May Primary Election 2024
Candidates for Yamhill County Board of Commissioners
Written Questions & Responses

Getting to know Bubba King for Yamhill County Commissioner

Describe what a County Commissioner does, and what qualifications or past job experiences will best support your success as County Commissioner.

A county commissioner is a key figure in local government, responsible for shaping policy, managing the county’s budget, and overseeing public services. They allocate funds for infrastructure projects like roads and public buildings and ensure that services such as public health and transportation meet community needs. Commissioners also play a crucial role in legislative functions, from passing ordinances to coordinating with other government agencies. By representing the interests of their constituents, they influence the development and quality of life in their communities, making decisions that balance growth with the well-being of residents.

My experiences as a small business owner and a regenerative dairy farmer, have provided me with a deep understanding of the complexities related to living and working in Yamhill County. I’m proud that I have provided living wage jobs and built relationships with industries across Yamhill County throughout my professional experience. My business background equips me with the insights necessary to support informed decision-making regarding land use and our county’s economic expansion.

Serving as the President of the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce, and on the City of Newberg’s SDC Committee, I’ve worked with other community leaders to help resolve the challenges that face our community. I’ve actively worked towards creating pathways for more affordable housing and a more business-friendly Newberg, while maintaining the unique character of our county. My dedication to our community is evident through my work and I am ready to bring this same dedication to the role of county commissioner, working to provide tangible solutions that support the cities, organizations, and residents of Yamhill County.

Describe a time in which your thinking about an important public issue changed because of your interactions with someone who disagreed with you?

The challenges within the Newberg School Board are well-known, but aiming to mend the rifts in our community I joined Dr. Phillip’s Superintendent cabinet with a clear purpose: to foster unity and uphold our shared community values amid political discord.

However, some continue to voice discontent with Dr. Phillips, and others direct their grievances at the new board. Throughout these tensions, my focus remains on the collective mission of the board and the district, not on the divisions. I’ve chosen to prioritize the well-being and education of youth over partisan politics.

There was a definitive moment for me during these times. I found my own viewpoints evolving as I engaged in earnest conversations with those holding opposing stances. This engagement didn’t weaken my principles but instead strengthened my commitment to finding common ground. As a potential commissioner, I understand that the essence of our progress lies not in battles won, but in bridges built. It’s through these interactions that my approach to public service has been profoundly shaped: It’s about uniting for the greater good, not dividing over differences.

What do you view as THE most critical challenge facing our county and what is your proposed solution?

In my view, the most critical challenge facing our county today is the lack of collaboration between our local government, regional partners, and community agencies. A glaring issue with our current board of commissioners is the failure to secure financial support that could have a significant impact on the lives of Yamhill County residents. For example, after the most recent ice storm, the board did not conduct the necessary local assessments to file for disaster declarations. This oversight leaves our cities, schools, and county to shoulder uninsured losses—compounding financial strain during already tight budget times. Also, Yamhill County has not asked for funding available under HB 5204. These funds are earmarked for essential services such as diversion and treatment programs, justice support, mental health care, and aid-and-assist services. This inaction has deprived our communities of vital resources that could enhance public safety, health, and welfare.

As your commissioner, I will prioritize a proactive approach to obtain every dollar of aid and investment for which our county is eligible, ensuring that we do not miss out on opportunities to support and uplift our residents.

What would you propose or change to make Yamhill County more business friendly?

To enhance Yamhill County’s business landscape, I believe in taking a proactive stance on economic development. Cities across our county have voiced a need for support following our severed ties with SEDCOR, a decision that I believe warrants reconsideration. The expertise of a top firm in state-level economic development like SEDCOR, with their proven track record and measurable successes, is invaluable.

I propose reinstating a partnership with a firm like SEDCOR to attract and cultivate traded sector jobs, which are crucial for our economic vitality. Traded sector jobs sell their goods or services outside our region, bringing new dollars into our economy. This type of partnership wouldn’t burden our taxpayers since it’s financed through lottery dollars, not tax revenue, making it a cost-effective strategy for economic growth. It’s clear that for Yamhill County to become more business-friendly, we need to be leaders in economic development, aligning with organizations that deliver tangible solutions and measurable community benefits.

Getting to know Lindsay Berschauer for Yamhill County Commissioner

Describe what a County Commissioner does, and what qualifications or past job
experiences will best support your success as County Commissioner.

