County commissioners to meet at Ashland High School

When Ashland High School agreed to play host for the Jackson County Commissioners' monthly meeting on Wednesday morning, staff didn't expect to also be the site of a planned protest of a proposed land-use ordinance by Measure 37 claimants.

More than 100 citizens plan on making the drive to Ashland to protest an ordinance that could limit their rights to develop land. Under Measure 37, landowners could get restrictions on development waived if they purchased the land before the restricting laws were enacted. The new ordinance being considered by commissioners under Measure 49, meant to be a "fix" to Measure 37, would limit the number of citizens benefiting from such waivers.

"I think citizens have a right to have a voice, and it just happens to be on Ashland High School's campus," said Principal Jeff Schlecht. "I don't foresee these citizens disrupting our educational environment and one of the positives would be for our social studies classes trying to understand the responsibility of Jackson County government with First Amendment rights of citizens. We can turn this into a great lesson in current civics."

Schlecht said he agreed to host the meeting because the school was promised an hour of live television to showcase their school on RVTV after the meeting ends.

The commissioners, who usually meet in Medford, periodically move their meetings so more people from around the county will attend, a county official said.

"They asked us if we would host, and I thought 'What a great idea,'" Schlechtsaid. "I'm hoping we still get our hour."

High school staff got practice dealing with unexpected situations today, because the senior class coincidentally chose this morning to pull a class prank, covering the quad with a thick layer of hay. Schlecht got the situation under control by recruiting students to help sweep up the mess, he said.

"I just said, 'You know what? I only have one custodian. We need some volunteers,'" he said. "We must have had 150 kids out here sweeping."

After the protest and commission meeting on Wednesday, the drama department plans to perform scenes from "Beauty and the Beast," and students from the Wilderness Charter School, virtual enterprise class and woodworking class will also make presentations, Schlecht said.

Student body co-presidents Josh Houghton and Daniel Cropper will emcee the event and try to show what distinguishes their school.

"I think the majority of the students are very proud and very enthusiastic about being an AHS student, which I think is unique," Houghton said.

Students will not be required to attend the meeting, but teachers will have the option of attending with their classes.

In addition to the proposed ordinance under Measure 37, commissioners will also address the governor's task force on federal forest payments and a county contract with Centric Elevator Corporation of Oregon. The televised meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at the school theater on Mountain Avenue.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

Share This Story