County commissioners appoint Mark Owens to replace Findley

East Oregonian
January 22, 2020

ONTARIO — Commissioners from Baker, Harney, Grant, Malheur and Lake counties voted unanimously today to appoint Mark Owens, a Harney County farmer, to replace Lynn Findley as representative for Oregon House District 60.

Findley, a Republican from Vale, was appointed earlier this month to replace Cliff Bentz in state Senate District 30.

Bentz resigned to run full time for Greg Walden’s seat in Congress.

“I am thankful and humbled today to have been appointed to serve as the next state representative for House District 60,” Owens said in a press release. “I look forward to serving the communities and being a voice for Eastern Oregon in Salem.”

There were two other candidates for House District 60 — Tom Van Diepen of Baker City, and Tim Smith of Burns.

Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said neither was present when commissioners voted Tuesday in Ontario.

Owens, a Harney County commissioner, filed Nov. 4, 2019, as a candidate for the House District 60 Republican primary in May.

He will be sworn in later this month. The Oregon Legislature convenes Feb. 3 in Salem.

“At the state level, there is a lot of work to be done to protect our way of life in Eastern Oregon and to provide a better path for future generations of Oregonians,” Owens said. “We need to make sustainable natural resources a top priority. Our kids deserve stronger schools and greater opportunities for their career paths. Families need financial stability instead of living paycheck to paycheck and having to worry about the next tax increase coming our way from Salem.

“Most importantly, my top priority and my No. 1 job will be to listen, learn and represent the constituents in Eastern Oregon.”

Mark Owens Announces Campaign for State Representative

By Northwest Spotlight
Oregon Catalyst

Crane, Ore—Today, Republican Mark Owens, local farmer and Harney County Commissioner, announced his candidacy for state representative in Oregon’s House District 60. The seat is currently held by Rep. Lynn Findley (R-Vale) who announced last week he will be running for the Oregon Senate.

“I can’t think of a better place to live, work and raise a family than where we live today, and as the next state representative for eastern Oregon, I will work to make sure we build a sustainable future for the next generation of Oregonians,” said Owens. “Our communities need an advocate in Salem that understands our unique way of life and the challenges we face, and who will make sure opportunities abound for our citizens—I will be that advocate.”

As a teenager, Owens spent his summers working on a ranch in Harney County before he moved to Harney County full time in 2001. His greatest accomplishment was meeting and marrying his wife Celeste who had moved into the area to teach school after college. They were able to start and currently operate an alfalfa ranch and custom haying business. Celeste is an elementary school teacher in Crane and their two children, ages 15 and 11, attend Crane public schools.

Owens was elected to the Harney County Commission in 2016 where his priority has been to ensure Harney County is able to sustain local agriculture while looking for additional business opportunities for the county. The use of natural resources, public lands and protecting our way of life has been and still will be his primary focus.

In addition, he serves as Chair of the Ground Water Study Advisory Committee and liaison for the Oregon Water Resource Department, and as the School Board Chair for Crane Union High School. He has served on numerous commissions, boards and councils to represent eastern Oregon locally and at the state level.

“We have been greatly represented by Representative Findley and Senator Bentz, and it would be an honor to carry on their great work and be a voice for the citizens of Eastern Oregon in the Oregon legislature,” said Owens.

Owens will file his candidacy today and launch his formal campaign this week.