7 people in this articles photo to NOT be wearing masks. Not a great statement.

TTT

The people have spoken and thankfully we've voted for experience and calm leadership.

Joel

This is great news for the Portland home builders who slipped Hill $2500 bucks! Now the rest of us can all look forward to lots and lots of new Beaverton style subdivisions and even more bumper to bumper traffic.

Bill B

Uh Joel. That's a no no unless of course you can prove it.

Joel

Bill B, It's part of this newsregister article that we are currently commenting on! It was also reported in this newsregister article a few days before the election. https://newsregister.com/article?articleTitle=flurry-of-campaign-finance-complaints-filed--1603827385--38513--
And we still voted him in.

Hibb

Congratulations to Mayor Hill and McMinnville for re-electing the best choice for Mac going forward. This has been one of the most contentious election cycles we have experienced in the modern era, let alone in the history of the US, and I too want to echo CubFan by thanking Mayor Hill for running a clean race even when it was not to his advantage, but is an open indicator of the quality of the man we have at the helm.

GRM

Joel. And Heidi Parker would fight off these builders ? I am strict against all these so called “Affordable Houses” But on the way to OHSU Beaverton we saw a lot of this housing there. At least most of it are looking nice. Here they are looking like cheap cigar boxes.

Hibb

GRM: While the term "affordable housing" might be a turn-off for you, there are plenty of people right here in Yamhill County that are desperate for it and we as a community need to awaken to the needs of others before we continue to put our best foot forward to build some of the housing we are seeing going up, which from a financial standpoint automatically bars low income persons. We need to watch out and tend to the needs of the vulnerable in our communities and support one another so that all have the benefits of what has made America the envy of the world.

Jean

Here is an idea being proposed in another town to try to ease their homeless situation:

https://lihi.org/2019/07/29/announcing-sand-point-cottage-community/

Another thought....this type of housing could be available to applicants with rent/ownership...contingent on the occupants helping to maintain any upkeep in their neighborhood build more of these units. It would give them a job and a place to live.

The main problem with it is that no one will want a neighborhood like this right next to them so that so we'll be right back to square one.
thoughts?