Young city councilors given key roles in Medford

The Medford City Council recently selected two of its youngest members to be president and vice president.

Councilor Daniel Bunn, who has been on the council for about a year, was named president, replacing Councilor Dick Gordon.

Councilor Eli Matthews, who has been on the council for almost two years, was named vice president, replacing Councilor Chris Corcoran.

Both Gordon and Corcoran will remain on the council.

Matthews said the council has taken on some big issues that will keep it busy over the next year, including the expansion of U.S. Cellular Park, a new police station, three new fire stations and a trail system in Prescott Park.

He said he wants to find ways to prevent other councilors from feeling marginalized or to prevent the council from becoming too fractious.

"We're a team — the eight of us are truly a team," he said.

In their new positions, Matthews and Bunn already have begun fielding questions from local media about what has turned into hot-button topic: possible regulation of dangerous dogs, a subject that came up after recent attacks by pit bulls.

Bunn said he will assume more administrative duties as president, overseeing committee assignments.

One goal of Bunn and Matthews is to improve communication between the council and residents of Medford.

Bunn, who has been involved in city commissions and committees, said he will strive to improve the line of communication between the council and the commissions and committees that provide recommendations on issues facing the city.

He said he would like the council to more clearly spell out how it wants commissions and committees to tackle issues sent over by the council.

For example, Bunn said he wanted council to give the Police Advisory Committee specific direction in coming up with solutions to deal with dangerous dogs.

"We're giving specific guidance to the committee," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

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