Eagle Point voters have choices for mayor and council

Initially we believed we would run all political data in the Oct. 26 edition. While much of it will be there, we are going to feature Eagle Point candidates in this edition with a briefer summary in the Oct. 26 issue.  Our opinion will be in the Oct. 26 issue, as well.

This information is gathered from one-on-one interviews and from the Candidates Forum held Oct. 11 in Eagle Point.

Candidates for Mayor are Bob Russell and Rick Tree.

Bob Russell- Five year Eagle Point resident, with his wife, owners Butte Creek Mill and Butte Creek Antique Store.  Prior to moving to Eagle Point he was a district sales manager for 15 years for copy, fax, print industry; and prior to that in sales management and marketing. He has been a member of the Eagle Point Economic Development 4+ years, now vice-chair and vice-president Eagle Point/Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce. Graduate Oregon State University, degree in business administration.

His #1 concern is safety, trying to get kids safe passage to school. He said the “Russell style” will be one of moving forward, with an agenda of specifics to accomplish. He says he will hold people accountable. Russell said he sees communities smaller than Eagle Point that have improved their downtown, some through urban renewal. “If it has to be three blocks at a time, so be it.”

Russell believes the city should bend over backwards, perhaps forgo fees to get the downtown gaps filled.
He is interested in learning what has worked and what has not worked. A priority is a river walk that he wants to accomplish during his two-year term. Phase I could be from the Covered Bridge to the Mill, eventually taking it upstream to the fish ladder.

Russell wants things for kids, sees no reason why there can’t be  tennis courts. He wants to learn the  process to get a bus line into Eagle Point and get Eagle Point signs on I-5. If elected mayor, he wants to visit with each city employee.

“I’m not as patient sometimes as I might be, but I love this community and think it could be better.

Rick Tree- Resident of Eagle Point for about 20 years. He has been with Qwest for 36 years. City Council-4 yrs., Planning Commission-2 yrs., Roots & Wings Development, board of directors, 2 yrs., Ore-Cal Seniors Golf Assn., board of directors- 2 yrs. and 14 yrs, on 4th July Committee. Tree attended Ferris State College, studied graphic arts; Red Rocks Community College, solar engineering and University of  Denver, CATV/fiber.

Wants city safer for kids, this includes sidewalks and bike paths. Wants a better relation with the school district and wants to develop a method to get youth involved.  He sees need for more volunteers and believes they could be used to clean the creek.

Tree feels city should look at fixing one street a year. Tree also feels schools need to look at what’s best for kids, not what’s good for me. And he would like to see the city coordinate with schools on tennis court using school property and city funds for construction. He noted that there was a similar effort for a couple of years but fell by the wayside.

His main focus if elected Mayor would be to see that the city saves money, looks into solar energy and he believes it won’t be too many years before the city administrator will retire and council will have big shoes to fill.

Tree believes voters should make him mayor because of his experience on the planning commission and city council and with EPCA. “Bob is a good guy, but needs experience to be on the council.”

Eagle Point City Council Candidates   

Jonathan Bilden- General Manager, High Point Management. He is a graduate of EPHS, attended SOU and RCC. He spent four years on the D9 School Board and served as its chairman. He has been on the Eagle Point Budget Committee, Economic Development, and on a county roads committee. He is president of Eagle Point Rotary, on the board of directors of the D-9 Foundation, President-elect for the Eagle Point/Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce,  on the board of directors of So. Oregon Head Start, on the leadership committee for Children’s Miracle Network and is doing some consulting through his business for some political candidates. Bilden said some of his commitments will conclude at the end of this year.

He believes people his age need to have a voice. His #1 concern is the financial situation the city is facing. He wants to see pathways finished and connected to the golf course, more parks and bus service to Eagle Point.

Bilden would like to see the Main St. side of the city’s property turned into an amphitheater at least until funds are available to do a community center. He believes partnering with various civic groups could make the amphitheater a reality.

Connecting walkways and continuing to involve many in community activities is a way to unit the community, said Bilden.

If elected, Bilden believes the focus should be on infrastructure, parks and connectivity.

Ruth Jenks- She has lived in Eagle Point for about nine years and is retired from Shaklee Corporation where she spent 20 years in management. She has developed software for small business owners and opened new customer service operations worldwide. She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Jenks served as president of Eagle Point Homeowners Association at the Eagle Point Golf Community. She has prior experience with National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, has done work with children, SMART, Master Gardeners and Eagle Point 4th of July children’s games.

Her #1 concern when we initially interviewed her was to see the council and city remove obstacles. She said the community has the perception the city raises obstacles for new businesses. She said City Administrator Dave Hussell regards cutbacks as an obstacle.  At the Candidate’s Fair, Jenks said the biggest hurdle involved looking at a different way to do the downtown, perhaps forming a special district for funding.

She feels volunteers could help the city staff and that bus service is needed. Jenks offered an idea that did not originate with her, but that she supports, as a way to unite the community and that would be a celebratory meeting. It would be outside the council chambers, with all councilors in attendance where everyone had opportunity to speak their mind.

She lists her focus on sidewalks, police cars that are aging out, a water fountain park for kids and the need for a renewal project for downtown.

Jenks said she is relentless, but comes to the council with an open mind on what is best for the entire city.

Kathy Sell- Kathy Sell has lived in the community for 22 years. She and her husband own Valley Feed & Pet Supply in Eagle Point. She went to Southern Oregon University for a year. Sell is a member of the Eagle Point Economic Commission and is on the board of directors of the Eagle Point/Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce. She has a seasonal position as a contract administrator for Forest Capital Partners; and runs the Cub Scout camp at Lake of the Woods every summer, and has for 10 years. The camp involves hiring some 30 teens and overseeing about 500 young boys during  the six week summer program. She also is the production manager for the Upper Rogue Independent.

Entertainment for families and youth and bus service to and from Eagle Point are the biggest needs and biggest hurdle for Eagle Point, in Sell’s opinion.  She sees bus service as an opportunity for people to come to Eagle Point, especially those in White City who could shop at Wal-Mart and have other services offered in the community.

Sell believes it is important that the council and city think ahead in the management of natural resources.

If elected she believes the focus should be on public safety, economic development and getting funding for economic development.

Leon Sherman- Term limits prevent Sherman from running for a third term as mayor, but he says there are things he wants to see finished so decided to change chairs and become a councilor, voters permitting.

Sherman went to RCC for two years and to SOU for one year. He spent 22 years as an officer and then chief of police in Eagle Point, four years with the sheriff’s department and five years driving a log truck. After retiring as police chief he bec
ame a member of the city council for four years and just finished eight years as mayor. He has been on the 4th of July committee for 35 years, 31 years as a member of the EP Community Association, 17 years with the  Medford Jazz Jubilee, of which 11 were spent as a member of the board of directors. He is serving his second term on the board of directors of the League of Oregon Cities.

He sees the greatest hurdle for the city trying to maintain service and determining where cuts will have to be made. He feels the focus for the foreseeable future needs to be on retaining franchise fees and paying attention to the needs of tomorrow.

Sherman feels events like working on the July 4th activities will help unite the community.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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