Questions & Answers About the CRPUD Subdivision 1 Election
- Do all CRPUD Customers vote in Board elections?
- Why didn’t the floating homes get annexed into the PUD in 1999, like the drainage district?
- Why doesn’t the PUD annex the floating homes in Multnomah Channel?
- Why was Nancy Ward on the ballot if she wasn’t eligible to run for the position?
- Nancy Ward won the vote. Why can’t she serve on the board?
- If the voters picked Nancy Ward, why doesn’t the CRPUD Board just appoint her?
- If Debbie Reed was the only eligible candidate on the ballot, why doesn’t she win the election?
Ask a Question:
Please contact CRPUD Community & Public Relations Supervisor Libby Calnon at email@example.com or (503) 366-3264 to ask your own question.
The vast majority of CRPUD customers are able to vote for CRPUD Board positions, but there are some exceptions. The PUD’s political boundary and its service area boundary are not perfectly aligned. CRPUD is a special district, similar to a school district or fire district. Its political boundary was created through the formation and annexation processes guided by state law, and its service area was created through contracts between CRPUD and PGE. Under state law, CRPUD can provide electric service to customers located inside and outside of its political boundary.
Here are the two most notable differences between the PUD’s political boundary and service area boundary:
- In the Chapman area, there are homes within CRPUD’s political boundary that receive electric service from West Oregon Electric. The voters in this area can vote for CRPUD Board positions, but the homes and businesses cannot receive electric service from the PUD.
- In Multnomah Channel, there are floating homes that are within the PUD’s service territory, but that are outside of the PUD’s political boundary. These customers receive electric service from the PUD, but the voters who live there are unable to vote in CRPUD Board elections or to serve on the Board.
In the 1999 annexation, the petition for annexation was written to include homes within the 1940 city limits of Scappoose and within the Scappoose Drainage District. The drainage district boundary ends at the low water line on the west bank of the channel, and therefore excludes the land under the floating homes, which is owned by the State of Oregon. Because of this, Columbia County determined it could not include these homes in the PUD’s political boundary for the purposes of the 1999 annexation election. (See Columbia County Order 72-99, which set the boundary for the 1999 annexation election.) There have been no additional initiative petitions or other annexation efforts since that time.
The current CRPUD Board of Directors was not aware that the floating homes were outside the boundary until it was it was discussed in their public meeting on October 18, 2016. The CRPUD Board does not have authority to add an area to the PUD’s political boundary without approval of the voters or landowners. An initiative petition for annexation, as described in ORS 198.850, would allow the voters within the floating homes area to request annexation into CRPUD.
Ms. Ward filed paperwork with the Columbia County Elections Office for the seat on the CRPUD Board, and the county placed her name on the ballot as a result. In mid-October, another resident who lives in a floating home in Multnomah Channel received an absentee ballot that did not include the CRPUD Subdivision 1 Director’s race. That resident inquired with the Columbia County Elections Office. It was at this time that the county realized Ms. Ward may not be eligible for the Director position, and they notified her as such in a letter dated October 17, 2016. Because of the timing of the discovery, the county was not able to modify the ballots before they were mailed to voters.
Ms. Ward does not meet the criteria for serving on the CRPUD Board, which are spelled out in the Oregon Revised Statues in section 261.405(3):
“Directors shall be electors, shall reside in the subdivision from which they are respectively nominated and elected and shall have resided in the district continuously for two years immediately preceding the date of their election as directors.”
Essentially, this means that Directors must have resided within the PUD’s political boundary for at least two years, and currently reside within the subdivision they wish to represent.
Under state law, the CRPUD Board of Directors must apply the same eligibility criteria when appointing someone to fill a vacancy as they do when certifying that a candidate is eligible for election. Directors must have resided within the PUD’s political boundary for at least two years, and currently reside within the subdivision they wish to represent.
Under Oregon law, if the winning candidate in a special district election is deemed ineligible, a vacancy is declared. The Board of Directors for the district is responsible for appointing someone to fill the vacancy.
In 2000, CRPUD had a vacancy on its Board following a realignment of subdivision boundaries. The Board of Directors accepted applications from individuals interested in filling the vacancy, and then appointed someone. The Board is expected to follow the same process in filling this vacancy, although it will not officially be declared until after the Board takes action at their December 20, 2016, meeting to certify the results of the election.