The Ashland City Council will narrow down the applicant pool at its Tuesday meeting to select a candidate to replace Councilor Greg Lemhouse, who resigned Feb. 6.
The new member will serve until voters choose a representative in November.
Seven people applied for the position, according to the city’s website. The pool includes longtime community members, retiring professionals, city committee members and those who had run for a council seat in the past:
• Anne Cowden, a former university professor from California, said in her application that she has experienced working with budget in different public departments throughout her career of 25 years. She said she wants to continue her lifelong commitment to public service as a councilor. Cowden volunteers at the Ashland Food Bank, Uncle Food’s Diner and Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship programs.
• Jackie Bachman, chair of the ad hoc Senior Center committee and a Housing and Human Services commissioner, retired as a special education director and moved to Ashland three years ago. Bachman said she’s seeking the position to “keep Ashland on the right path” of being fiscally accountable, transparent and accessible to all.
• Theo White, resident of Ashland for 14 years, is a Southern Oregon University academic coach who had run for a council seat twice. White said he’s seeking the council seat to “to escape the Orwellian society we live in today” and help “Ashland become (a) global leader.” White listed “political correctness,” “intolerance,” “lack of political diversity,” “affordable housing,” “sustainability” and “the government’s monopoly on education” as some of the biggest concerns facing the city.
• Tonya Graham currently serves on the Wildlife Mitigation commission and the Ashland School District Bond Committee. Graham’s priorities include addressing the housing crisis, climate change and sustainability. She is involved in Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ, Climate and Energy Action Plan, Nonprofit Association of Oregon, John Muir School, Ashland High School Turf Field Campaign and Senior All Night, according to her application. She applied for the vacant council seat in 2017 which Councilor Traci Darrow is currently holding, which opened up when Pam Marsh was elected to state office.
• George Kramer, a local historic preservation consultant who has lived in the city for 35 years, said his background and past involvement with the city makes him an asset to strengthen the community. Kramer served on Historic Commission in the early 1980s and on committees for the fire station on Ashland Street and City Hall recently. He’s currently the board president of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.
• Mark Haneberg, a Team Ashland member and a local attorney, said he’s seeking the council seat to fight the housing crisis and the “aggressive tactics” used in the local legal system to enable dangerous aspects in housing. Haneberg listed smoke pollution and housing as two of the biggest issues facing the city and said in his application that the primary role of an elected official is to ensure the safety of the community. He also applied for the vacant council seat in 2017.
• Shaun Moran is serving as a citizen member of the budget committee and member of the school district bond committee. He listed fiscal health and sustainability, housing, local economy and climate change as the biggest issues facing the city. Moran also applied for the vacant council seat in 2017 and lost to Darrow by one vote. He serves as a board member of Ashland Emergency Food Bank.
The council will conduct one-on-one interviews after condensing its list of candidates at the March 6 meeting. A new councilor will be appointed at the March 20 meeting and serve until November when the seat will be on the ballot for voters to decide.
— Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.
Lemhouse served as a city councilor for two terms and one year before he announced his resignation.