Yamhill County Commissioners are in charge of a $190 Million budget and we manage various departments with the largest being Criminal Justice (primarily the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office), Health & Human Services, Public Works (roads & bridges) and Land Use (implementing state and county land use and zoning laws). As a small business owner for over eleven years, as a solo owner and recently managing over 15 employees, my private sector knowledge of the pressures on job creators in Oregon is invaluable in my work and advocacy as a Commissioner. Prior to being elected in May of 2020, I served on the Newberg Rural Fire Protection District Board during the process of annexation into Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. I was appointed and served on the Yamhill County Budget Committee in 2019 and served as a citizen lay member until taking office in January 2021. For most of my time as a Commissioner, I have served as the liaison to the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney, County Clerk, County Assessor and Treasurer. I am honored to serve as the Chair of the Board of Commissioners, chosen by my colleagues for 3 years in a row. Much of the policy work that Commissioners do involves the intersection of statewide policy, and because of my strong policy research background, I am in my second year serving as the Chair of Association of Oregon Counties District 6, advocating for Yamhill, Marion and Polk counties. My husband, Mike, has almost twenty years of experience in farming and hazelnut processing and we live in McMinnville with our three young adult children, Jaden (attends Chemeketa Community College), Isabel (a senior at McMinnville High School), and Ben (a sophomore at Newberg High School).

Describe a time in which your thinking about an important public issue changed because of your interactions with someone who disagreed with you?

I think the most recent example would be the AFSCME union strike and collective bargaining agreement discussions. Commissioners have to balance the needs of county employees and expected services with the constraints of the taxpaying public. This is why I believe that Commissioners (and elected officials in general) should refrain from accepting endorsements by public employee unions. When we “bargain with” the taxpayers, there must be a neutral decision-maker balancing both realities. In our recent decision, the county was at odds with our largest union over not only wages but also benefit changes. When we hit an impasse, I met with the union president and listened to their most pressing needs. Not only had there been a breakdown of communication, but my view of how to balance the agreement shifted when I learned that a particular benefit would carry more weight with union members than further increases in wages. I’d been a single working parent when my son was young, and I recognize that flexibility in many ways is as valuable to a person as a higher wage. After this meeting, I brought the proposal to my colleagues and we were able to reach a deal with the union.

What do you view as THE most critical challenge facing our county and what is your proposed solution?

The most critical issue facing Yamhill County is the mental health and addiction crisis that has been exacerbated by Measure 110. We are seeing the devastating impacts on our streets and in our jail. House Bill 4002 (M110 reform) passed in the special legislative session and I’m serving on a taskforce with our District Attorney, Sheriff, HHS Director, and local Police Chiefs to determine how Yamhill County will manage the reform and expand services. Counties across the country are receiving opioid settlement funds and the Board has set those aside with the expectation that the money will fund expansion of addiction treatment and residential facilities. My goal is to partner with community organizations to fast-track a detox facility and supplemental residential treatment facility. Anyone involved in recovery services will tell you that unless we have more detox facilities, the effort to turn the addiction crisis around will bottleneck with disappointing results.

What would you propose or change to make Yamhill County more business friendly?

Yamhill County is very business friendly, especially when compared to our neighbors in the tri-county Metro region. In fact, one of the reasons I moved to Newberg from Wilsonville many years ago was to escape the punitive nature of county and Metro regional governments targeting small businesses for additional tax revenue. We have a pro-business planning department and we prioritize private property rights. We have focused American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars on services and needs that directly impact our economic and business environment: childcare, workforce training, infrastructure, and vocational/technical school and training for students. Our county tax rate hasn’t changed in over 25 years and we have chosen to stay away from targeting businesses for additional revenue like many other counties and cities have done. Yamhill County will continue to partner with cities to tackle housing needs and help them fast-track their Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) process to create additional workforce housing. Being adaptive to our businesses’ needs is key, which we recently showed through a zone change in order to keep a local employer from moving to another county due to business growth. Our current Economic Development Director is a former chamber director, and her knowledge of main street business needs is critical in our decision making. Ultimately, the State of Oregon needs to improve its business policies as they are detrimental to our economic environment. Yamhill County has prioritized a “do no harm” approach as we seek to not be an additional layer of burdensome bureaucracy.