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Voters stay scarce in Gold Hill

GOLD HILL - Only 23 percent of the ballots for the county's only May election - the mayor's race between Scott Eilefson and Kevin Ryan - had been returned as of Friday morning.

Residents still wishing to vote on who will fill the mayor's seat, which has been vacant since December, must hand-deliver their mail-in ballots by 8 p.m. Tuesday to the Jackson County Elections Office in Medford to be counted.

Elections Deputy Donna Connor said Friday the clerk's office had received 160 of the 702 ballots sent to residents in Gold Hill.

Ryan said the low turnout could be attributed to the lack of a ballot box in Gold Hill.

"It looks like some people are voting, but we're the only election in the county and we don't even have a ballot box in our city," said Ryan. "The system definitely has some gaps in it."

Ryan and Eilefson have similar goals for the mayor's job. Both want to see the city increase its business appeal and find a long-term solution for its law enforcement needs.

Eilefson, council president and three-year-resident, has served as interim mayor since Tim Roddam stepped down one month after his re-election in November. Eilefson favors slow and responsible development. He serves on the board of directors for the Gold Hill civic organization Can Do and has worked in the wholesale lumber business for 18 years.

Eilefson said his campaign slogan, "Working Together," says it all.

"We are an extension of the community. That's the key. Working together," he said, adding that he had received "a great deal of positive response from residents pleased with how the city was functioning and progressing."

"There's a real positive attitude emerging in our community. People are real happy and we've got a real stable, solid city council with good experience representing a wide range of interest of the town."

Ryan, a longtime resident, works as a Class A driver. He said his goals were to "bring fresh and innovative ideas and encourage community participation."

Ryan attends Can Do meetings and said he had been working to encourage local business owners to be more involved, part of his campaign approach, "Outreach to the People."

"We need opinions from the people. The city needs more than a handful of people making decisions for them. It takes community involvement," he said.

Ryan said he hoped more residents would make it to the polls by Tuesday. "If people want their voices heard, they need to vote," he said.

Ballots may be delivered to the clerk's office at 10 S. Oakdale, Medford. Polls will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday, at which time the first results will be posted to the county Web site at . Click on election information.