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.”