Ashland residents Vanston Shaw and Vicki Tripoli are vying for a seat on the Parks and Recreation Commission left empty when 16-year incumbent Joanne Eggers stepped down.
Tripoli, however, "probably won't" accept the position if elected because of an ongoing "personal family issue," she said.
Shaw took an interest in Ashland park policies about two years ago, when the commission began to consider loosening the rules regarding its dog ban in city parks.
Shaw was in favor of loosening the rules last year, he said, but he believes dog owners should have even more freedom in Ashland's parks than they do now.
The Parks Commission Monday is set to review a one-year pilot project it approved last November that removed dog bans from nine of Ashland's 17 parks. Dogs in those parks are required to be kept on a leash no longer than six feet, and can go no farther than that from paved surfaces. Also, owners are required to carry a means to pick up droppings.
"Considering that quite a few people in Ashland own dogs "… and that many people consider their dogs a part of their families, it's irrational," said Shaw 64, a retired school superintendent from Yreka, Calif., and Modoc County, who has lived in Ashland for the past six years.
At the meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St., the commission will "determine if there are negative, positive or neutral effects on parks and park patrons" related to dogs in the parks, its website says.
Aside from the dog park, the parks in Ashland that allow dogs are Clay Street, Garden Way, Garfield, Hunter, Railroad, Scenic, Sherwood and Triangle (list has been corrected).
"I think we should be able to walk our dogs across parks with leashes "… even if it's just to go sit under a tree," Shaw said. "Ashland parks look good, and I would like to keep them that way."
Another dog park would be a good asset for Ashland, he said, and he hopes the commission can find enough money to move forward with plans for Ashland Creek Park, which would stretch between Oak Street and the Ashland Creek on a seven-acre piece of city-owned property that currently houses a community garden off Hersey Street.
"I've always loved the parks here," he said, naming Hunter Park as his favorite for its tennis courts, "but, of course, Lithia Park, too."
Both Shaw and Tripoli are running as nonpartisan candidates and would serve a four-year term if elected.
Tripoli, 61, said, "I would have withdrawn" had she not missed the Aug. 31 deadline; it was too late for her to withdraw by the time she left her home in Ashland to be with family in California.
Describing the situation as a "medical crisis," Tripoli said she may accept the position "if things get better before the election."
"I just don't know," she said. "I like Ashland's parks a lot, and I know it's a lot of work on the commission, but I just thought I should take a turn "… put some of my time in."
Tripoli, who is retired, has volunteered with North Mountain Park Nature Center for the past eight years.
"I don't have an agenda," she said.
Eggers, 73, said she will still pay attention to the Parks Commission and lend her time when she can.
"It's a wonderful commission. It feels really good. Everyone is working together very well," she said. "16 years is a pretty long time, so I just decided it was time to step down. "… I just wish everybody well."
Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.