District 1 & 2 Board Candidates Announced

March 28, 2019


Five candidates, including two incumbents, are on the ballot this spring for seats on the Umatilla Electric Cooperative Board of Directors.

UEC’s service area is divided into seven districts. The members of each district elect a director to represent them for a three-year term. Elections are being held this year for Districts 1, representing the Boardman area, and District 2, representing the Irrigon area.

Ballots will be mailed to those district members who are qualified to vote. The ballots are expected to arrive in mailboxes around April 1 for the 3,000 UEC members in Districts 1 and 2.

Results will be announced at the UEC Annual Meeting on April 20, 2019.

District 1

Boardman District – South of the Columbia River, East of Tower Road to Bombing Range Road. District 1 is currently served by Lee Docken.

Lee DockenLee Docken has been a resident of Boardman since 1970. He and his wife, Pam, have been active in community affairs as members of the Boardman Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club of Boardman and the Condon Elks Lodge. Docken has served for a number of years as chairman of the Boardman Planning Commission.

Owning and operating Mountain Valley Land Company Realtors and Vice President of Databar, Inc., Docken has kept actively involved in the development of the local area, which keeps him in constant contact with members’ needs and the Umatilla Electric field crews and office staff.

Docken currently represents District 1 on the Board of Directors for UEC.

Docken has achieved the Credentialed Cooperative Director Program certification and attends the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Director Training Courses.

“A new challenge facing the Cooperative today is the State and Federal mandate for ‘green power,’ ” he said. “The board and staff will continue their commitment of providing all members with reliable service at the lowest possible rates while adhering to this mandate. UEC can achieve this by continuing to be a part of the political issues, transmission issues, the fish and water issues. I would appreciate the opportunity to further serve the members of District 1 by receiving your vote.”

Email leed@eotnet.net; Day phone (541) 481-6251; Cell (541) 571-0062.

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Logan MayfieldLogan Mayfield, a candidate for District 1, has lived in Boardman for a little over four years. In that time, he has integrated himself into the community by volunteering for various activities including the Boardman Rural Fire Protection District; and opening Burnt Field Brewing, a family-friendly pizzeria and brewpub. He was appointed to the Boardman Planning Commission in 2016.

Mayfield is excited to see Boardman grow and wants to help build amenities that will attract a new generation of workers to the area.

“As a small business owner, as well as a resident of Boardman, I want to see Boardman grow,” he said. “Being part of the Board of Directors would allow me to provide input needed to help the area grow. In addition, it would give me the opportunity to network with others in similar positions to gain new insight into the surrounding area.”

 

District 2

Irrigon District – South of the Columbia River, East of Bombing Range Road to the Morrow County line. District 2 is currently represented by Jeff Wenholz.

EppenbachHi, my name is John Eppenbach. I am running for District 2 Director for Umatilla Electric Cooperative. Let me tell you a little about myself.

I was born in a hospital in Pendleton, but my parents lived in Irrigon at the time of my birth. I grew up living in Irrigon and except for a short stint in the Army have lived there all my life. I am married and my wife and I celebrated our 41st anniversary this last winter.

I took a job with the Union Pacific Railroad freshly out of high school until Uncle Sam invited me to go to Fort Eustis, Va., for a stint in the Army. There they trained me to be a gunner that hangs out a doorway from a helicopter. I would have gone to Vietnam to apply my training, but the war ended before I was to leave.

After I was discharged from the Army, I came back to Irrigon and my job at the Union Pacific Railroad. I worked as a section man, section foreman and track inspector for the maintenance of the track. I retired after 41 years and spent my free time working part-time and fixing up cars and pickups.

When my wife retired from the State of Oregon, we decided to start a business of our own. After seeing a Dustless Blasting advertisement on car shows we ordered the equipment and a large air compressor and mounted them on a trailer so that we could be mobile.

We now run an environmentally friendly business that blasts off old paint and debris from metal, wood, cement, brick or fiberglass surfaces so that they can be repainted and sealed. We spend our off-hours and time helping at our church, playing pickleball, bicycling, camping, hiking, boating and fishing.

