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Applications now accepted for vacant council seat

Ashland is now taking applications for its current vacant council seat after the City Council unanimously approved an appointment process at its meeting Tuesday night.

Councilor Greg Lemhouse announced his resignation Feb. 6, just over a year into his third term as an Ashland city councilor, to pursue his work at a private consultant firm and spend time with his family. Per Oregon rules, the city is obligated to appoint a new council member within 60 days, which would be April 7.

Applicants are asked to submit a letter of interest and answer four questions about their motivation to seek a council seat, their knowledge of local issues, their involvement with the community and their opinion on the role of the council.

Applicants have to live within the city and be registered to vote, per city ordinance. City recorder Melissa Huhtala said the city is required to have a minimum 10-day period for the application process.

As approved by the council Tuesday, the timeline for the process includes leaving the application period open for 10 days, from Feb. 21 to March 2, and having the council make its decision by March 20. Councilor Stefani Seffinger asked the council to shorten the period so she could also be a part of the appointment process. Seffinger said she is not available to attend meetings in April.

Councilor Dennis Slattery made the proposal to set the deadline for applications on March 2, which meets the 10-day requirement. Applications will be posted on the city’s website.

“Council could narrow the list down at the meeting on March 6,” Slattery said.

Mayor John Stromberg proposed that councilors conduct one-on-one interviews with candidates instead of holding a special meeting. “It would be more productive,” Stromberg said.

The council now expects to make its decision at its regular council meeting on March 20 and serve through November, when voters will decide on a councilor who will serve the remaining two years of Lemhouse's term.

To apply, visit the city website at bit.ly/2EW0Mup or call 541-488-5307.

— Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or tnguyen@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.