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Five run for Phoenix City Council

PHOENIX — Five candidates are running for three, four-year seats on the City Council in the Nov. 6 election. Candidates are Robert Crawford, Leigh Naumann, Councilor Michael Shunk, Councilor Jim Snyder and Angela Vermillion.

Crawford has been a Phoenix resident for over 20 years. He is a contract manufacturer mixing lead at Carestream Health, which makes medical imaging products in White City, where he serves in a supervisory capacity. Crawford has been active in Phoenix Little League and Boy Scouts. He is also a baseball coach at Phoenix High School.

“I just want to get involved. I just want to help. I don’t have an agenda,” said Crawford. “Somebody had mentioned to me before if there was something you didn’t know it was better to get involved than to sit back and judge it.”

While collecting signatures for his campaign petition, Crawford said people told him they were looking for a new face to be on the council. Crawford plans to hold meet-and-greets and put out a publication to introduce himself. He has no plans so far for social media or a website.

Naumann moved to Phoenix in October 2017 and wants to become involved in the town’s direction as he and his family plan to live there for at least five to 10 years. He works as a custodian at Southern Oregon University. He is also a coordinator for the City of Ashland bike swap.

“I would like to see the city move toward sustainable development as the Rogue Valley expands. We are going to see some real issues revolving around traffic,” said Naumann.

Returning Main Street downtown to a two-lane configuration, as is being considered, seemed good to Naumann, but he said he’d need to do more research before backing such action.

The candidate volunteered on a Jackson County transportation committee for 18 months that looked at a number of projects focusing on developing downtown urban areas in a walkable fashion.

He said he and others will be “going around door-knocking and using Facebook pages and getting fliers up and trying to meet local people,” said Naumann.

Shunk was appointed to the council in 2017. He has lived in Phoenix for four years. Now a dropout prevention coordinator at Central Medford High School, he previously taught science at Phoenix High School.

Continuing a good level of communication both among councilors and with the community is a high priority for Shunk. He said recent interaction with residents of Church Street, which will receive a major rebuild, is an example of the council listening to citizens’ concerns and revising a project to meet their desires.

“I see the current council communicating really well. I think that’s really important,” said Shunk. “That has contributed to the community discussion mind-set where you are listening and processing.”

Shunk said his seven years in real estate and development work in Arizona help shape his perspective. He wants to develop a healthy downtown for both business and community programs around the newly opened Civic Center.

Snyder was appointed to a council vacancy two-and-a-half years ago. He is a retired army officer who worked for several corporations.

Reabsorbing the Phoenix Urban Renewal Agency board duties by the council has been a major accomplishment, said Snyder. “I think it streamlines some of the activities,” he said.

Attempts to return Main Street to a two-lane configuration has resulted in better understanding, despite legal roadblocks that are slowing the process, said Snyder.

“I think the good thing from this was being able to listen to and understand so much of the public’s pros and cons,” said Snyder. He is formulating campaign plans but probably will include small group meetings and perhaps lawn signs.

“One of the most important things we are going to do long-term is the process of handling the urban growth boundaries,” said Snyder, speaking of adding land to the city. Snyder is uncertain where land additions should be done in larger and smaller amounts.

Vermillion operates Salon Rouge, a nail care business in downtown. She has lived in Phoenix for 13 years, graduated from Phoenix High and is a lifelong Rogue Valley resident.

“I’m someone who wants Phoenix to do well,” said Vermillion, who has no prior government experience. She has no priorities or agenda and wants to hear all sides of issues and make clear, thoughtful decisions, she said. She expects to read a lot of city codes and bylaws. She will campaign with social media, lawn signs, meet-and-greets and through friends and people she knows from her business.

Vermillion would like to see Main Street return to a two-lane configuration. She testified against a configuration that eliminated parking on the east side of the street, including in front of her shop, when the City Council heard an appeal of a Planning Commission approval for the setup. The council overturned the approval and is exploring other options for reconfiguration. Vermillion says reconfiguring can be done within city regulations.

Councilor Cindy Cameron, appointed to fill a vacancy last year, did not file to run for office.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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