I want to run for a position on the Board to give some of my time back to the community that I grew up in. I would like to do my part to support our rural electric company in its commitment to improving the quality of life for our communities.

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Brent HulseW. Brent Hulse is a candidate for District 2 Board of Directors. He studied business and economics at Ricks College and Idaho State University and received leadership training with the Army and Navy. He has been a chemical reliability certifier at the Umatilla Chemical Depot, local chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers #365 and president of the American Federation of Government Employees #1417.

“I was raised in Idaho on a small dairy farm. I managed several retail grocery stores and was transferred to Pasco with Albertson’s Stores. I was Potato Farm Manager for U&I Sugar at Prescott, Wash. I moved to Irrigon in 1973 to work with my father, before his passing away in 1974. I went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad and moved to Union, Ore., in 1980. I was elected to the Union City Council, completing all training concerning employees, ordinances for Oregon cities and certified city expenses, along with utility modifications, serving eight years. (I believe in term limits.)

“I returned to Irrigon and started constructing my home in 1995. I worked for the Umatilla Chemical Depot, starting as a security guard and made shift supervisor. Duties included personnel management, trainer for legal responsibilities for security guards, writing guard orders concerning work duties and requirements and dealing with the Army Inspector General, retiring in 2012.

“I have been raised on and around agriculture. I have done the ditch digging, spending long hours flood irrigating the crops, reaping the fields, managing field laborers and securing financing. I also have helped develop plans to assist residents in paying their utilities. I was part of Union’s participation in the development of Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative. I have represented before the National Merit Board for employees who may have been unjustly terminated (Railroad and Merit Board administrators), and represented employees in arbitration.

“I have always been a strong advocate for the common hardworking person who is just trying to get even or a little ahead with life challenges. I firmly believe that water is a renewable means of energy/irrigation and should continue to be advocated. With energy we maintain a means to improve the community and help sustain continuous employment for the next generations.”

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Jeff WenholzJeff Wenholz, a resident of Irrigon for 46 years, graduated from Riverside High School and went to Portland State University, where he majored in accounting while in the University Honors Program. He helps manage the family business Irrigon Mini-Storage and is an owner of Irrigon Motors.

His community involvement includes serving on several local boards and commissions, including Morrow County Planning Commission (Chairman), Morrow County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (Chairman), Morrow County Budget Committee and the Irrigon Multi-Cultural Arts Center (President).

Wenholz has served as the District 2 Director for Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC) for the past 15 years and has served as President and is currently Vice-President of the Board. Said Wenholz, “It has been a pleasure and honor to serve as your Director for Umatilla Electric and with your help I hope to be able to represent District 2 for another three years.”

Wenholz has earned the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate, Board Leadership Certificate and Director Gold Certificate. He was also selected to be on a panel at a national conference for NRECA.

“The past three years have seen UEC’s sales grow 39 percent. This growth, while welcomed, has brought its own challenges, such as a large growth in utility plant. UEC’s total utility plant in service has increased by 34 percent over these last three years. The challenge comes not only in finding ways to pay for the new plant but also in the planning, designing and actual building of the facilities. UEC has been able to accommodate this growth while maintaining some of the lowest electric rates in the state.

“The next few years look to hold more of the same level of growth. This is being driven by the expansion of the data centers, plant expansions at some of UEC’s other industrial members as well as some new irrigation projects that are in the works. These increased sales will necessitate building more substations and miles of electric line to serve these loads.

“While this growth is exciting, UEC’s focus is not just on growth and the ‘shiny new penny.’ While we all want the lowest rates possible, the important thing is to have electricity delivered to you when you need to use it. That is why UEC has spent and will continue to spend millions of dollars maintaining, rebuilding and modernizing our infrastructure to maintain and improve reliability where needed. The UEC Board and staff is committed to taking care of the members that got us to where we are today.

“These are just some of the issues that the Board and Umatilla Electric are and will be dealing with in the future – all while keeping our commitment to the members to supply electricity safely and reliably at the lowest rates possible while maintaining rate stability. So that I may continue to work on behalf of the members of District 2, I am asking for your vote for the Board of Directors for District 2.”