Shady Cove businessman, outgoing councilor challenged in writing – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
From left to right: Jay Taylor, Jim Hubbard and Paige Winfrey
After registering for mayor of Shady Cove and then dropping out of the race, Councilman Jay Taylor throws his hat into the ring in an 11th-hour bid to stay on city council.
The chief executive of the HVAC company and former planning commissioner declared himself a write-in candidate because he cannot be on the ballot for council.
He was initially concerned about Mayor Shari Tarvin’s leadership, leading him to declare his candidacy to overthrow her, but backed down when he realized he could be a spoiler and deny Jon Ball a mayoral victory.
Jackson County Clerk Christine Walker confirmed that Taylor’s name will still appear on the ballot for mayor because he missed an opt-out deadline.
Jim Hubbard, former Air National Guardsman and owner of a gas and electric company, who never held elected office; and Paige Winfrey, outgoing councillor, are both running for a four-year term.
Voters will be asked to select two candidates for two four-year vacancies when they fill out their ballots. Only their names will appear on the ballot, but Taylor hopes enough people will write in her name to eclipse one of them.
Hubbard never thought he would go into politics, but council resentment motivated him to run.
“There was an opening where I saw one of them was running for mayor, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll give it a try,'” Hubbard said. “I think I’m kind of a middle-of-the-road guy. I will not come with my own agenda. I think we have to represent the people in the community and what they want. That’s what I’ll try to do.
Hubbard thinks “every citizen wants water”, and with a city so dependent on wells, he will try to find solutions if elected to council.
“It’s not a problem that’s solved in one or even five years,” Hubbard said. “But something has to be done. Looking at the strategic plan, dated 2001, we are still in the same boat; we are not much better off.
A water-focused volunteer committee that could seek out solutions — and potentially tap into President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan — could do the trick, according to Hubbard.
“A lot of the key to growth is water,” he said.
Hubbard acknowledged that Shady Cove has a lot of empty storefronts, which has been a problem since he moved to the area in 2005.
“I think what we can do is there have been new businesses in town that have been pretty successful, and I think we have to go and see them and get some ideas,” Hubbard said. “(Ask them), ‘What inspired you to start a business here and what can be done to bring other businesses to town?’ Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, but I think some people might.
Fire protection is another big issue Hubbard faces at Shady Cove.
“Shady Cove can do more because right now it’s not up to us to do anything,” he said. “But maybe later, if we can talk to these other communities that got the land from the Bureau of Land Management, that would allow us to come by and start cleaning it up; anything we can do will help. Maybe prune some trees, the underbrush.
Winfrey, who was named to the board in March, said she felt a desire to run.
“I’ve been attending council meetings for three and a half to four years now, so I’ve listened to what’s going on at Shady Cove,” Winfrey said. “I’ve lived here for over 23 years, and it kind of made me want to do more and get involved in improving our little community.”
She mentioned longevity in the community, as well as her husband and children’s love for the city, as the starting point for people to vote for Winfrey. Her husband is Jackson County District 4 Fire Chief Greg Winfrey.
“Our hearts are out for Shady Cove; we don’t want to leave here,” she said. “We are involved in many different aspects of life here, along with other organizations. We want to see Shady Cove thrive. Doing positive things is a big driving force for me. I don’t want to sit and wait for someone else to do something if I can. I want to be part of the solution.
The biggest issues facing Shady Cove, according to Winfrey, are water, internet services and tourism.
Winfrey acknowledges that downtown has its share of empty storefronts, and she said some current business owners could give their stores “a facelift…so we can keep the tourism money flowing.”
As for water, Winfrey pointed to wells in Shady Cove, which are experiencing issues that make water less usable. At a recent conference, Winfrey learned how small towns in Oregon have developed municipal water systems with the help of government grants and loans.
“A large percentage of these loans are forgivable,” Winfrey said. “For me, it’s super exciting; if people can pay a lot less than they pay with a private system and pay off the water company loan, I don’t understand why that’s not something we should all be looking at.
When it comes to internet connectivity, Winfrey said the internet is spotty in her town, with people using personal hotspots for service.
“Every week there are problems,” she said. “It’s quite frustrating.”
Council members, he thinks, could go to a city of similar size and learn how it got broadband connectivity and learn by example.
“There are loans and grants that we just need to be able to get,” Winfrey said.
Taylor thinks being a write-in candidate doesn’t make it harder to get elected.
“I’ve done my best to spread the news that I’m not running for mayor,” he said, citing his social media efforts. “On the other hand, I am a little better known to the active citizens of Shady Cove because I sat on the municipal council. I show up at every event that takes place here – that can’t be said by every person who runs.
Taylor noted that a candidate forum he plans to attend will be another opportunity to emphasize his written candidacy.
Of the issues, Taylor thinks the most important to address are: water, fire prevention and trade.
As for water, he would like a municipal water system because Shady Cove is one of the only places without a system.
“I had never heard of this before,” Taylor said. “There’s a reason every city has its own municipal water system; there are advantages to that. We’re just late. With the wells giving way now, maybe now is the time.
Taylor is aware that many properties in Shady Cove are considered to be an extreme fire hazard.
“Everyone in this town has taken steps to make their property defensible against fire, and we are still working on it; it’s an ongoing problem,” Taylor said. “Linked to the fire hydrants in our water system, that would help tremendously.”
He would also like to improve Shady Cove Park, thanks to a suggestion he received from a young girl at a “meeting of concerned citizens”.
“We could set up a volleyball court very easily,” Taylor said.
Taking over as councilor for Tarvin once she becomes mayor, Taylor thinks voters should keep it while giving the council an “overhaul”.
“There have been too many divisions in this last administration,” he said. “The salt keeps pouring in, and that’s just not the way to be for any city council. I am determined to take the high road and cause no conflict or division.
Contact journalist Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.