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Agenda & Minutes

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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 22, 2019                                       

6:00 P.M.                                                                               
Medford City Hall, Medford Room
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon

The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room of Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Kay Brooks (arrived 6:10 p.m.), Tim D’Alessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski (arrived at 6:05 p.m.); City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Manager Eric Zimmerman, City Attorney Lori Cooper, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Councilmember Clay Bearnson was absent.
Charter Review
City Manager Brian Sjothun provided a brief history of the review and revisions to Medford’s Charter; the last revision was more than 20 years ago.
Through his research, he found that cities typically review and revise their Charter on a schedule, using a standard or ad hoc review committee. If the City Council chose to establish a review committee, Mr. Sjothun proposed the following options for member appointment:
  • Option A – Use the current boards and commissions process
    • Citizens complete an application, are interview and appointed by the City Council
    • Equal representation from each Ward
    • Appoint at least two Council Liaison members
  • Option B – Use boards and commissions application process
    • Citizens complete an application, are interview and appointed by the City Council
    • One citizen member from each Ward
    • Appoint two Council Liaison members
    • Special Categories (one from each)
      • Business, Non-Profit, Education and Health Care
  • Option C – Appoint members from existing boards and commissions with Council Liaisons
    • Appoint standing members from Planning, Transportation, Budget, Parks and Recreation, Housing, Police and Water
    • Appoint two Council Liaison members
Mr. Sjothun advised that Charter amendments require voter approval and each revision is listed separately on the ballot. 
Council did not object to a review of the Charter.
Council Comments/Questions:
Councilmember Stine preferred each Councilmember and the Mayor select one or two people from their Ward without applications or interviews. 
He recommended holding public meetings or hearings to allow citizen input and that Council provide direction to committee members during a study session.
Councilmember D’Alessandro preferred Option C as Council has interviewed most of the standing members and then appoint a few community members to create a committee of about eight to 10 members. 
Councilmember Stark suggested combining Option C with Option B and limiting citizen members to those with specific experience.
Councilmembers Stark and D’Alessandro recommended a Council conduct a formal interview process to ensure qualified people were appointed.
Mr. Sjothun suggested that staff create a Ward map noting the applicants’ residences to guarantee representation from every Ward. 
After discussion, Mayor Wheeler clarified that Council would like:
  • One representative from each Ward to be selected from current Planning, Transportation, Budget, Parks and Recreation, Housing, Police and Water members (combination of Options B and C)
  • Recruit citizens to serve as business, non-profit, education, healthcare and housing/building development representatives; and
  • Two Councilmembers
  • Committee created through a resolution 
Mr. Sjothun noted that appointing a member from each of the above commissions/committees, plus one from each Ward, plus two Councilmembers would create a review committee of 13 members.
Council then indicated they did not necessarily need one representative from each commission/committee referenced.  It was most important to have at least one representative from each Ward to be selected from those commissions/committees.
Councilmember Stark recommended the Councilmembers from each Ward select a representative from the listed commissions/committees.  This would create four positions, then a representative from each Ward which would not necessarily be selected from the existing commissions/committees.  This would create a committee of 10, with the two non-voting Councilmembers.
Councilmember Brooks suggested all applicants apply and be considered; Council could select representatives for the five areas. 
Councilmember Gordon recommended all applicants have at least two years of experience with City government.  Restricting applicants to standing commissions/committees and those with specific backgrounds would eliminate qualified applicants, such as former Councilmembers and Mayors as well as community leaders.  He agreed with Councilmember Stine that each Councilmember select members, but preferred that each potential member be considered and appointed through a formal vote of the Council.
Mr. Sjothun clarified that Council was directing staff to:
  • Prepare a formal resolution for the second meeting in September
  • Resolution would include these parameters for eligibility
    • Current member of a the committees/commissions mentioned
    • Include two members from each Ward
Councilmember Poythress did not prefer regularly scheduled reviews of the Charter; the Charter should be reviewed and revised as needed.
Mayor Wheeler noted that Council hadn’t reviewed the Charter as a group. 
Mr. Sjothun to bring the matter back to the Council during the September 19 meeting, with an Agenda Item Commentary in the City Manager’s report.
Legislative Review
State Lobbyist Cindy Robert provided an overview of the ending Legislative Session.  Representative Kim Wallan was present and provided input during the update.  Ms. Robert briefly outlined the topics in her report: 
  • Corporate Tax Increase
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Plastic Bag and Straw Bans
  • Clean Diesel
  • Rent Control
  • PERS Changes
  • SJR 18 Campaign Finance Reform Potential
She advised that the City was unable to secure financing for SOREDI’s economic development study and planning the event center. 
Ms. Robert spoke about the approval efforts for HB2916 which revised restrictions for transitional housing/urban campgrounds.  This project involved many agencies and meetings; the bill passed. There are no longer any restrictions on the number of transitional housing locations within cities, with the approval of local government.
She noted that Medford is doing more than many other cities for to provide housing for all income levels, SDC reductions and changing zoning to allow multifamily building in a variety of areas. 
Representative Kim Wallan, a former Councilmember, and Ms. Robert spoke about the separation of southern Oregon from the rest of the state. Officials refer to our area as rural, but Medford has urban concerns.  Ms. Wallan appreciated that Jackson County and local cities have always work together to find creative ways to manage the loss of timber funds to fund local government.
Councilmember Stark requested additional information on previous funds received for the convention center.  Ms. Robert advised that the City previously received $100,000 to conduct a study to determine whether our area should have a convention center.  The study indicated the area would benefit from an event center versus a convention center.  During this year’s session, the City was denied the funding to move forward with the planning process.  Mr. Sjothun spoke with Senator Golden about the funding to plan the event center.   Senator Gordon indicated he would attempt to obtain funding again. 
Ms. Robert did not believe the recent Kate Brown recall petitions would be successful. There were two petitions being circulated at the same time, which limits the number of signatures per petition.
The meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder

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