Mayor: Community working as a team

Mayor John Stromberg said Ashland is moving toward a model where citizens take part in creating a strong community, rather than being overly reliant on city government.

During his annual State of the City address delivered on Tuesday, Stromberg pointed to a number of organizations — both new and old — that help support the community.

They range from the well-established Ashland Emergency Food Bank to the new Ashland@Home, a group that wants to help people whose partners have died remain in their homes.

Stromberg said the city government has excellent, hard-working employees, who are helped by many residents who have teamed up with the city on various initiatives.

Volunteers have stepped forward to fight weeds in support of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department's move to organic pesticides.

Faith groups are working to help the homeless, city funds are helping St. Vincent de Paul reach out to help people faced with homelessness and neighbors are donating food to help those less fortunate, among other efforts.

Residents are working to solve community problems, often by reaching out to former foes, Stromberg said.

"You work with your enemies because the future is much more important than the past," he said.

Ashland will need teamwork to face many challenges. Infrastructure projects have been postponed for financial reasons, homelessness persists, and downtown buildings might not be able to withstand earthquakes, Stromberg said.

The community is also dealing with the aftermath of the November murder of David Michael Grubbs, who was nearly decapitated along the Central Ashland Bike Path. The murder remains under investigation.

"We don't know yet what the resolution will be," Stromberg said. "The resolution may be no resolution and living with uncertainty."

But even in the face of the tragedy, Stromberg said community members have been supportive in giving money to reward funds set up to help solve the murder. Residents have also suggested a range of safety improvements, which will be reviewed by the City Council.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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