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Rogue River write-ins seek mayor, council posts

Missed filing deadlines, term-limits, position shifts and changes of heart are complicating the Nov. 2 election in Rogue River, officials say.

I've never seen anything like it in my 22 years with the city, says Municipal Clerk Carol Weir.

The position of mayor and three of the city's five council seats are up for grabs. But only one person running for office, incumbent Councilman George Jorgensen, filed his election papers by the Aug. 4 deadline, says Weir.

Councilman Don Collins is not running for re-election. Councilman Dick Skevington has hit his two-term limit on the council and is running for mayor. And Councilman Dick Handbury, who had announced he would not run for re-election, agreed to be a write-in candidate at the request of fellow council members.

Mayor Leigh Lucas is not running for re-election. Councilwoman Jo Anne Mead originally filed for the mayoral position but then withdrew, stating she could better serve the community as a voting member of the council. (The mayor only votes in the event of a tie.)

— Attempting to fill the mayor's seat are Skevington and Tom Lazette, both write-in candidates. In addition to Handbury, three other write-in candidates are vying with Jorgensen for the three at-large council seats: Phil Peeters, Renee Peterson and Earl Shamblin.

They don't run for a specific seat. The three with the top votes will be appointed to the positions, Weir said.

Rogue River imposed term limits in 1996. The city charter now limits elected officials to two two-year terms as mayor and two four-year terms as council members. Four of the six candidates have served in one or both capacities in the past. Only Lazette and Peterson are new to Rogue River politics.

Skevington is serving the last months of his second term on the council. If Skevington is not elected to the mayor's position, he will be term-limited out, says Weir.

Handbury has served two terms as mayor and one term as council member.

Phil Peeters originally sought office as a write-in mayoral candidate in this election. Peeters already served one term and nine months as mayor before resigning in 2003, citing family responsibilities. City Attorney Steve Rich says Peeters is ineligible to run for mayor since he would be over his term-limit by the end of this term.

Shamblin has served one term on the council, from 1995 to 1998, and was Rogue River's police chief from 1977 to 1985.

Weir says it is still not too late for more write-in candidates. State law allows candidates not spending more than &

36;300 on their campaigns to skip filing any paperwork, she says.

There could be people out there I don't even know about, says Weir.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail .