February 04, 2002 11:00 pm

By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Five positions on the La Grande City Council, counting that of mayor, are up for election in the May 21 primary.

All but one of the incumbents have said they will seek re-election.

Councilor Doyle Slater, a retired Eastern Oregon University professor, wont run again, saying, I have some personal interests to pursue over the next few years that will detract from my service on the council.

Those seeking re-election will be Mayor Colleen Johnson and councilors Dana Wright, Joel Goldstein and Steve Clements. The mayors and Wrights positions are for two years, the other councilors for four.

The primary election will nominate candidates to be on the ballot in November if three or more candidates file for a particular position. If two or fewer file for a position, their names will be placed only on the November ballot.

Wrights position is for a two-year term for this election only. The purpose is to adjust the council rotation for future election years so that not so many seats come up for election at the same time.

Johnson was first elected mayor in 1998 and re-elected in 2000.

The positions held by councilors John Bozarth and Doug Winn are not up for election this year.

Slater called his term on the council and previously on the La Grande City Planning Commission invaluable learning experiences about local government. I appreciate the opportunity for service extended to me by the citizens of La Grande.

He said he was making his announcement now to encourage others to think about running.

I urge citizens to step forward and consider making a contribution of their time and talents on the La Grande City Council.

It is a good time to lend a hand. It is important that we have a varied slate of candidates to enable citizens to measure qualifications and carefully select a person for the council who will give balance and expertise and who will advance the interests of the city, Slater said.

Anyone who wants to run for any of the positions can pick up petitions at the city recorders office on the second floor of City Hall. They must be returned by 5 p.m. March 21.

Incumbents for mayor and council positions have to return their petitions by 5 p.m. Feb. 12, according to city ordinance, but all except Slater have indicated they will do so, said City Recorder Sandy Lund. Anyone with questions can call Lund at 962-1309.