PUBLIC PROFILE: Clay Bearnson, Medford City Council Member
Rogue Valley Messenger: What important issues are in front of City Council currently?
Clay Bearnson: In my opinion, the most pressing issues that we are starting to tackle are homelessness, the housing crisis, downtown revitalization, and repeat drug offenders that have no fear of any punishment due the turnstile door on the Jackson County Jail.
RVM: What is council’s goal for the city in 2018?
CB: The 2018 agenda consists of the final State approval on our Urban Growth Boundary, a 0.0033 percent construction excise tax to assist with development of workforce and affordable housing, extension of MURA to finance the improvement the Liberty Park area and the seismic fortitude of our downtown buildings, collaborating with the Continuum of Care to address some of the socioeconomic barriers that contribute to homelessness and poverty, and working with our development community to increase our housing stock to name a few.
RVM: Your term ends at the end of this year. Is there anything in particular you hope to accomplish before it ends?
CB: Before this year’s end I hope to accomplish as many items stated in the prior question. I am also hoping that the council will agree to allocate our 3 percent local marijuana tax to programs that help kids from low-moderate income families participate in extracurricular activities that are often unattainable due to family resources. Addressing the seismic fortitude of our downtown buildings is also very high on my priority list.
RVM: What were you most proud of in 2017, that council accomplished?
CB: One accomplishment that I am proud to have been a part of was the selection of Brian Sjothun as our new city manager. He has a passion for our community and a genuine concern for our citizens, his administration, and the overall quality of all of our lives.
RVM: What are your plans for after your term ends? Do you plan to run for council again?
CB: Yes, I will be seeking reelection. I am just beginning to fully understand my role as a counselor, and have many things that we have started that I want to see come to fruition.