The November ballot will include nine City Council candidates, two mayor candidates and measures to renew the school district’s local option levy and to impose a two-year moratorium on psilocybin. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Nine candidates submitted applications to run for a City Council seat and two more put their names in for mayor, Benton County Elections Office records show.

All six incumbents are seeking to retain their seats on the council — Jessica Andrade, Catherine Biscoe, Ruth Causey, Matt Lehman, David Low and Teresa Nielson. Three others are challenging for a seat at the table with Diane Crocker, Christopher McMorran and Peggy Yoder turning in their paperwork.

For mayor, incumbent Chas Jones will be challenged by Lawrence Johnson.

Among the incumbents on the City Council, Low has the most time at the table and will be seeking his fourth term — elected previously in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Low retired after a career in the banking and financial industry. Causey was appointed to the council in 2019 and was then elected to the position in the 2020 election. Causey is a former human resources consultant.

Lehman was appointed to the council in 2019 and won election in 2020. He works as a regional sales manager in the land surveying, construction, geographic information system and forestry industries. 

Andrade, Biscoe and Nielson are all in their first terms on the council. Andrade is a fisheries laboratory technician. Biscoe serves as small business programs manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Nielson is a retired Philomath educator.

Among the challengers, Crocker is a retired music teacher. McMorran is a legislative staffer and freelance filmmaker who was recently appointed to the Philomath School Board. Yoder, retired with a background at Hewlett-Packard and a tree nursery, serves on the Planning Commission. 

Causey, Crocker and McMorran filed with a preference for two-year terms. Andrade, Biscoe, Lehman, Low, Nielson and Yoder filed with a preference for four-year terms.

In the mayor’s race, Johnson is a semi-retired lawyer seeking the seat and Jones, who is a former councilor and in his first term as mayor, is the acting climate resilience program director for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

The election process for the city is entering a new phase beginning with this next election. In 2020, voters approved a change to the city charter to begin staggering terms for city councilors. As such, councilor candidates can designate their preference for a two-year or four-year term.

“If the election results in six successful candidates with three whose preference was to serve a two-year term and three whose preference was to serve a four-year term, that preference shall be the term served,” the city explained in a news release on filing for a seat.

If the 2022 election results are such that the candidates’ preferences do not equally align, or if there is any other disagreement regarding who serves which length of terms, the city said the following method will be used to determine terms:

• The three councilors elected with the highest number of votes shall each serve a term of four years.

• The three councilors with the lowest number of votes shall each serve a term of two years.

At the 2024 general election, three councilors will then be elected with four-year terms for each. At each subsequent biennial general election, the ballot will include positions for three councilors with four-year terms.

In county elections, Democrat incumbent Pat Malone will square off with Republican challenger William Kughn for a seat on the Board of Commissioners. Jef Van Arsdall is running unopposed for Benton County sheriff.

Two Philomath measures

The Philomath School District’s K-12 operating levy is about to expire and voters will need to make a decision on whether or not to renew for another five years. The local option levy was originally approved by voters in 2013 and renewed in 2018. If the measure passes, the current levy rate would remain unchanged at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Philomath citizens will also vote on a measure that would prohibit the establishment of psilocybin facilities — administering or manufacturing — within the city limits through a two-year moratorium in 2023 and 2024.