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Wheeler will face Anhorn in election

Medford will have a mayor's race in November.

Retired banker John Anhorn said he plans to run for mayor of Medford in the Nov. 8 election, and incumbent Mayor Gary Wheeler says he has reconsidered his plans to step aside and will also be in the race.

Anhorn, 74, said he made the decision to run after he was approached to sit on an ad hoc committee to offer advice to the Medford City Council in its city manager search.

Anhorn, who hasn't held an elected position before, said he was approached by several community members who urged him to run. "I thought about it and said, 'I've never done that before.' "

Anhorn said, "I've known Gary a long time. He's done a good job, but it's been 12 years."

Wheeler had previously said he did not intend to seek re-election, but Thursday said he felt "reinvigorated" and looked forward to continuing in the role.

"I'm going to run; I'll be in the mix," Wheeler said. "I've got some things I see on the horizon and I'm excited that the city is headed in a good direction."

Wheeler, who was first elected mayor in 2004, ran unopposed in 2012. An optometrist, he has served on numerous local boards, including the local chamber of commerce, the Red Cross, historical society and Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. He was on the initial board and one of the major proponents for founding the Medford Urban Renewal Agency.

Wheeler and Anhorn both said they had discussed the race.

"I did explain to him that I was going to run," Anhorn said.

"That's great," Wheeler said. "John's a good guy and we'll have a good campaign."

Anhorn has served on the Jackson County Budget Committee and the Jackson County Fair Board and helped form Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. He was a founder, CEO and chairman of Premier West Bank, which later was acquired by AmericanWest Bank.

John Anhorn
Mayor Gary Wheeler