Meet the Douglas Electric Board Candidates

District 1 board position: This district can generally be described as Camas Valley, Tenmile, Olalla, Porter Creek, and Reston areas.

District 1 Board Candidate, Incumbent Terry Nelson

Terry Nelson headshotThe learning experiences of being on the Douglas Electric Board continue to energize Terry Nelson.

“I’m always learning things I didn’t know and understand before,” he says.

Terry, 66, is a 27-year member of the board and was board president for 15 years before leaving the position in 2016.

“I like the work we do,” he says. “It affects all of my neighbors, it affects my whole community. The staff at Douglas Electric is excellent to work with. It’s very professional. The board is very professional and cordial. It’s a pleasure to work on a team that does good for the community.

“The board members care about the co-op’s members and give their time to study the issues. I believe if any of our members were sitting in my seat, the majority of them would make the same decisions I have.”

Terry says one of the board’s ongoing goals is to continue to keep power coming to the co-op’s members at a low cost.

“Technology keeps changing the equipment we use, but the focus will always be delivering electricity efficiently and at a low cost,” he says. “It’s more complicated than it used to be, but that remains a goal.”

Terry says another goal of the board and the co-op is to do what is possible to prevent wildfires and the potential for loss of life and property.

“The focus of the board is to work at ways to lower the risk of wildfires,” Terry says.

He says tree trimming in the rights-of-way has increased, more lines are being buried when feasible and mobile water tanks are accompanying crews on their outside jobs.

The co-op informs Douglas Forest Protective Association when crews are working in dry areas. The co-op also has the option of temporarily shutting off power during severe hot weather or a windstorm when a spark from a line might start a fire.

“I like the challenge of being on the board,” says Terry, who is an electrical engineer and a longtime resident of Camas Valley. “It fits very well with my profession.”

Terry earned a degree in engineering physics at Oregon State University. He graduated in 1977.

He and his wife, Monika, have been married 40 years. They have four children and six grandchildren.

District 2 board position: This district can generally be described as Lookingglass, Happy Valley, Flournoy Valley, San Souci and part of Melrose, south of Doerner Road.

District 2 Board Candidate, Incumbent Evan Barnes

Evan Barnes headshotEvan has been the Douglas Electric Cooperative board president for the past six years. He is proud of the accomplishments the board and co-op have made during that time.

Evan says when he first walked into the old DEC headquarters building, he could see it needed to be replaced.

Construction on a new building is underway, with completion expected in August.

“It was seismically unsafe,” he says. “It no longer fit the needs of the co-op. It was highly inefficient, and it was not a beacon for attracting new talent.”

Evan says the wildfire threat is an ongoing concern for the board and co-op.

“Whether it’s a bird strike or a branch, any spark coming off the wire can produce a fire and something horrible,” he says, adding that the co-op hired a forester to identify potentially hazardous trees and that rights-of-way clearing has increased.

Evan says, “Our motto is to keep the power on,” but the co-op can shut off the power temporarily when low humidity, high temperatures and high winds create a hazard and potential for a spark and a wildfire.

He says negotiations are underway regarding the power purchase agreement with Bonneville Power Administration that is up for renewal in 2028.

These challenges are not insurmountable, Evan says, but it will take a thoughtful approach to deal with each issue. He has participated on both local and state teams that have addressed these issues.

Evan says he is ecstatic with the growth of Douglas Fast Net.

With a long career in construction contracting and a strong interest in the utility industry, Evan believes he can continue to be a productive asset to the DEC board and its members. He is the district manager for the Lookingglass Olalla Water Control District and is a volunteer fireman/EMT and department treasurer, 4-H woodworking instructor, and a Lookingglass Grange member.

Evan has been a board member for the Douglas County chapter of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association since 2012. He and his wife, Lorreen, were recognized as the county’s 2021 Tree Farmers of the Year for their commitment to managing their woodlands. The couple have four children and six grandchildren.

Email questions to Evan.