Eleven vying for planning commission seats

Nine applicants and two incumbents are vying for four open seats on the Ashland Planning Commission.

Two planning commissioners submitted their early resignations recently. Olena Black resigned two months before her term was to end and John Fields resigned two years before his term expired.

Michael Dawkins and Melanie Mindlin, current commissioners whose terms end April 30, are requesting reappointments.

Ashland Mayor John Morrison has said that his policy is not to reappoint commissioners simply because they currently serve on the board.

"I look at them and the other candidates and base my decision on their merits," he said.

Seven of the nine new applicants have some form of land use and planning background, although that's not a requirement for the position.

Laurence Black

Laurence Black is the associate vice president of facilities management and planning at Southern Oregon University. He has a B.A. in architecture and masters in business administration and community and regional planning, all from the University of Nebraska.

Black, who has lived in Ashland for two years, said in his application, "I am a LEED accredited profession and have participated in transportation planning workshops. I have a strong interest in planning issues in Ashland."

Michael Church

Michael Church is a retired municipal planner. He has a B.A. in geography and urban studies from Manchester University in Manchester, England, and a master of philosophy in urban planning from University of Aston, in Birmingham, England. Church, who is currently on the Ashland bike and pedestrian commission, has lived in Ashland since December 2006.

He said in his application, "I have been a career planner for over 30 years and have worked for a community that was planning its downtown, as well as dealing with the issues involved with urban infill. I am also familiar with the issues involved with major revisions to long range plans and implementing codes, all things that I think might well be useful in Ashland."

William Donlon

William Donlon is a maxillo-facial surgeon. He received his biology and medical degrees from Hofstra University, Tufts University and Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Donlon has lived in Ashland four and a half years and said in his application, "I love the history of how (Ashland) developed; my family loves it here and I want to see it prosper for a very long time."

Nicholas Frost

Nicholas Frost works in the Internet sales and marketing field. He attended universities in New York, California and Oregon but has not received a degree.

Frost, who's lived in Ashland for 32 years, ran for an Ashland city council seat in 2006. He said in his application, "I have seen Ashland grow for the better and the worse for 32 years. I wish to help Ashland continue to be the unique community it has been and is today."

Eric Heesacker

Eric Heesacker is a regional planner with Rogue Valley Council Government. He received bachelors in political science and psychology from University of Utah and a master degree in urban planning from Portland State University. Heesacker, who has lived in Ashland seven months, currently serves on Ashland's traffic safety commission. He said on his application, "I believe my professional background as a planner would allow me to make a beneficial, and desired, contribution to my hometown.

Deborah Miller

Deborah Miller is a retired veterinarian technician. She has a B.A. in biological sciences and history from the University of California at Davis. Miller, who's lived in Ashland 32 years, is on the Ashland Chamber of Commerce committee. She said in her application, "We, as a community, must decide what Ashland should be, then help write the policies to achieve that. I'd like to be part of the discussion and implementation of the vision."

John Rinaldi Jr.

John Rinaldi Jr. is semi-retired from the City of Henderson in Nevada where he worked as a property manager and manager of the redevelopment program. He has a bachelor in ornamental horticulture from California Polytechnic Institute and attended several seminars relating to urban development.

Rinaldi, who has lived in Ashland since July 2006, also serves as a tree commissioner. He said in his application, "Having been involved in the planning and development process for a community which was the fasted growing city in the country for several years, I know first hand what benefits and detriments growth brings to a community."

Stephen Ryan

Stephen Ryan owns Resolution Video in Ashland. He earned bachelors in economics and English technical writing from SOU and is currently working on a master in social science.

Ryan has lived in Ashland for four years and said in his application, "I see Ashland and planning in general at a time of transition and hope to help implement a shift away from auto-centric suburban sprawl, toward density that will support the public services that distinguish our American way of life."

Brent Thompson

Brent Thompson previously served as a planning commissioner from 1985 to 1994. He said in his letter of application, "I was also involved with the beginnings of regional planning and with the writing of the transportation planning rule at the state level which was an attempt to give goal 12 of Senate Bill 100 more meaning." Thompson has been an Ashland resident since 1983.

On April 7, Morrison will submit a final list of appointees to be included in the city's agenda packet and the appointments will be confirmed at the April 15 regular Ashland City Council meeting.

Reach reporter at 482-3456 x226 or .

Share This Story