Defining values in Ashland

The Community Dialogue Committee will host a public forum to define community values at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Residents will be paired up at the start of the event to interview each other about the values that should guide the political process and Ashland's future. The pairs will share what they learned in roundtable discussions, with the results then presented to the group as a whole. The evening will conclude at 9:30 p.m.

The format, which deviates from a typical panel discussion by invited guests or individuals speaking before a crowd, will allow a broader range of people to share their views, said Dennis Slattery, a professor in Southern Oregon University's School of Business and a member of the Community Dialogue Committee.

"We want to hear from the 'regular' Ashland person," he said. "People have such a wide range of abilities. The citizenry has great ideas. We want to give them an opportunity for input. Our purpose is to bring out people you don't hear from all the time."

Slattery said the Community Dialogue Group hopes the community can develop a set of values and convince local political candidates to pledge to live by those values. Members hope the values will also be reflected in political discussions.

Seats will be up for election in November on the City Council. Additionally, Mayor John Morrison has said he will not run for reelection. Instead, he is seeking a position on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

The Community Dialogue Group formed more than a year ago and has held two previous public forums, including one on community policing.

The group is a subcommittee of the Ashland Coalition, which includes representatives from the public, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University, the Ashland School District, Ashland Community Hospital, Community Works and the faith community.

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