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Letters, March 11

Marsh is effective

Researching Oregon’s rent/eviction moratorium recently, I was able to speak with lobbyists in Salem for both tenants and landlords.

Both sides said that local Rep. Pam Marsh was an exceptionally hard worker who listened carefully to their concerns and did her best to assuage them in this crisis that really doesn’t give anyone good choices. It’s good to know that Marsh is effective and respected.

Janay Haas

Ashland

Equity commission will take time

I watched the March 2 City Council meeting with special interest in the discussion on the proposed new Race and Social Equity Commission.

This new commission proposal was put forward by Mayor Julie Akins for consideration by the council at the first council meeting of the new year on Jan. 5. Here it is March 8 and my understanding is that the first reading of the ordinance is on the agenda for the March 16 council meeting. If all goes as planned, the second reading and approval will take place at the April 6 council meeting. The next step would be selection of commissioners, which involves interviews by the mayor and then approval by the council. It’s a long process just getting the commission formed.

I have some appreciation for the process. Many years ago, I was part of a newly formed ad hoc committee, the Homeless Task Force, which eventually got consolidated with the Housing and Human Services Commission. After task force members actually began meeting together, it took months to start working as a team to establish priorities, set goals and create actionable plans. Given COVID, functioning as a team will take even more time.

The point I am making is that there is a lot of work ahead to get this vital commission moving forward and to getting the results the community is expecting it to achieve.

I am hoping by this time next year, the Race and Social Equity Commission will have established itself as a citizen lead group that is respected and trusted as a city body that is dedicated to putting forward creative solutions to broaden diversity and address obstacles to racial inclusivity. With hard work and the willingness to change, Ashland can become a more welcoming and inviting community to people of color and other underrepresented people.

Regina Ayars

Ashland

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