A forum for Medford City Council Ward 4 candidates is planned for 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, in the Large Meeting Room of the Medford library, 205 S. Central Ave., Medford.
Michelle Blum Atkinson
Occupation: Board officer, Blum Family Foundation
Education: Bachelor of Science in Journalism, University of Oregon — graduated with Honors
Political experience: As a member of the Jackson County Library Advisory Committee and co-founder of the campaign Libraries For All, I helped save our libraries from closing.
Top priorities: Safety is my top priority. Medford City Council can save lives by focusing on safe roads, safe parks and safe neighborhoods. People in Medford want clean water, clean air and a clean city. We must work together to protect our most vulnerable people, especially kids, from hunger and homelessness. My second priority is to boost the economy in Medford so people can thrive. I will seek community partnerships to help train Medford residents and connect hardworking people with jobs. I will focus on improving Medford’s housing market that is affecting many residents who are already struggling financially.
Andrea Duarte Jablonski
Occupation: Small-business owner, Coffee News
Political experience: Worked on health care political action committees and government regulations group
Top priorities: To ensure that the people of Medford are informed and represented fairly by the actions of local government. Specifically, addressing issues affecting our senior population, local businesses and individual privacy and land-use rights.
Education: High-school diploma, some community college classes
Political experience: None
Top priorities: Revitalization of Bear Creek/downtown Medford — I will strive to improve the environmental quality of Bear Creek. My vision is to establish an open concept in the Bear Creek area that would allow restaurants, vendors and businesses to thrive near downtown Medford. Alleviate homelessness — I support the likes of local nonprofits to continue their work into improving homelessness as well as the testing of the tiny-house project. Keeping Medford safe — I want Medford to become a family-desirable city for generations to come. I will support measures such as 15-144 and 15-166 to promote a positive and healthy culture for our children to grow up in.
Occupation: Medford business owner, Schroeder's Furniture-Collectibles-Antiques
Education: High-school graduate, attended college
Political experience: Medford Urban Renewal Parking Committee, 1998-2009; Medford Parking Commission, 2009-present; five years, MURA budget committee; currently on Medford Arts Commission; 15 years, Heart of Medford Association
Top priorities: 1) Public safety is paramount. Without public safety, we have nothing. I think fire stations and fire and police equipment need to be brought up to the standards that they need to continue to do a good job and expand into the future. 2) Work well with other council members and try to get amenities people want by using public and private partnerships without taxing the residents. These amenities could include cleaning up Bear Creek Greenway, bringing a convention center to Medford, and building an indoor aquatic center open 365 days a year that actually makes money.
Occupation: Online instructor
Education: Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Willamette University; Juris Doctor, Willamette University College of Law
Political experience: Medford School Board, 2011-2015
Top priorities: 1) Increase communication within the council itself and between our City Council and our neighboring cities and our county. I particularly want to establish meetings between the city planning commission and the county planning commission to strategize thoughtful growth that fosters robust economic growth while maintaining the character of our valley. 2) Shorten our current three-month or longer delay in getting an answer for new building projects, when neighboring cities answer in a few weeks. Our appeals process often keeps staff and council members working until late into the night. Streamlining these systems can make the city work better for everyone.