Time to vote: Friday is the last day to mail in your ballot for the May 20 election; after that, plan to deliver it yourself

The votes will be counted on May 20.

On that date, Hood River County Primary Election ballots will be counted by the County Elections Department.

Ballots must be mailed or hand-delivered to polling places in Hood River or Cascade Locks, and arrive by 8 p.m. May 20. Postmarks don’t count; election workers must have the ballots in hand by 8 p.m.

That means that May 16 is the last day a voter can mail a ballot, and be sure it will arrive by Tuesday, according to county Elections officials. As of Friday, it’s a good idea to deliver the ballot yourself, to the County Building in Hood River or Cascade Locks City Hall.

Keep in mind that construction on State Street at Sixth complicates access to the County Building. Crews work to preserve access but at times heavy equipment blocks parking areas at the intersection. You can drop your ballot in the street-level drop box or in the third-floor Elections office.

Also, remember to sign your ballot envelope and only your ballot envelope; a signature by any other person could invalidate that vote.

The ballot contains mostly uncontested races, setting the stage for November General contests for such positions as Oregon House and Senate seats.

But in the Primary, voters will choose between two Democratic candidates for governor: incumbent John Kitzhaber and Ifeanyichukwy C. Diru, and Republicans Bruce Cuff, Gordon Challstrom, Tim Carr, Dennis Richardson, Mae Rafferty and Darren Karr.

Challenging Sen. Jeff Merkley for the Democratic nomination are Pavel Goberman and William Byrk, while on the Republican side, one of five candidates will advance to the general: Monica Wehby, Jo Rae Perkins, Mark Callahan, Timothy Crawley and Jason Conger.

The only measure on the ballot is for Cascade Locks residents, and it concerns Ordinance 431: Voters there will be asked to ratify, or not, the ordinance that creates an Emergency Medical Services fee to fund emergency medical services by the city’s fire department. The fee would be collected via city utility bills, and would not exceed $6 per month for residential customers. The fees could only be used for services within the city’s ambulance service area.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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