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MURA board accepts Burt's retirement

Burt decides to leave director's post in a year; will assist in search for successor

The director of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency will retire at the end of next year.

Don Burt announced at the MURA board meeting Tuesday he will stay with the agency through Dec. 31, 2003, to give the board time to transition with a new director.

Burt said the only reason he's retiring is because it's time.

I've been doing this 13, 14 years, he said after the board met in an executive session to discuss the matter.

MURA board president Bill Dames said he values Burt's expertise.

I'm going to miss him, he said. They have an association of urban renewal agencies in Oregon and within the first few years of when we became members of that organization, Don became president, he said. He is recognized in the state as having great abilities.

Dames said he has no idea who will replace Burt and that there's time to pursue a replacement.

December is a year away, he said.

This announcement came three weeks after Burt submitted a letter of retirement to the board to go into effect June 30, and the board rejected his letter. Burt withdrew the letter and agreed to submit another proposal.

Burt, 55, was hired as MURA director after the board was appointed in 1988 to oversee the rehabilitation of downtown. Projects have totaled &

36;25 million to date.

In other business, the board approved a new style for what will eventually be about 400 new street lights in the downtown area.

The acorn style lamps, with black posts, similar to those in Alba Park, were chosen after concern was expressed over the antique green crook-neck lamps were installed along Central Avenue.

There was interest in a more historic look, said MURA Senior Planner Eric Iversen.

Board member Sue Densmore said she liked the more modest style of the acorn lights, and she said the green posts looked out of place in downtown Medford.

I would personally advise that we stick with the black because I think it's classier, she said.

The agency will continue to install the green crook-neck lights for street scapes around the Rogue Community College and the new Central Library for consistency. For the rest of the area between Riverside Avenue and Oakdale Avenue and between 4th and 10th streets, however, the black acorn lamps will be installed as part of the agency's street scape project over the next several years.

The board also appointed Craig Coggins to the Agency Parking Committee, John Norris to the Agency Marketing Committee, and re-appointed David Douglass and Joel Marks to the Agency Budget Committee.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail .