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Councilor will lead Travel Medford

Medford City Councilor Eli Matthews has replaced Anne Jenkins as the interim director of Travel Medford in the latest shakeup of an organization that operates under a controversial contract with the city.

Jenkins, who has worked at Travel Medford for 17 years, resigned last week, effective June 30.

Jez Kline, director of branding and marketing for Travel Medford, announced his resignation last month, effective July 1. Kline is no longer working at Travel Medford.

Neither Matthews nor Jenkins could be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Matthews has been with the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County since 2013. He will be both the interim director of Travel Medford and the chamber’s vice president of communications and programs. Travel Medford, which operates under a $750,000 contract with the city, is considered a division of the chamber and is housed in the same building.

Matthews’ new position was announced Wednesday. The City Council on Thursday will consider renewing a two-year contract with the chamber to continue to operate Travel Medford while the city looks at separating the two organizations.

According to the chamber, Medford-based Spotlight Marketing, led by Andrea Berryman Childreth and Laura Lavin, will assume responsibility for marketing for Travel Medford.

Councilor Dick Gordon said, “I found Eli to be very thorough and very skilled, and I think that he will be successful at whatever he chooses to do.”

Gordon said Matthews hasn’t spoken about or voted on issues related to Travel Medford.

He didn’t think Matthews assuming the Travel Medford role would affect the ability of the council to make a decision on the contract.

Travel Medford promotes local tourism and operates visitor centers at the Medford airport, adjacent to the Harry & David Country Store and downtown at Eighth and Front streets. Its city contract is funded by Medford's transient lodging tax.

In a press release announcing Matthews' appointment, Travel Medford said visitor room nights had increased by 26.6 percent last year, providing a $6.97 million infusion into the local economy.

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

Anne Jenkins
Eli Matthews