Oregon primary 2022: Deputy assessor Mary Vuksich-Shafer has lead in Lane County Assessor race

·2 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.

Mary Vuksich-Shafer is leading with more than 60% of the vote in the race for the Lane County Assessor's seat as of election night.

Vuksich-Shafer, who's currently deputy assessor, and Faith Bowlsby, who also works in that office as an appraiser, are seeking to replace the retiring assessor.

Both have worked in the county's assessment and taxation office for more than a decade. That department is responsible for appraising property and calculating, collecting and distributing taxes from around 198,000 accounts across the county to dozens of taxing districts, such as municipalities, school districts and county government.

Vuksich-Shafer was ahead as of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday with around 67% of the votes counted so far. A little more than 67,000 ballots cast in that race had been counted as of the second release of results.

Vuksich-Shafer has been with the department around 17 years and has the endorsement of Michael Cowles, who's retiring as assessor.

She said Tuesday night that she was "encouraged by the results so far" and added she's met "so many amazing people" while campaigning.

"This experience has been positive, and I hope the final results put me in the position to continue to serve the citizens of Lane County," Vuksich-Shafer said.

She said she always knew she would run for the office at some point and “just knew that this was time” because she didn’t want to leave the legacy she’d helped build to someone without the same knowledge she has. She’s running to support crucial services and because she genuinely cares.

Vuksich-Schafer said she’s a third-generation Lane County resident and her mother was a realtor and “drove my love of properties.” She added she has a “knack for helping people and being organized.”

Bowlsby was behind by more than 23,000 votes as of late Tuesday night.

She's worked in the assessor’s office for 12 years and said the department needs to work harder on transparency, especially about providing taxpayers information about the process and keeping people updated internally.

Bowlsby is Hispanic and describes herself as strong-minded and wanting to get things done.

That’s meant while Bowlsby has been able to own her space and make some changes, she’s grown frustrated with some things that haven’t changed — like the department’s software, which was implemented around 30 years ago and can be “cumbersome and time-consuming.”

Bowlsby said Tuesday night she was "a little disappointed so far" but knows there are still votes to be counted and said she feels like people who voted for her did so based on what they know from interacting with her or reading stories and interviews.

"It's tough, I think, if you don't have a lot of money to just spread around," she said. "I did what I could."

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: Deputy assessor leads in Lane County assessor race