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Jones' departure creates Medford council opening

Medford City Councilman Greg Jones has decided not to run for re-election this November, planning to step down after eight years. With less than two weeks before the filing deadline, his seat is one of several council positions with only one candidate.

Jones, who worked for the city for 30 years and was director of parks and recreation for 22 years, said he likely will stay involved in local boards or commissions. But the council's schedule is more than he wants to continue taking on.

"There has been an awful lot of meetings," Jones said. "I need a breather."

With Jones' departure, the race for four City Council seats is beginning to take shape as the 5 p.m. Aug. 14 deadline for filing draws nearer.

Daniel Bunn, who is on both the city's planning and parks and recreation commissions, is the only candidate to file for Jones' seat in Ward 4.

Jones, 64, who moved to Medford in December 1973, said he's particularly proud of streets and parks projects he has helped see through to completion, such as the U.S. Cellular Community Park.

"I've wanted to make sure that the infrastructure keeps up with the growing population," he said. "It's a lot of behind-the-scenes work that people aren't aware of, but is necessary for the city to function properly."

Jones said the demands on the City Council's time increased after it took over running the Medford Urban Renewal Agency in 2010.

Despite the heavy workload, Jones said he's happy to see The Commons take shape and the downtown improve.

"It's been a privilege and an honor to serve," he said.

Four other City Council positions will be on the ballot this November.

In Ward 1, incumbent Dick Gordon will be opposed by Curt Ankerberg, who unsuccessfully challenged Councilman Al Densmore in 2010.

Incumbent Eli Matthews, who was appointed to replace Jim Kuntz in May, is the only candidate who has filed in Ward 2. Clay Bearson has taken out paperwork but hasn't yet returned it to the City Recorder's Office.

In Ward 3, Chris Corcoran remains unopposed so far.

Mayor Gary Wheeler has indicated he will run again but has not yet filed his paperwork. So far, he remains unopposed.

City Recorder Glenda Wilson said potential candidates need to gather 25 signatures to qualify. She recommends gathering 35 to 40 because some signatures are disqualified for various reasons, including not being a registered voter.

Although it's possible to take out the paperwork on Aug. 14 and return it by the end of the day, Wilson said it would be safer to gather the signatures earlier, which are then turned over to the Jackson County Clerk's Office for verification.

"If they're going to run, they should come in ahead of time to get the signatures verified," she said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.