By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

County commissioner Patti Milne solidly defeated Silverton-area Democrat Jason Freilinger in her re-election bid.

Milne, a Woodburn-based Republican, was ahead of Freilinger 61 percent to 39 percent, with 53 percent of the vote in.

This will be Milne’s fourth term on the county commission.

“I just think people have confidence in the job I’m doing and the job the county overall is doing,” Milne said. “I think people are comfortable with what we’re doing and have confidence in what I’m doing.”

In her re-election bid Milne touted efforts to ensure the county is financially stable, establishing reserve and rainy day funds. She has reminded voters of her preference that Courthouse Square – the now-shuttered former home of county business – had never been built. She came on the commission after construction was already underway.

She also has decried state land use policies, saying they are too cumbersome and restrict land owners’ ability to most beneficially use their land.

Milne pledged that encouraging job growth will remain her top priority.

“We have to have a climate in Marion County that’s conducive to business,” she said. “We have to do everything we can so our businesses have confidence to invest in business, hire people, get people back to work. … That’s what makes a livable community, and that’s what I’m really going to focus on.”

Freilinger attributed his loss to two factors: A national anti-Democrat trend, and in his words, “we were not able to get the word out about the real issues.

“My advice to her is to really remember this county is very special to both of us, and she needs to make sure she continues to outreach to people in the community,” Freilinger said. “I know she’s winning this by a large margin, but still 40 percent of Marion County residents are not happy with the direction she has taken the county.”

For her part, Milne said Freilinger was, as a first-time candidate, a bit “naïve about how county government functionsand the role we play as county commissioners, all the relationships among governments, having good working relationships with the cities (and) with our state legislators.”

Milne was in the Oregon State Legislature from 1993-1998. Prior to that she was on the Woodburn School District Board of Directors.

Freilinger is customer loyalty manager for T-Mobile. He holds a degree in business administration and marketing from Portland State University. Among his involvements are three terms on SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation).