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Donnell appointed to Jackson City Council

The Jackson City Council met for about 35 minutes on Tuesday in their monthly meeting, and the main highlights from the meeting included appointing a new council member and exercising eminent domain.

Richard Donnell, the senior advisor to the president at Lane College, was selected to represent District 3, which is mainly in East Jackson.

Donnell is an outspoken advocate for East Jackson and the Black community of Jackson, and he said he was excited to continue to do that work from his seat on the council.

“I can be more involved in different things going on and have a voice in significant discussions now as an official member of the council, and that’s what I plan to do,” Donnell said.

Within minutes after being sworn in, Donnell was actively asking questions from city officials as they came before the council to explain processes behind items on the meeting’s agenda.

“I’ve known Mr. Donnell for years and knows he loves Jackson and its people,” said Mayor Scott Conger after the meeting. “We couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the candidates for the appointment.”

As the City prepares to go forward with the Bemis/South Fork Greenway Project that will connect Downtown and Bemis with a continuous green space with walking trails, a strip of land that is a railroad bed that’s been abandoned for 30 years is slated to be a part of it.

Eight landowners were connected to the corridor, some of whom didn’t know they owned the land. The railroad company was supposed to inform the landowners when they abandoned the railroad, because when that happens, the land becomes the property of the adjacent property owners.

Six of the landowners held out, and the council voted to execute eminent domain to acquire the property, which according to Conger, was the first time the City had done that in nearly a decade.

“It’s not something we want to do often as a city,” Conger said.

During discussions of budget amendments and contract awards, council member Tara Skinner questioned purchasing director Zack Polk about the process for requesting bids because three items on the agenda that were voted on each had one bid.

Polk, who’s been in the position for five months, said they’re working to get more bids for each request, but they’re early in transforming the process to get that done.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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