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Jackson seeks Hanson position

She was appointed as an interim Ashland council member while he serves in the Sinai

ASHLAND ' A sitting councilman faces the position's incumbent in an unusual race for City Council Position 4.

The contradiction exists because council member pro tem Kate Jackson was appointed to fill in for elected Councilman Cameron Hanson while he is on military duty with the Oregon Army National Guard in the Sinai Peninsula.

Hanson is running an absentee campaign. He owns an insurance company. He was first elected to the council in November 1998. He responded to questions for this story via e-mail.

Housing for lower income families is the city's major challenge, said Hanson. He would like to see a whole subdivision of low-cost homes, rather than a couple of affordable units in developments. Zoning changes, incentives and coordination with developers could produce the results.

The TAP water project needs to be completed as soon as possible to provide water to Ashland from Medford's water system. But Hanson would like to see the city slow down on projects after a flurry in recent years.

The Parks and Recreation Department might come under the council's purview, Hanson said. A separately elected commission now oversees the department.

Hansen says his lone stands against the city's domestic partnership registration and the living-wage ordinance make him worthy of support. He also opposed a plan to spray wastewater effluent on a hillside east of Ashland.

Dedication to seeing things through is one of the reasons voters should support Jackson, the pro tem councilwoman said.

This gives me a chance to look at the big issues, said Jackson, who has served on several city committees. Jackson is a land-use planning consultant who previously worked for Jackson County and with California government agencies.

Starter housing is the biggest issue that faces the city. We need to push it, said Jackson. A lack of affordable housing affects employers throughout the city, she said.

A draft affordable housing action plan contains a lot of basic steps that the city clearly needs to take, said Jackson. It's not another document that goes on the shelf.

Transportation issues, particularly pedestrian and bicycle safety, also need attention, said Jackson.

More time is needed for city staff to work on projects that the public supports, such as fire hazard reductions, said Jackson. She also thinks a way might be found for the public works and parks departments to work more closely.

Reach Ashland bureau reporter Tony Boom at 482-4651, or e-mail