February 28, 2019
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 Clay Bearnson, Kay Brooks, Tim D’Alessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski (arrived at 7:03 p.m.); City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Goal Setting Session
Megan Davis Lightman opened the meeting by discussing Council’s current ground rules. Council provided feedback on the rules they believed were most significant and why.
Council provided their goals, vision and areas of improvement for Medford during the next 15-20 years:
• Downtown area
o Area should double or triple in size
o College should double or triple in size
o More walkable and livable downtown
o Downtown market, Saturday market or growers market
o No car lots
o Mixed use zoning
o Encourage downtown housing; housing upstairs and stores downstairs
o Active and alive both day and night
o Additional restaurants and grocery stores
o Skyscrapers; buildings more than 3 or 4 stories with housing and businesses combined
o Transit plaza without vehicular traffic
o Improve aesthetics of City entrances and along both Central and Riverside
o Additional recycling and trash receptacles to keep Medford clean
o Improved safety through police presence and increased lighting
o Become the educational, cultural, and social hub of the City
o Create a downtown master plan that promotes development through zone changes throughout Medford
o Become a destination city; drive people to move here, visit here, live here
o Create walkable districts with connectivity
o Increased pride in our community; create City theme and logo clothing
• Bear Creek
o More pedestrian bridges across Bear Creek
o Bear Creek should be an asset
o Beautify so that businesses wanted the creek view
o Create parkways and walkways along the creek; a promenade
o Dedicate funds to improve/revive the Greenway to support recreational use by citizens
o Improve safety with the installation of cameras with police patrolling through walking, cycling, or using horses, etc.
o Increased number of trash receptacles; keep it clean
o Housing for all income brackets that provides connectivity to parks and public areas
o Creative with housing developments: cottages, clusters surrounding a park like center, mixed uses, living communities, multigenerational, built with common living areas
o Promote livability attributes
• Improved public infrastructure
o Swimming area, pool, splash parks
o Event Center
o Develop Wes Howard Park
o More public areas for activities and entertainment
o Provide afterhours activities for children
• Liberty Park area to be its own community
o Centralized location is ideal for workforce housing
o Acquire liberty park properties along the creek for future development/enhancement
• Urban Renewal
o Use urban renewal agency to assemble land downtown
o Create new urban renewal districts, perhaps a warehouse district; from Stewart or Barnett down Central and Riverside to McAndrews
• Children should want to stay in the area
• Use urban growth boundary buildout to create walkable/livable areas
• Engage the quality of life
• Create key overarching areas
• Increase partnerships with local agencies with the goal of improving Medford
• Collaborate to provide wraparound social services
• Improve area employment; provide economic stability
• Decrease our risk of wildfires
Council then ranked their goals. The top 10 in order of priority were:
1. Bear Creek Greenway
2. Aquatic Center
3. Continuum of Care
4. Creating a Community Vision with Stakeholders
5. Event Center
6. Develop Project List for Current MURA
7. Public/Private Partnerships for Downtown Housing & Retail
8. Downtown Housing
9. Additional URA Districts
10. Collaborate with SOREDI on Economic Strategy
City Manager Brian Sjothun distributed the City of Hillsboro’s 2035 Plan. Council considered drafting a new downtown plan. Multiple Councilmembers voiced concerns about following and using a plan, as previous plans have been perceived to have failed; Council requested staff locate and review previous strategic plans, downtown plans, the Bear Creek Master Plan, etc. to determine why they were not fully implemented.
Extensive discussion regarding accomplishing the goals outlined in a plan, creating achievable goals, establishing committees, working with multiple agencies, etc.
Council then outlined a variety of potential funding options, including a food and beverage tax, gas tax, bonds, a new MURA district, etc. After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Sjothun suggested establishing priorities before determining the funding.
Review of 2017-2019 Completed Council Goals and determination of 2019-2021 Goals
Each Councilmember ranked their preferred goals; selecting their first, second and third place priorities. The top three items were the Bear Creek Greenway, Continuum of Care, and the Aquatics facility.
Council then considered how to effectively promote Medford’s economic development. Mr. Sjothun explained that he was working directly with SOREDI, which is working with state legislators to obtain funding to create a collaborative, regional economic strategy. After the group is established, the City will need to hold them accountable.
Mr. Sjothun briefly spoke about understanding the importance of working to achieve a unified approach between the Council and staff, noting:
• Council and staff should work collaboratively to achieve the goals established by Council
• Both Council and staff should seek understanding rather than criticism
• Staff will provide Council with complete reports and recommendations and follow Council’s direction to the best of their ability
He reminded Council that the staff, community members and prospective investors are watching Council meetings. They listen to Council’s comments, concerns and opinions, and how they collectively problem solve to create solutions.
Ms. Davis and Mr. Sjothun advised that staff will consolidate and organize Council’s vision and goals to eventually use for budget purposes and incorporation into the biennial goals.
Council again discussed improving the Greenway. Perhaps use MURA to tie into the Greenway and Liberty Park.
The meeting adjourned at 8:13 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder