The untimely death of Wallowa County Commissioner- Elect Bruce Dunn has left candidates scrambling to file before the state-mandated Sept. 4 deadline.
Potential candidates have expressed discomfort at the process moving forward before proper grieving period. The original deadline for application was Aug. 28 but was extended by a week at the request to the Secretary of State by commissioners.
As of Aug. 24 two candidates had filed for the position: Diane Daggett of Enterprise and Cliff Walters of Joseph.
Daggett said she had made the decision to file after much encouragement from the community. She had received 1,218 votes in her earlier run against Dunn in the May 15 Oregon Primary. Dunn took the position with 1,869 votes.
Daggett, a Wallowa County native, is a founding broker for Ruby Peak Real Estate. She has been a rancher; was Wallowa Resources founding executive director; was director of the Wallowa County Land Use Planning and Building Dept.; and served as Wallowa County Administrative Manager for Wallowa County Board of Commissioners.
Walters, of Joseph, is retired from United Airlines and Oregon Department of Corrections and operates Chris’ Forest Products of Joseph with his wife, Christine. The business sells forest byproducts such as redwood, cedar and barkdust.
He has been a resident of the county for 25 years and his two sons, John and Cory Walters, who own In Good Hands Construction of Joseph.
Walters has been past president of the Wallowa County Board of Realtors; was former shop manager for Summit Ford of Enterprise; and has taught hunter safety courses for 20 years.
He describes himself as a “conservative” candidate. He stated he is self-funded and is not taking any donations from any party or other source.
“I was just really sick about Bruce passing away and wanted to make sure they got a conservative voice on the commission,” Walters said.
No candidate forums had been planned as of press time.