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Four in running for three at-large Gold Hill council seats

GOLD HILL — Having more City Council candidates than seats is a rarity in this town, where positions often are filled with write-in votes, but four candidates will vie for three council seats in the Nov. 6 election.

All four candidates expressed a desire to focus on economic development, revival of the downtown and improving city parks.

With newly hired interim City Manager Dale Shaddox on board, several candidates expressed confidence in a positive change for the town.

Incumbent council members Sam Blake and Margaret Dials are seeking re-election, while Councilwoman Christine Alford decided not to run.

The three slots are at-large positions, meaning the top three vote-getters will be elected.

Dials, a retired teacher in her first council term, said she wanted to see some projects through to completion and offer continuity for the city.

"I'm really interested in looking at our new strategic plan and working with economic development," Dials said.

"We've got an aging water-treatment system and some other things going on at our sports park. And I think we're going to see some important changes with our new city manager."

Blake, the council president, also voiced a desire to provide continuity for the council.

"I just want to keep the momentum going and see some projects we started get done," he said.

"I think one of the biggest changes we made was a city manager being hired. I really hope we can keep the position permanent."

Blake said the city "needs to educate the public on the condition of their city" and "talk about the fact that they might have to step up and do a bond or find some other way to maintain or upgrade the city's infrastructure."

Competing against the incumbents are former council member and mayor Gus Wolf and local business owner Doug Reischman.

Wolf, who spent two decades in city government before retiring in 2010 to focus on business and family, said "semi-retirement" had provided him some free time he wanted to give to the city.

If elected, Wolf said, he hoped to see projects completed to draw businesses and tourists to Gold Hill. Wolf listed a proposed whitewater park, the sports park, downtown and infrastructure needs as areas the council should focus on in coming years.

"We just really need to look 10 and 20 years down the road and think about what's best for the city," Wolf said. "I just felt like it was time to get back into it. I feel really strongly that people should be involved in city government. It isn't just a mark on the ballot."

Reischman said he, too, wanted to help guide the city toward positive growth and positive energy at City Hall.

"I've never been involved in anything like this here, so I figured I'd give it a try and get involved," said Reischman, who recently opened a hair salon, Hair by Stacy Macy.

Reischman said parks, public safety and the downtown are on his priority list for the city.

"I just want to try and see what I could do about different things going on in the city," he said. "The only way to do something about anything is to get involved.

"You get politics anywhere you go but I'd be someone with an open mind since I don't know a lot of the politics that have gone on. I would be someone who would promote the city instead of myself."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.