Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley will be challenged in his efforts for reelection this fall.
St. Helens Police Department Officer Terry Massey announced he would run for the seat on March 10, over social media. Since his announcement, he has raised $8,174 for his $60,000 fundraising goal.
"We are committed to this campaign and have many people supporting it; we are all in to get the message out," Massey said.
The county sheriff is elected every four years. Voters will cast their ballots for the sheriff's race Nov. 28, 2022
Who is Terry Massey?
Massey is a five-year veteran of the St. Helens Police force and a business owner of 20 years.
"Being a business owner has allowed me to grow as an individual," he wrote. "I have developed the essential skills to problem-solve and mitigate conflicts."
In a one-on-one interview with The Chronicle, Massey provides the following example of how being a business owner allows him to navigate conflicts effectively.
"An extremely positive attribute (I have) is my managerial skills and ability to bring people together for a common objective, in this case, the safety and needs of our community," he said. "I was able to go into those new businesses with existing employees, take the time to understand them as people."
"The ability to pull a team of individual entities together relates to my objectives: getting the agencies (city & County) working as a collaborative and cohesive team," he added.
Having grown up in Columbia County, Massey said he "loves the outdoors," and intends to "embrace our expanded community as we grow and ensure the safety and health of our existing citizens."
Bringing back 24-hour policing is a cornerstone of Massey's campaign.
"I find it unacceptable that calls for assistance come in for prowlers, thefts, accidents, and areas outside of St. Helens and there is no one to respond," he wrote, adding, "I look forward to working with the County Commissioners and creating solutions on addressing funding and other obstacles that may be preventing the resources to provide safer communities to our citizens."
In February, an attorney for the St. Helens Police Association wrote a letter requesting staffing relief from the St. Helens City Council.
In part, the letter reads as follows.
“SHPA members are often denied vacations, work straight through their weekends, work two weeks straight without a day off, just so our agency can maintain a minimum of two officers on duty 24/7."
Massey said that one of his first agenda items will be getting the city and county to work as a "collaborative and cohesive team."
St. Helens Police Chief Brian Greenway shared his endorsement for Massey.
"I can think of few people more qualified to serve as the next Columbia County Sheriff than Terry Massey. Terry is an experienced law enforcement officer and the right person to serve as our next Columbia County Sheriff."
To raise awareness for his campaign, Massey is holding a series of fun runs throughout Columbia County.
The runs are split into 3- and 6-mile segments and will begin at 9 a.m. at the designated location.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Massey explained why he is raising $60,000 for his campaign.
"Everything costs money - billboards, Signs, banners, clothing, booths, entries into events, fees for hosting events," he said. "We are committed to this campaign and have many people supporting it; we are all in to get the message out. People don't know what they don't know! The citizens of our communities pay for safe communities; they should start asking questions to ensure they are getting what they pay for."
Accepting the challenge
On Sept. 27, 2021, Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley confirmed his candidacy for re-election.
"It has been an honor to serve as the Columbia County Sheriff since my election in 2019 and I am proud to officially announce that I've filed to run for re-election," he wrote in a social media post. "I have dedicated my career to serving Columbia County and have made great strides in my years as Sheriff. I believe in this work, and there is more still to be done. With your support, I will continue to lead our Sheriff's Office to improve services to residents as well as steadfastly protect our constitutional rights."
In an interview with The Chronicle, Pixley said he has been fighting for 24/7 policing throughout his term by "making pleas to the Columbia County Board of Commissioners," and "backing up requests with statistics and studies that highlight the need for additional patrol staff."
"CCSO has been chronically underfunded, and I continue to work toward the goal of around-the-clock patrol staffing," he said. "However, this funding requires support from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)."
According to Pixley, CCSO has successfully added new officer positions each year, adding an officer position in Clatskanie and entering into a partial policing contract with Vernonia.
Pixley vows to continue advocating more police staffing if he is reelected.
"Securing around-the-clock coverage for CCSO patrol has always been a priority for me and will continue to be until the BOCC provides adequate funding," he said.
Pixley has accomplished many of his objectives over the years.
Under Pixley's watch, CCSO was appointed as the leading agency on the major crimes team.
During his tenure, he added K9 Search and Rescue teams to the police force, increased the presence of deputies in Columbia County, implemented a drone program, and with the support of Columbia County Mental Health and the Columbia County Circuit Court, launched the "Bridge the Gap" program, to assist in "reintegrating adults in custody and intervening in the cycle of criminality."
Read more about the two candidates in the Oregon Voters Pamphlet.