Election Update

Voters put in a new 4J director, OK the levy and sentence the courthouse to a ‘no’

About one in four people in Lane County cast their ballot on Tuesday, May 21. The ballot included a bond to build a new courthouse, a school levy, school board races and other local offices.

Back in November 2018, Lane County officials say they conducted a poll to gauge voter sentiment on a bond to build a new courthouse. It didn’t look good.

A political action committee (PAC) organized for the bond measure, Equal Justice for All, raised about $74,533 in contributions to campaign for a new courthouse. Commissioner Joe Berney told Eugene Weekly that the PAC conducted a poll to see how voters thought of a new courthouse when considering a community benefits agreement (a contract that would maximize contracting with local contractors). It looked better.

On Election Day, voters rejected the bond: 58 percent said “no” to the $154 million bond.

It was better news for Eugene School District 4J. With 71 percent saying “yes,” voters continued to fund the school levy, which used to support staff. 4J Board Director Anne Marie Levis previously told EW that continuing the levy was important since it could maximize investment in local education when combined with money from the Student Success Act.

After 12 years of Jim Torrey serving on the board of Eugene School District 4J, Eugene voters elected Martina Shabram to his seat. Unofficial results as of Wednesday, May 22, show Shabram with a lead of 1,000 votes over Torrey.

The other longtime 4J board director, Mary Walston, easily won her race against Deanna Chappell Belcher. Two other 4J candidates, incumbent Alicia Hays and newcomer Gordon Lafer, ran unopposed.

In Springfield, Todd Mann, Naomi Raven and Karen Hunter were elected to the Springfield School District Board of Directors. Springfield voters elected three directors to the Willamalane Park and Recreation District board: Chris Wig (who was appointed earlier this year), Greg James and Renee Jones.

No real surprise that incumbent Lisa Fragala handily beat Stefan Strek for the Lane Community College Board of Education seat.