In some communities, a city council vacancy is greeted with yawns and general disinterest, and the council might end up with two or three candidates applying to fill the vacancy. Not in Ashland.
No fewer than seven hopefuls have put their names forward for consideration to replace Councilor Greg Lemhouse, who resigned Feb. 6. Nearly all have experience volunteering in a variety of public service roles, and several have applied for council vacancies in the past or run for a seat.
Ann Cowden, a former university professor, has budget experience and volunteers with the Ashland Emergency Food Bank — one of three applicants involved with the food bank. Jackie Bachman chairs the Ad Hoc Senior Center Advisory Committee. Tonya Graham serves on the wildlife mitigation commission and Ashland School District Bond Committee. George Kramer is a well-known historical preservation consultant who has served on the Historic Commission, committees on the Ashland Street fire station and City Hall, and is president of the food bank board. Mark Haneberg is a member of the leadership development program Team Ashland and a local attorney. Shaun Moran is a citizen member of the city's Budget Committee and a food bank board member. Theo White is an academic coach at Southern Oregon University who has run for the council twice.
The council has the luxury of choosing from a highly qualified field and the daunting task of making that choice. Ashland is fortunate to have so many willing to volunteer for a demanding job.