Ashland mayor's living arrangements raise questions

Ashland Mayor John Morrison's living arrangements are raising questions about whether he is satisfying a city charter requirement that elected officials reside within city limits.

Morrison, a Democratic candidate for Jackson County's board of commissioners, told the Ashland Daily Tidings that although he uses an Oak Street address in official documents, he does not live there and has been staying with friends in Ashland and outside the city after moving from an Ashland rental home.

"I am actively seeking a place to live," the 63-year-old mayor said. "I'm hoping for senior housing because I'm on a fixed income, but I haven't found a place yet. I've made no bones about the fact that rents are high in Ashland."

The newspaper looked into the issue after it was contacted by an Ashland resident who said Morrison wasn't living at his official address.

The address the mayor listed on his county commissioner candidate application form is 637 1/2 Oak St. in Ashland. He used the same address for his voter's registration form and also for his driver's license, he said.

Morrison initially told the Tidings that he lives at the Oak Street address, but when he was told a resident of the home said he didn't live there, he said he stays with various friends — some of whom live in Ashland.

Morrison said he lived at a residence on Wimer Street for about seven years until rent became too expensive.

Ashland City Recorder Barbara Christensen said the charter requires that Ashland's elected officials live within city limits and be registered voters. Oregon law requires that to register to vote, "The person's residence shall be the place in which habitation is fixed."

Morrison declined to say who he'd been staying with but said not all of the friends he has stayed with live in Ashland.

Morrison said he believes he's in full compliance with the city's charter. He said he has paid at least $600 rent to the occupant of the Oak Street house in the past few months but has chosen not to live in the house.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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