By editorial board • 

Don’t settle for filling seat in May

Yamhill County voters approved seismic shifts in the way county board of commissioner seats are filled, first in 1996, when they opted to limit holders to three four-year terms, and then in 2000, when they chose to make the balloting non-partisan.

In both cases, they acted decisively. And in both cases, the impact has generally been positive.

Twelve years is plenty enough for a commissioner to serve as one of only three representing our highly diversified and rapidly changing county. And party allegiance should have no place in county-level politics, though it continues to wield some insidious influence below the surface.

That said, at least one impact of the non-partisan system has the potential to prove detrimental.

When only two candidates enter the ring, the race is almost certain to be decided in the primary. It won’t ever advance to the November general election.

With Oregon holding its primary so early in the year — May as opposed to August or September for more than a dozen states and June or July for most of the rest — it’s hard for candidates to get their messages across and voters to arrive at informed decisions in time.

We raise the issue because only two candidates are currently vying for the lone seat up this year — Barbara Boyer and Lindsay Berschauer. (Incumbent Rick Olson has yet to formally announce if he will run again.) And the March 10 filing deadline is looming.

Both candidates are relatively unknown to countywide voters. What’s more, Boyer appears to be tightly allied with Commissioner Casey Kulla and Berschauer with Commissioner Mary Starrett, so we run the risk of opting for surrogates of the two holdovers, without getting a chance to fully consider other options.

The county’s track record on this score is mixed, but multi-candidate fields have proven more the rule than the exception. That’s particularly true for years when an incumbent term limits out or voluntarily opts out, and/or when two seats are up instead of one.

Kathy George and Leslie Lewis both emerged victorious in four-way races, George in 2006 and Lewis in 2008. Alan Springer overcame five challengers in 2012.

The 2014 elections featured six candidates in one race, won by Stan Priomozich, and three in the other, won by Starrett. The field was nearly as crowded four years later, when Kulla emerged from a field of four to beat Primozich and Starrett again fended off a pair of challengers.

We think voters are best served by getting a chance to winnow multi-candidate fields in the May primary and choose from two well-tested challengers in the November general. That being the case, we urge other civic-minded residents to come forward and run for the seat.


Christmas has Talons

It looks like the NR sees the handwriting on the wall and are desperate to keep the fiscally conservative candidate (Berschauer) from serving on the board. Why is there no concern when the run for every office and seven different party affiliations Kris Bledsoe is running unopposed for treasurer? Why no call for additional candidates in that race? Please explain..


Gosh NR, this sure sounds like you don't think voters can make an educated decision between the two candidates running. Pretty offensive. I have seen Lindsay Berschauer at many events and have heard neighbors talking about supporting her. Boyer has also been attending events. From what I've read about both campaigns I think voters will have a very clear choice as to the kind of person they are voting for. I happen to know Timber Unity has endorsed Lindsay Berschauer and for that she will get our votes. Our working families and small businesses will be immediately harmed by new carbon taxes. Berschauer is the only candidate I've seen stand up to Salem and try to protect us. Yamhill County residents don't want the county to become more like METRO and we certainly don't need two additional county commissioners putting a strain on the budget (Boyer wants 5 commissioners instead of the current 3). Clearly the NR hasn't been paying attention.


I am personally disappointed in News Register for this piece. Specifically because someone is trying to hide behind Editorial Board in writing this piece. I would like to know WHO wrote this piece and their skin in this game.

No matter who runs, I expect the voters to be engaged, learn about those running and whether they will represent the will of the people. I have met people from both sides of the isle and have heard great things from both about Lindsay Berschauer who will represent all of Yamhill County. She has been 150 % civic minded.

On the other hand, I have seen people closely tied to Commissioner Kulla (he alone has always been respectful) who have attacked, name called, bullied and hurt people on social media or during town halls that carried a different perspective. Progressive Yamhill has very cleverly with Kulla's help gotten their membership to take over key roles in Boards, Budget Committees and School Boards and they are anything but professional on social media and do NOT engage with the entire county they represent.

To compound things, I have asked months ago for a public records request to look into bias by our County Public Health and relationship, influence by Commissioner Kulla and the specifically Director of HHS to politicize it.

So please, do us all a favor. Lets support people who are willing to have above board conversations, be respectful, represent the entire county and not push special interests or politics when it comes to our county and lets put people in Government who are mothers, fathers and sisters and brothers who care about local business, health outcomes of our children, building up the family unit and working together united.


There is NO mention anywhere in this article about Berschauer or Boyers qualifications, background or what they bring to the table! The article is VERY bias not to mention that you passive aggressively stated the voters can not make an educated decision in a timely manner. These two candidates have worked tirelessly for months with their respected groups. For you to waste article space to say either candidate is not worthy and we need more people to come forward and run speaks to the editorial boards character!
I pose you write a retraction and a PUBLIC apology to both candidates!


Wow! I'm pretty shocked that you would say the candidates are relatively unknown and to imply we need more to run because of some lack in/of who is currently running. Both have been heavily involved locally for a while, and are both qualified and good candidates (good people too!) for the people of Yamhill County to choose from. Not sure what agenda is trying to be pushed by this editorial but doesn't impress me NR.


We have two very different candidates for Yamhill County Commissioner. One candidate has lived in Yamhill county for years. The other candidate moved to Carlton so that she could run for County Commissioner. Barbara Boyer is well known in the community and has served as an elected official here for over a decade. Berschauer has been campaigning for the position for over a year. More time? No, not needed. What is needed is for the News Register to respect the voters to make the right choice in May. If there were other qualified and motivate candidates for Yamhill County Commissioner they would have filed by now. The county commissioners work very long hours. Both Starrett and Kulla work harder than any commissioners we have had in recent history. Not everyone could do what they do. They work hard because they care strongly about the community. If a third candidate has not filed it is probably because they are not driven in the same way. Please extend the respect and gratitude to the two people who are willing to step forward and raise their hand to serve.Thank them, I do.

Christmas has Talons

Raven, you are part of the problem with current political discussion and incivility you put out an assumption ("The other candidate moved to Carlton so that she can run for County Commissioner") as a fact rather thank something you made up. The truth has been stated on here and in other venues but you prefer that lie.
Ya'll tried this with Mary Starrett and it didn't work but I guess having a losing strategy is just part of the left ie: impeachment.


Christmas, please edify me, how long has Lindsay lived in Yamhill County?

Christmas has Talons

Raven, go look at her page on which she discusses this ridiculous issue. Then apologize to her for blatantly lying because that question has been asked and answered over and over by other's who thought they had a "gotcha" moment.

For the record I cannot possibly edify someone who has no vision. Only a really limited mind would think only someone who has lived in a place their whole life could possibly represent it adequately.

David S. Wall

Here are a few (and there are many more) articles on Candidate Berschauer:

Berschauer and Stimson Lumber: (Is this the "Timber Unity" connection?)

Oregon Transformation Project:

Berschauer and Leona Consulting: Berschauer running for Newberg Rural Fire Protection District: [go to page 19]
Questions: Why is she a single mother, was she married?
What about being a "Co-owner of Berschauer-Phillips Construction (Olympia, Washington)" Still "Constructing?" Or..a settlement perhaps?...or..Is Leona Consulting a prosperous endeavor with / without Stimson Lumber?
Did Berschauer marry Matt Wingard?

Some of Berschauer's commentaries are documented here:

David S. Wall

P.S. Editorial Board:
"particulary" should be "particularly"
"Priomozich" should be "Primozich"

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable