After a rocky start, Medford City Council has a fresh list of candidates for the Ward 4 seat formerly held by Kim Wallan.
Six candidates had previously filed, but Eric Stark, a local lawyer who has been on the Medford Planning Commission and Medford Urban Renewal Agency board, is also in the running.
Wallan alarmed some councilors when she said she wanted the two Ward 4 councilors — Michael Zarosinski and herself — to pick the committee that would help select her replacement.
The other candidates are Michael Campbell, Dylan Moncus, Kevin Keating, Richard Bradshaw, Michelle Blum Atkinson, who lost to Wallan in the House District 6 election Nov. 6, and Jessica Gomez, who lost her bid for the Senate District 3 seat.
The Ward 4 seat represents southeast Medford.
On a personal level, I’m looking for people who are relatively knowledgeable about city matters,” Councilor Kevin Stine said. “I’m looking for people who are pretty driven to try to fix the things that we can fix.”
While many of the candidates are fairly well known in the community, Stine said he’s not as interested in someone who has a good social standing as much as someone who has good ideas for dealing with the issues facing the city.
The filing deadline ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with each candidate submitting a required 25 signatures from registered voters.
City Recorder Karen Spoonts said other residents inquired about the position but didn’t submit the required paperwork.
Stark’s 25 signatures were verified by the Jackson County Elections Center, but his candidacy hadn’t yet been signed off by elections officials Thursday.
The selection process turned contentious when Wallan didn’t immediately offer her letter of resignation after winning the House District 6 race in November.
The council will create a temporary five-member committee Jan. 17 to help fill the vacancy. The committee and the council will interview candidates Jan. 4. The council will vote to select a new councilor Feb. 7.
Stark, 52, said he became a candidate because the city faces a number of interconnected issues such as homelessness, the opioid crisis, mental health and the lack of jail space.
He’s been involved with the Providence-Oregon board as well as the local YMCA.
“The Y’s dealing with homelessness,” he said. “Every morning they’re cleaning up the messes.”
Stark said he’s seen the impact of the low rental vacancy rate in the area while dealing with landlord-tenant disputes as a lawyer.
During the 1980s and ‘90s, Stark was involved in many local committees but backed off when urban renewal started winding down.
He said he knows some of the candidates running against him for the council position.
“It does look like a good pool,” he said. “I’d be honored to get back in and give my services to the city again.”
Blum Atkinson, 33, has a background in technology with ProCare Software in Medford.
Bradshaw, 37, is a local dentist who said he wants to play a bigger role dealing with homelessness, injecting more economic vitality into the community and making sure the city grows in a way that keeps it family friendly.
Campbell, 31, is co-owner of Sis-Q Cellular and served on the Medford School Board for three years.
Gomez, 41, is CEO of Rogue Valley Microdevices and worked for former state Sen. Alan DeBoer in Salem.
Keating, 54, is a teacher at St. Mary’s School and volunteers for several city committees and was on the library advisory committee.
Moncus, 20, is a case manager at WorkSource Rogue Valley and is on local boards such as NeighborWorks Umpqua, which deals with affordable housing issues.