Lane County Commissioner, West Lane, Position 1
Ryan Ceniga, Terry Duman, Misty Fox, Rod Graves, Dawn Lesley
This is the first time the West Lane County commissioner’s seat has not had an incumbent in nearly 12 years. With Commissioner Jay Bozievich’s decision to retire from the board, the position has attracted several candidates. But Dawn Lesley is the right candidate for the job.
Bozievich enlisted Ryan Ceniga to run and chose him as his successor. But Ceniga isn’t ready for this position. He has only served a partial term on the Junction City School Board, and like the rest of Bozievich’s enlisted candidates in this election, Ceniga’s platform revolves around timber and public safety.
Lesley actually has a platform that she wants to address. Among Lesley’s goals, if elected, are to improve the county’s emergency preparedness systems (a real issue for Florence and other coastal communities in Lane County), invest in the county’s broadband internet infrastructure, and build relationships with west Lane residents. (And may we remind readers that Bozievich nearly lost to Lesley in 2014, winning by only 74 votes.)
Lane County Commissioner, Springfield, Position 2
Joe Berney, David Loveall
In his first term in office, Lane County Commissioner Joe Berney has accomplished a lot. He worked with state Sen. James Manning to pass Senate Bill 420. That legislation developed a community benefits agreement blueprint that other government agencies can adopt to ensure public projects are built by workers who receive a fair wage and health benefits and are offered vocational training. Berney helped save low-income residents at the Patrician mobile home park from eviction. By working with activists, housing-oriented Casa of Oregon and Homes for Good, he helped the residents buy the mobile home park and create a co-op village.
And he’s working with commissioners to further a county-wide climate action plan. With one more term, we’re confident he can build on these accomplishments. He says he wants to protect mobile home park residents throughout the state, and he has big plans for making the Short Mountain Landfill a place where Lane County can not only enter the recycling market but have it as a renewable energy hub.
His opponent, David Loveall, owns property on Springfield’s Main Street and has claimed to be a catalyst for the neighborhood’s economic renaissance. Loveall also runs a missionary organization called Three Sixteen Ministries that works in Uganda. He was tapped to run against Berney by retiring Commissioner Jay Bozievich, but Loveall hasn’t demonstrated that he knows what a county commissioner does.
Bozievich interviewed Loveall on an Oct. 12 edition of the online radio show Boze Noze. Loveall said that he was at church when a visiting pastor, whom he didn’t know, said he had a message from God to deliver. The pastor told Loveall was a restorer and could bring people together, and the next day, Loveall said, Bozievich called to ask him to run against Berney.
At an April 14 Springfield City Club forum, Loveall said his platform includes more timber extraction. However, Lane County commissioners do not create timber policy. That’s a state and federal responsibility. Loveall also made some worrisome comments on voting, saying that he has “some degree of liking toward of people going to a polling station.” That’s a weird comment to make in Oregon, the state that pioneered vote-by-mail that increases voter participation. And throughout the campaign, Loveall has claimed to have resurrected Main Street Springfield, neglecting the team effort that was required by the city, school district, Wildish Theater, Emerald Art Center and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
Loveall has also claimed during his campaign that Berney is out of touch with Springfield. But Berney has support from most of Springfield’s elected officials. That support sounds like Berney is working for Springfield.
Lane County Commissioner, East Lane, Position 5
Kyle Blain, Heather Buch
Heather Buch served as the chair of the Lane County Board of County Commissioners in a defining year: 2020. During that year, she navigated Lane County through COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and the Holiday Farm Fire. Throughout 2020, Buch proved that she can strongly lead the county.
Buch tells EW that she wants to see through rebuilding the McKenzie River communities after the fire, constructing a mental health stabilization center and locating the first rural health care center in Cottage Grove.
Buch’s district is rural, and her endorsements reflect that she’s earned the respect of rural elected officials — as well as many other higher level politicians. She’s been endorsed by all mayors of her district. She’s also been endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Pro-Choice Oregon and the Mother PAC, as well as unions and other organizations.
Kyle Blain is another candidate whom retiring Commissioner Jay Bozievich is supporting on his way out of the board. Blain’s been endorsed by Bozievich, Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark, state Rep. Cedric Hayden and former Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp. Blain just isn’t qualified to serve the communities represented by this seat.
Faith Bowlsby, Mary Vuksich-Shafer
Mary Vuksich-Shafer has worked in Lane County’s Assessment and Taxation for nearly 20 years and is the deputy county assessor. Her notable endorsements attesting to her ability to do the job include Rep. Peter DeFazio, state Rep. Marty Wilde, current Assessor Mike Cowles and former Assessor Annette Spickard. Her opponent, Faith Bowles, is also a longtime employee in the office and both candidates have been endorsed by AFSCME, the union that represents county workers.
Vukisch-Shafer has the experience to guide the office to make it more efficient in assessing and collecting the revenue that funds our local government.