Heyen, Chandragiri, Bethell win Salem-Keizer board seats; Polk County approves public safety levy

The Salem-Keizer School Board will have two fresh faces after challenger Danielle Bethell unseated longtime board member Chuck Lee in Tuesday’s election.

Incumbent Marty Heyen kept her seat against challenger Raul Marquez, a recent McKay High School graduate.

Psychiatrist Satya Chandragiri won the race for an open seat in zone 4 against David Salinas, an electrician and Sprague High School parent.

Bethell, the Keizer Chamber of Commerce director, will replace Lee, who was seeking a fourth term.

The results mean the new board will be relatively inexperienced, with five of its seven members serving a first term. Heyen will begin her second term, and sitting board member Paul Kyllo is halfway through a second term.

The race was far more expensive than school board elections in 2017, with unions, Oregon Right to Life and other interest groups spending tens of thousands of dollars.

Voter turnout was low countywide, with just 19 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

READ: In nonpartisan Salem-Keizer school board races, interest groups spend thousands

In Polk County, voters approved a $3-million-per-year public safety levy which would run through 2024. It overlaps for one year with an existing levy that’s scheduled to sunset next year.

County officials said the overlap would allow them to retain staff who are hired on with levy funds, including prosecutors and deputies. Sheriff Mark Garton told Salem Reporter earlier this year he’d be able to add another deputy.

About two-thirds of voters, or 8,860 people, voted for the levy.

Diane Watson will keep her seat on the Chemeketa Community College Board of Education in the board’s first contested race since 2013. She led challenger Art Witkowski by nearly 700 votes.

Vote totals (school board races include Marion and Polk County)

Salem-Keizer School Board, zone 2

Marty Heyen – 54% (16,631 votes)

Raul Marquez – 46% (14,171 votes)

Salem-Keizer School Board, zone 4

Satya Chandragiri – 52% (16,225 votes)

David Salinas – 47% (14,625 votes)

Salem-Keizer School Board, zone 6

Chuck Lee – 46% (14,238 votes)

Danielle Bethell – 54% (16,796 votes)

Polk County public safety levy

Yes – 68% (10,440 votes)

No – 32% (4,829 votes)

Chemeketa Community College Board of Education, zone 6

Art Witkowski – 34% (2,593 votes)

Diane Watson – 44% (3,345 votes)

Reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.