Oregon primary 2022: All 3 races for Lane County Commissioner within a few percentage points

·4 min read

This story will continue to be updated as more results come in. Because ballots could be mailed on Election Day starting this year, elections officials caution the winners may not be known for several days. Election offices expect vote counts after Tuesday to rise more than in past years due to valid ballots arriving at counting locations up to seven days after the election.

All three races for a seat on the Lane County Board of Commissioners were tight as of the first results released on election night.

Two candidates were neck and neck in the race to replace Commissioner Jay Bozievich, who is not running for reelection, as of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

And races for the other two districts, one representing Springfield and the other representing eastern Lane County, were within a few percentage points. Incumbents are facing challengers in both those races, and the challenger for the Springfield district was slightly ahead as of Tuesday night.

Candidates need more than 50% of the vote to win outright or else the two who get the most votes will face off in the November general election.

The five-person Board of Commissioners legislates and administers county government and is a full-time, paid body.

Three seats on the board were on the ballot this year:

  • District 1: Western Lane County

  • District 2: Springfield

  • District 5: Eastern Lane County

District 1

Four people are running for the seat representing western Lane County after Bozievich decided not to run for reelection. A fifth candidate, Rod Graves, withdrew from the race.

As of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dawn Lesley and Ryan Ceniga each had more than 40% of the vote. Candidates need more than 50% of the vote to win outright or else the two who get the most votes will face off in the November general election.

Ceniga, who said friends approached him about running for county commissioner after he was elected to the Junction City School Board, had about 42% of the vote as of the initial release of results, which included around 19,000 ballots cast in the District 1 race.

Lesley, who's running "out of a fierce sense of urgency" because she wants to do more to address "critical challenges facing our community," had about 41% of the vote.

Terry Duman and Misty Fox both had around 7% of the vote tallied so far.

District 2

David Loveall had a slim lead on incumbent Joe Berney in the race to represent Springfield on the Board of Commissioners.

Loveall had a little more than 50% of the votes tallied as of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, and Berney had around 49%.

There were around 160 votes separating the two with around 13,000 votes counted so far.

Berney said he initially ran for the seat four years ago after retiring and looking for ways to "best use my life experience to serve the community." He scored an "upset victory" then and now is offering himself on the ballot for "one last term of public service" as a commissioner.

If reelected, Berney would focus on:

  • Expanding on the "invest local" procurement priorities he helped build into county government, such as a requirement for living wages, contracts with local businesses and provision of health care and retirement

  • Significantly increasing the availability and ease of recycling

  • Decreasing the county's carbon footprint in "smart, business-friendly ways"

  • Increasing housing stock by offering incentives not just for more rentals but also starter homes and by developing ways to keep seniors secure in their homes

Loveall describes himself as "a hands-on, partnership-driven kind of guy." He said he's helped redevelop downtown Springfield and could help the county with similar efforts, adding he sees a lot of areas where the Board of Commissioners needs work to be more effective.

If elected, Loveall would focus on:

  • Getting the county back into timber

  • Fully funding public safety, citing concerns about "just two deputies roaming the county on any given shift"

  • Restructuring and reallocating the way the county spends money addressing homelessness and related issues. He said there's a "toxic charity arena" of spending on the homelessness crisis that isn't really fixing the problem.

District 5

Incumbent Heather Buch had a slight edge on challenger Kyle Blain as of 11:15 p.m. on election night.

Buch had nearly 51% of the votes tallied, and Blain had around 48%.

There were a little less than 500 votes separating the two with around 17,000 votes counted so far.

Blain called county's response to the Holiday Farm Fire was "the straw the broke the camel's back" and said the "lackluster response" made him throw his hat in the ring. He's currently a city councilor for Coburg and touts his work on fiscal goals, land use and other code updates, street repair, and attracting small businesses and helping them during the pandemic.

If elected, Blain would focus on:

  • Trimming "pet projects and excessive office budgets" and focusing on timberlands to prioritize and restore funding for the sheriff's office and prosecutors

  • Providing affordable housing

  • Removing barriers and regulations that make building time-consuming and expensive

  • Increasing the supply of buildable lands and making it easier for rural residents to build on their own land

Buch said she initially ran four years ago because of her background, experience and "desire for change in Lane County." She's proud of the work she's done as a commissioner through natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.

If reelected, Buch would focus on:

  • Continuing efforts to rebuild and restore the McKenzie River area

  • Improving housing affordability

  • Finding solutions for unsheltered neighbors

  • Strengthening public safety

Learn more about all of the candidates

Contact city government watchdog Megan Banta at mbanta@registerguard.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeganBanta_1.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Election results: Lane County Commissioner races all tight