Medford council members headed to victory

Eli Matthews gives a speech at the Republican Party gathering at the Lithia Superstore on Highway 62 Tuesday. Mail Tribune / Jamie LuschJamie Lusch

Medford City Council incumbents Dick Gordon and Eli Matthews appeared to retaining their council seats late Tuesday night.

Gordon was ahead of challenger Curt Ankerberg in Ward 1 by 2,831 votes, or 57.3 percent of the ballots cast, to 2,081, or 42.1 percent. Matthews led Clay Bearnson in the Ward 2 race 2,915, or 67.8 percent, to 1,362, or 31.7 percent.

"I'm really pleased with the results," Gordon said. "I'm very happy to be serving on the council for the city of Medford."

During the campaign, Gordon, 69, first elected to the council in 2009, touted his leadership in helping improve downtown Medford. A graduate of Medford Senior High School and Oregon State University, the retired businessman is the chairman of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency board.

"There is a lot yet to do," he said, citing the tight economy and limited finances available to move the city ahead.

"We need to learn how to do more with less money."

Matthews, 29, the director of development for Impact Marketing, was appointed to the council in April after former Ward 2 Councilman Jim Kuntz left the post because of health problems. Matthews was chairman of the Medford Arts Commission and on the Citizens Planning Advisory Committee.

A South Medford High School graduate, Matthews has a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master's degree in divinity from George Fox University.

Bearnson, 37, is the owner of the Gypsy Blues Bar and Restaurant in Medford. He is a South Medford High School graduate who attended Rogue Community College.

A certified public accountant and a California State University graduate, Ankerberg ran unsuccessfully for the city council in 2010 and for the Medford School District board in 2011.

In three uncontested races Tuesday night, Medford mayor Gary Wheeler and council members Chris Corcoran in Ward 3 and Daniel Bunn in Ward 4 were all easily re-elected.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or email him at

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