East Lane: Stewart seeks 3rd term; Ortal goes door-to-door

East Lane: Stewart seeks 3rd term; Ortal goes door-to-door »Play Video
Faye Stewart and Jose Ortal

KVAL News has reached out to all 5 East Lane candidates for interviews. Tom Adams interviewed challenger Kevin Matthews on Wednesday. Adams profiled Commissioner Faye Stewart and candidate Jose Ortal on Thursday. An interview with Joann Ernst was pending Friday, May 9. Jack Schoolcraft declined to be interviewed. In the May 20 primary, if no single candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote, the top 2 will advance to the November ballot.

EUGENE, Ore. - In his bid for a third term, East Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart faces four challengers: Kevin Matthews, Jack Schoolcraft, Joann Ernst and Jose Ortal.

Ortal admits it's a long shot, but he thinks enough voters are ready for change. He's gone door-to-door, visiting 4,000 homes.

"Hi, I'm Jose Ortal, running for East Lane Commissioner," said the candidate Thursday as he canvassed the southwest Eugene area.

Ortal, a resident of Blue River, works as an executive recruiter. These days, he is focused on recruiting voters.

"I'm interested in conducting the business of 100 percent of the citizens of the East Lane commons," Ortal said.
  
The candidate said that, if elected, he would push for greater staff accountability, root out duplicated county services, and spend smart.

One of his ideas to grow more jobs is really put a push on tourism by merging the Travel Lane County and Eugene Metro Partnership agencies.

Ortal believes by doing so the county would have "an entity that is meant to attract good corporate citizens that will pay living wage jobs."

Incumbent commissioner Faye Stewart said he has unfinished business, part of which is a plan to rezone the Goshen area for development.

"I would love to see Goshen become an opportunity for business to expand or locate in that area," he said.
 
On the Liane Richardson scandal, Stewart said he regrets he didn't push the Board of Commissioners for an earlier performance review of Richardson and a quicker firing. 

But on the horizon is more county budget trouble, the end of federal payments and a potential $6 million in service cuts. 

The county road fund, Stewart said, could
take a $10 million hit.  

The commissioner said he and the board will urge Oregon Congressional representatives to push for renewed Secure Rural Schools funding.

"Worst case scenario, we're just going to have to make those reductions and reduce our service levels to meet our income," he said.