What is a Special District:
Special Districts are a form of local government created to fill a specific community need. Communities have specific needs such as: Fire Protection, Education, Water, Sewer, etc. Communities have similar needs, but some have specific needs, so not every community has all of the same types of districts. Special districts are guided by various laws and statutes, and have elected board members. More information regarding specific district types can be found under ORS 255.012.
Elections for Special Districts in Oregon are held every two years, in the odd years (2017, 2019, 2021 etc.) Generally a term for a Special District board position is four years. If the individual elected to the term is unable to fill the whole term, the board may appoint another individual to fill the vacant seat until the next scheduled election. Please see ORS198.320(2) for specific wording. As one reviews the Districts and positions in the tabs to the left, one will see that there are some positions which state that the term is 2 years. These are due to a vacancy that occurred.
How Many Districts:
Douglas County currently has 69 Special Districts that file with our county, there are another 10 Special Districts which we share with other counties. The shared districts originate in 2 different counties: Coos, Lane. If an elector lived in one of these districts and wished to file for candidacy in one of the shared districts they would file their candidacy with the county of origin. There are currently 217 positions open for filing, until March 18th @ 5:00pm. Voters will only see those districts and positions on their ballot in which they are eligible to vote (in the area of residence.)
What is that district? Who is that?
Many people do not know how many different districts they are in, or who the candidates are.
The question often comes up during the Special District Election “Who are these people?” These “people” are your neighbors; people in the community that are giving of their time to assist a board perform its duties. These are non-paid positions. Typically the candidates are not going to pay out for signage, television, or other advertising. However, you may contact them. Filing forms are hyperlinked to the names of the filed candidates. You may also contact the districts.
Time to Give
If you want to be involved in your community this is a great way to help out. Depending on the district this is often one meeting a month. If you are able to donate more time for your community, you can sit on more than one board as they are not paid positions. Thank you to all that are able and do donate their time to make our communities function.
Thanks to SDAO (Special Districts Association of Oregon) for their definition of “Special District” https://www.sdao.com/what-is-a-special-district