Election: New mayor and city councilors, Duncan remains

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Lebanon voters chose a new mayor and filled three city council seats in the Tuesday, Nov. 8 elections, which also saw Linn County overall keep Michelle Duncan as its sheriff.
In what some (or most) might call a nail-biting bid for the mayor’s seat, Kenneth Jackola took a hefty lead over Gamael Nassar, totaling 4,162 votes to his opponent’s 2,031.

Ken Jackola

Jackola said he felt pretty confident throughout the race as he shared with the community his background and stance on issues.
When he takes the helm, issues on the forefront of his mind include police recruitment, addressing the current LGBTQ issue, reducing the City’s debt, community development and homelessness.
Regarding the contentious issue surrounding Lebanon’s LGBTQ community, Jackola said the many residents he’s talked to have all iterated the same message.
“Most people just want all groups to just be treated the same, and it needs to start at government,” he said. “Everybody is welcome to come and talk to the City Council; in fact, I encourage it.”
Though Jackola is open to figuring out an agreeable solution to both sides, he said the proclamation issue caused division in the community.
“If I’m going to say it’s good for this group, then it’s good for this group over here, too, and that other group you might not like,” he said. “So that whole process is just causing division, and it’s used as a political tool these days.”

Dave Workman

A pair of new Lebanon City Council members emerged, as well. The most recent Linn County results available revealed that Carl Mann captured 862 votes for Ward 1, beating Tami Cockeram, whose 805 made it a close call. Dave Workman took Ward 2, his 913 votes overpowering opponent Cassie Cruze’s 579. Candidate Ryan Newby withdrew from the race yet still grabbed 119 votes.
Incumbent Michelle Steinhebel, who represents Ward 3, ran unopposed.
“I feel honored and grateful to serve on City Council for another four years,” she said.
Going forward, she wants to focus on providing more support for the police department and updating the 2040 Vision plan developed by the community and adopted by the council in 2015.
The councilors will serve a four-year term while Jackola will serve two years.

Jami Cate

Lifelong Lebanon resident Jami Cate soundly defeated Mary Cooke to retain her House District 11 (formerly District 17 before a 2021 redistricting) position with 75% of the vote.
Cedric Hayden claimed the newly outlined Senate District 6 with 73% of the Linn County vote, besting opponent Ashley Pelton.
Will Tucker decisively secured his fifth term on the Linn County Board of Commissioners by capturing 69% of the vote over candidate Scott Bruslind’s 30.67%.
In what has been deemed a divisive race, incumbent Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan retained the position retiring Sheriff Jim Yon appointed her to in January. She garnered 29,672 votes to opponent Jon Raymond’s 22,866.
Shortly after state voters narrowly approved Measure 114 (Linn County roundly opposed it) — which creates a required permitting system for purchasing firearms and bans gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds — Duncan issued a statement on the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page stating that the department would not be enforcing magazine capacity limits.
“This is a terrible law for gun owners, crime victims, and public safety,” it read.

Michelle Duncan

“This measure is poorly written and there is still a lot that needs to be sorted out regarding the permitting process, who has to do the training and what exactly does the training have to cover. In the coming days, I will work with other law enforcement partners, elected officials and community members on the best course of action to take on permitting. I want to ensure anything we do or don’t do will not hinder gun owners’ rights to purchase firearms, intentionally or unintentionally. “
The post was shared by more than 10,000 people, elicited more than 6,000 comments and has received media attention.
Lebanon voters also agreed to place a two-year moratorium on deciding whether the city should allow psilocybin manufacture and business in city limits.
Oregon voters also approved measures 111 (ensuring affordable healthcare access), 112 (removing language that allows “slavery and involuntary servitude” as punishment for crime, and 113 (disqualifying legislators for reelection if they have 10 or more unexcused absences from floor sessions).
Linn County voters rejected the first two but approved Measure 113.