Medford, county to meet jointly

An unusual joint meeting between the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and Medford City Council will take place at noon Monday in City Hall to help smooth out sometimes-strained relations.

"We just need to work on improving the communication between the county and the city," said City Councilman Dick Gordon.

Over the years, the county and city haven't seen eye to eye over various issues, such as jurisdiction of roads, Table Rock Park, the 9-1-1 center and regional problem-solving.

"The list is really long," Gordon said.

The Marion County Commissioners regularly hold joint meetings with cities to help resolve these type of differences, he said.

"This is not something that is different than what is going in other parts of Oregon," he said.

The idea of a joint meeting arose about five months ago when Gordon met with County Commissioner Don Skundrick for a cup of coffee.

Skundrick said that when he was campaigning for office in 2010, he was surprised that the city and the county had so many differences.

"I wondered, 'Do these guys ever sit down as adults?' " he said.

Since taking office, Skundrick has been a regular at City Council meetings, acting as a liaison to the other county commissioners.

Both Skundrick and Gordon said it could be difficult for the county and city to have frank discussions because they must adhere strictly to public-meeting laws.

"We will see if this is possible," he said. "The minefield may be too difficult to navigate and get things done."

Attorneys for the county and city will be at the meeting to make sure the council and commissioners don't stray too far off subject and violate public-meeting laws.

Next on the agenda will be discussion of House Bill 3615, which would provide greater regional direction on land-use issues.

Skundrick said he hopes this could be the start of more collaborative relationships with other cities.

"This could morph into meetings with Central Point and Ashland," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email

Share This Story