Lincoln City, Depoe Bay will have to fill seats

Kathy Short Dick Anderson

Election results create new vacancies 

LINCOLN COUNTY — The results of last week’s General Election created the need for a little extra maneuvering come time to flip the calendar to 2021 for two city councils in the northern portion of Lincoln County.

In Depoe Bay, sitting city councilors Jerome Grant and Kathy Short faced off in the race to succeed Mayor Robert Gambino, who chose not to seek a second term. According to the latest posting on the website of Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno late Nov. 6, voters overwhelmingly backed Short by a 622 to 392 vote margin as the city’s new mayor.

In Lincoln City, Republican Mayor Dick Anderson successfully ran for the 5th District seat in the Oregon Senate, defeating Democrat Melissa Cribbins 49.34 to 46.57 percent of the more than 75,000 votes on the race. Anderson fell in a bid for the same seat by fewer than 400 votes four years ago.

“I’m really happy,” Anderson said. “It’s been almost a yearlong campaign with me declaring last December, and I’m glad it’s over. But I’m really looking forward to this new adventure.”  

In Depoe Bay, Short’s position 4 seat on the city council will be vacant when the 2021 council convenes for its first meeting of next year, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 5. According to Depoe Bay City Recorder Barbara Chestler, next year’s city council will be tasked with appointing a qualified candidate to fill Short’s vacated city council seat. That can only happen after the new city council is seated.

Current position 6 Depoe Bay City Councilor Roman Smolcic was appointed to serve by the city council in late summer following the abrupt resignation of former Councilor Barbara Leff. Smolcic, a Depoe Bay charter boat captain, was the only candidate to apply to fill the vacancy.

Smolcic lost his bid for election to position 6’s four-year term to challenger Fran Recht last week by nearly a 2-1 margin (599 to 308 votes). Recht is a program manager with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.  

Despite not facing a challenge during his bid to join the council earlier this year, Smolcic told the News-Times early this week he won’t seek to fill the position 4 seat being vacated at the start of the new year by Short.

New additions to the 2021 Depoe Bay City Council include Autumn Watson in the position 1 seat and Lindsy Bedingfield in position 2. They, along with sitting Councilor Joyce King, ran unopposed earlier this month. 

Watson, 35, is a career educator who earned a sustainable science management degree from the University of Hawaii-Maui College. She will fill the seat being left by Dockside Charters co-owner Loren Goddard, who did not seek re-election.

Bedingfield, a five-year Depoe Bay resident, is a former teacher and Red Lodge, Mont., city planner with a master’s degree from the University of Oregon in community and regional planning. She told the News-Times last month that she plans on updating the city’s comprehensive plan shortly after she’s seated on the council.

Anderson didn’t carry his home turf of Lincoln County — Cribbins earned 15,866 Lincoln County votes to Anderson’s 12,331 — but he took the overall race by a 49.34 to 46.57 percent margin. He told the News-Times that he must resign his position as Lincoln City mayor before the city council seeks to replace him.

According to Anderson, at the first city council meeting of 2021, the council will elect a new president, who will serve as interim mayor. The council will then decide between two options — appoint a new mayor from a pool of all Lincoln City residents or hold an election for voters to fill the remaining two years of Anderson’s term.

“Frankly, I’m in favor of an election,” Anderson said. “I just think it makes more sense to do an election for the last two years on the term than an appointment.”

Anderson added that if he deems it in the best interest of the city to replace him quickly, he could resign as mayor prior to the end of the calendar year.

 “If it helps the process, I could resign early in December,” Anderson said.

Anne Marie Skinner defeated Carolyn Nguyen by 60 votes to fill a two-year term from Ward II in the lone contested Lincoln City City Council race. A land-use planner, Skinner has more than 22 years of experience with governmental land use and planning issues.

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