Shady Cove set for council shift

SHADY COVE — City government is in for a big change next year with the retirement of the mayor and two long-serving councilwomen. Come January, three new faces will take seats on the five-member City Council.

On Wednesday, the day after candidate applications were due, the city recorder forwarded six names to the Jackson County recorder's office.

Two candidates will compete for a two-year term as mayor: Ron Holthusen and Rick Mori. Four candidates will vie for the two vacant four-year council seats: Margaret Bradburn, Leith Hayes, Judy Shanrock and Forrest Rees.

Outgoing Mayor Ruth Keith is approaching the end of her two-year term and has decided not to seek reelection.

"My husband and I were supposed to be retired, but we've been so involved in the city, to the point that we haven't been able to travel as we always wanted," said Keith.

"It's time to have the fun we planned."

In her first year, Keith learned the city was facing possible suspension of flood-insurance policies in the city, because seven-year-old inspections by the Federal Emergency Management Agency found some homes along the Rogue River in violation of federal floodplain regulations. Though the situation has seen some improvement, it continues to be a problem.

Keith has volunteered many weekdays at city hall, sorting through records and attempting to bring violators back into compliance.

"I urge everyone to take an active role," she said. "We have a small city staff and if everyone would pitch in and help out, it would ease the load. I've always tried to do that."

She said she was most proud of getting the public safety fee passed. The monthly $15 fee is used to supplement the city's police budget.

"It was needed and I'm glad we did it," she said.

"I've been up against some real challenges that I hadn't expected, but nobody said it would be a rose garden."

She said incoming council members will quickly learn that government isn't as easy as they may think.

"There are things you want to do, but they're not always things you can do," she said.

"Levels of government above you, federal, state and county, have all kinds of regulations and laws that pose limits on what you can actually do."

Councilwoman Alison Curtis is ending eight years on the council and more than 11 years of volunteer work with the city.

"I think it's time for new blood," said Curtis. "I don't think the same faces should be in government forever and ever, and I've got other things I'd like to do with my life, things I haven't had much time for."

She said she hopes new council members will come in with an open mind.

"I've tried to look at all sides of each question as it comes up," she said. "Then I try to do what I think is best. Not that I've been perfect by any means."

Although she is stepping down, she said she still will do what she can to help the city.

"I hope the voters elect people who look to the future, not to the past," she said, "and do what the city needs to have done."

Lois Holland, council president since 1995 and a member of the council for 16 years, will leave office in January. She was not available for comment.

The Upper Rogue Community Center announced Wednesday that it will be playing host to a future candidate forum. The date of the forum has not been decided.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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