Some Ashland City Council members have raised concerns that the Ashland Housing Commission has too many advocates for homeless people and not enough members who support affordable workforce housing.

"There's an imbalance on the Housing Commission. There are now three homeless advocates and this is a fourth person," Councilwoman Kate Jackson said.

Jackson voted alone against the City Council's Tuesday appointment of Southern Oregon University student and Ashland Food Co-op grocer James Dill to the seven-member Housing Commission.

She said the Housing Commission's purpose is to work on fair housing and workforce housing.

"Housing for the homeless is not even a council goal," Jackson said.

Ashland lacks a shelter to house the homeless, although local churches open a temporary shelter when temperatures plummet.

Councilman Greg Lemhouse agreed the commission is becoming unbalanced, but voted with others to appoint Dill for a term that will expire in April 2012.

"I think Mr. Dill will work hard and do a good job," Lemhouse said.

On his application for the post, Dill said he has volunteered extensively with the homeless population. He also completed the construction of his first home in fall 2008, part of a Rogue Community Development Corp. affordable housing project.

He also expressed support for people with jobs and families on his application.

"I want to see Ashland be a place where our teachers and young families can afford to live," Dill wrote. "There are people who enrich our community with their service and expertise, but have to commute from far distances because housing is financially prohibitive."

Council member Russ Silbiger said the commission needs more people from the development industry who are knowledgeable about issues that arise in planning and building homes.

But Councilwoman Carol Voisin said she served on the commission when its membership was made up mostly of developers. She said the homeless advocates now on the commission are also affordable housing advocates.

Mayor John Stromberg asked the council to begin looking at the charters of all the city's commissions, committees and boards in January to see whether their missions meld with council desires. He said if any of the various panels become unbalanced, that could make it difficult for the city to attract volunteers.

Jackson and Navickas will not be on the council in January. Jackson did not seek re-election, and Navickas was defeated in November by contractor and Ashland Planning Commissioner Michael Morris.

Jackson also raised concerns that the Ashland Transportation Commission is becoming unbalanced. But she agreed to vote with the rest of the council to appoint Corrine Viéville, Disabled United in Direct Empowerment executive director, to that commission for a term that expires in April 2013. Among her many other activities, Viéville, who is blind, serves on the Rogue Valley Transportation District's Special Transportation Advisory Committee.

In her application, Viéville said she chooses to live in Ashland because she can walk or take the bus. She said she would like to contribute a perspective from those with disabilities as the city works on updating its Transportation System Plan.

City officials have said a goal of the plan is to balance the needs of drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and others who use different modes of transportation.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or