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Ashland Mayor Julie Akins announces abrupt resignation

 Ashland Mayor Julie Akins announced she will resign on Jan. 27, 2023.
Julie Akins
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Julie Akins for Mayor
Ashland Mayor Julie Akins announced she will resign on Jan. 27, 2023.

Neither Akins nor the City of Ashland responded to a request for comment.

Akins served on the Ashland city council from 2018-2020, and spent the last two years as mayor, after being elected in November of 2020. The mayor of Ashland serves a four year term, which would have come up for election in 2024.

In her letter, Akins didn’t provide a specific reason she’s leaving. “It’s important to admit when it’s time and for me it’s time,” she wrote.

Akins helped launch the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission last year, and helped the city recover from the Almeda Fire in 2020.

She has a long history as a journalist in Southern Oregon, having spent over five years as the news director of KOBI-TV, and working as a reporter for the Medford Mail Tribune and a producer at Southern Oregon PBS.

According to the Ashland city charter, the mayor’s position will be filled within 60 days of its vacancy through an election by the city council. That person will remain mayor until the next election.

Below is Akins’ full statement announcing her resignation:

Fellow Councilors, the people of Ashland and Joe Lessard,

Today I am submitting my resignation, effective Friday, January 27th at the close of business.

I’ve served the community as a volunteer legislator for four years, two years as a city councilor and two years as your mayor. I’m proud of certain accomplishments: Creating the Social Equity and Racial Justice Committee, changing the focus to housing, funding emergency shelter for vulnerable populations, moving our community through the pandemic and the Almeda fire, working toward a sustainable budget and setting an agenda of transparency.

I’ve been honored to serve the people of Ashland as your elected mayor, an honor afforded few, and I have appreciated the support of the people. But it’s important to admit when it’s time and for me it’s time.

I hope I leave behind the understanding it’s possible to be kind and caring but firm and clear.

I would also like to thank my husband Leo who sacrificed so much in order for me to do this kind of volunteerism in our community and toward our shared values. And I look forward to spending more time with him, with my family and in rebuilding my career, which I love. To the people of Ashland: You will see me around and my heart remains open to you.

Take care of each other.

Respectfully,

Julie Akins

Copyright 2023 Jefferson Public Radio. To see more, visit Jefferson Public Radio.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast. When not out in the field, Roman enjoys travelling and cross-stitching.