Park City Council campaign draws a diverse field |

Park City Council campaign draws a diverse field


Update: According to Park City Recorder Marci Heil, on Thursday afternoon candidate Mark Blue withdrew his candidacy which means there will not be a primary election in August.

Five people filed campaign paperwork at City Hall on Monday, which would have forced a primary in the Park City Council contest to whittle down a diverse field that included one incumbent and a diverse group of seven others.

The candidates who filed paperwork on Monday were:


  • Josh Hobson, a Thaynes Canyon resident who is a sous chef


  • Rory Murphy, a developer who lives in Prospector


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  • Hope Melville, an Old Town resident who is a member of the Historic Preservation Board, which is City Hall’s Old Town panel


  • Dan Portwood, a Park Meadows resident who unsuccessfully sought the mayor’s office in 2009


  • Mark Blue, who unsuccessfully campaigned for the City Council four times between 2001 and 2009. He lives in Old Town.

    They joined incumbent City Councilman Andy Beerman, Becca Gerber, who has experience in the private and not-for-profit sectors, and Planning Commissioner Nann Worel.

    With a field of eight candidates a primary would have been held on Aug. 11 to reduce the field to six for Election Day in November.

    Prior to Blue’s withdrawal, Josh Hobson voluntarily ended his candidacy when it was determined that he did not live within the city limits.

    The people who filed paperwork on Monday had not publicly signaled their intention to do so prior to arriving at City Hall.

    The field offers Park City voters a wide range of choices to advance to the ballot for Election Day.

    Beerman and Worel hold important positions in the municipal government already. Gerber, a member of City Hall’s Recreation Advisory Board, and Melville, who is a member of the Historic Preservation Board, hold appointed posts in the municipal government. Murphy once served on the Planning Commission and is currently the chairman of a Park City School District steering committee that is considering school development issues.

    The other candidates, meanwhile, present alternatives to what has been a traditional pathway to elected office in Park City involving service on City Hall’s boards and commissions. Portwood, though, would  need to increase name recognition in the matter of weeks as he competes against the others for a spot on the November ballot. Blue and Portwood garnered little voter support in their previous campaigns while Hobson is a newcomer.

    A woman who lives in the Snyderville Basin, Morgan Irvin, filed campaign paperwork last week at City Hall but later withdrew the declaration of candidacy since she is not eligible to seek elected office in Park City. Someone must be a Park City resident for at least 12 consecutive months prior to an election to qualify as a candidate.

    The election is expected to center on similar issues as those over the past 20-plus years. The broad ideal of growth remains the overarching issue in Park City, encompassing related topics like development, traffic and the environment.

    The candidates will almost certainly address each of the topics at some level. There will likely be discussion about the future of Old Town, proposals to reduce the number of motorists on Park City roads and ideas for housing options.

    The various platforms will also likely involve issues like the business environment along Main Street, ideas about the redevelopment of the Bonanza Park district, alternative transportation options and protecting the environment.

    The filings on Monday followed retirement announcements last week from two incumbents whose City Council seats are on the ballot this year. Dick Peek said he will not seek re-election after serving one full term and a part of another one. Liza Simpson is not seeking a third term. Simpson said it is "important to give other people a chance to serve" as she described her decision to retire. Peek said "the citizens of Park City will come forward and serve."

    The City Council seats held by Cindy Matsumoto and Tim Henney are not on the ballot in 2015. The mayor’s office is also not on the ballot.