Town Charter, 1885
revised October 10, 2010
the Town of
Be it enacted by the
Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:
That the boundary line of the corporation of the town of Medford shall
commence at the southwest corner of the town of Medford, Jackson
county, Oregon, as laid down in the recorded plat thereof; and running
north fifty degrees and thirty minutes east (54 degs., 30 mins. E.)
along the south boundary line of said town, and beyond to the west bank
of Bear Creek; thence northward along the bank of said creek to a
point from which the northwest corner of said town bears south 54
degs., 30 min. W; thence from said point south 54 degs., 30 min. W.
of the northwest corner of said town of Medford; thence south sixty
chains; thence east twenty chains to the township line between range
one and two west, township thirty-seven south, intersecting the
township line, sixty chains south of the corner to sections nineteen
and thirty (19 and 30) and 24 and 25 of the township aforesaid.
The inhabitants of the town of Medford within the limits above
described, shall be, and they are hereby constituted a body politic in
fact and in law by the name and style of the town of Medford; and by
that name, they and their successors shall be known in law and have
perpetual succession, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, defend
and be defended in all courts of law and in all actions whatever; may
purchase, hold and receive property, real and personal, within said
town for public buildings, school purposes and town improvements; may
lease, sell and dispose of the same for the benefit of the town; may
purchase, receive, and hold property, real and personal, within and
beyond the limits of the town to be used for burial purposes and for
the reception of persons affected with contagious diseases; and for
work houses, houses of correction, and for the construction of water
works to supply the town with water; and may lease, sell and dispose of
the same for the benefit of the town, and they shall have and use a
common seal, break and alter the same and make anew one at pleasure.
The government of the said town shall be vested in a board of trustees
consisting of five members, who shall be known and designated as the
trustees of Medford, a Recorder, a Treasurer, a Marshal, a Commissioner
of Streets, who shall be qualified electors in this
State and residents of the town six months next previous to any
election at which they can be eligible to any of the said offices. It
shall be the duty of the trustees of the town to devise and adopt all
such measures, regulations, and ordinances, connected with the public
security, tranquility, cleanliness, improvement and ornament of the
town, and the public health, prosperity and welfare, and the regulation
of the finances and public expenditures of the town, as shall be
expedient from time to time and in accordance with this act and the
laws of this State and the United States; Provided, That
the residents of said town shall not be exempt from the payment of such
road tax as are, or may be imposed by law upon other residents of
Jackson county; And provided, further, That said
town of Med ford shall constitute a road district in Jackson county of
the following extent, to-wit: The roads and streets of said town and
for one mile from the depot of the Oregon and California railroad in
said town of Medford on each of the county roads leading from said
town; and the Street Commissioner of said town, under the direction of
the trustees, shall collect and apply all road taxes within said road
district to the improvement of roads and streets therein; And
provided, further, That the trustees shall have power to
compel, by ordinance, the owners of lots to construct and repair
sidewalks along the streets adjacent to said lots at the cost of the
owners thereof, and to provide for selling the lots adjacent to which
any such sidewalk may be constructed or improvements made, to pay all
costs and expenses thereof in the same manner as like property is sold
on execution under and in pursuance of the laws of this State.
The board of trustees shall have power to make
ordinances; to prevent and punish vagrancy and disorderly conduct, and
to provide rules and regulations compelling persons convicted of
vagrancy or disorderly conduct to work on the streets or public works
of the town; Provided, That no sentence to hard
work on the streets or public works of the town shall exceed ten days
for any one conviction.
Sec. 4. It
shall be the duty of the board of trustees to order all elections, to
designate the place of holding the same, to give at least ten days'
notice thereof, and to appoint inspectors of the election. The
elections shall be conducted according to the provisions of the act to
regulate elections in this State. If any elector [judge] shall fail to
attend at the proper hour an election for which he shall have been
appointed, the electors present may appoint one in his stead. The
returns of all elections shall be made to the board of trustees, who
shall publicly examine the same and declare the result thereof, and
give certificates of election to persons having a plurality of votes; Provided,
That the first election held under this act shall be
held at such time and place as the organizing hereafter named shall
direct, after ten days'
notice thereof, and within twenty days after this act of incorporation
shall have been accepted and adopted by a majority vote of the legal
voters of the said town of Medford; Provided, That
all annual elections thereafter shall be held on the first Monday of
January of each year.
Sec. 5. The
board of trustees shall assemble within ten days after the election and
choose a presiding officer from their number, who shall be designated
as the president of the board in all the proceedings of the board of
trustees. In case of the absence of the president at the meetings of
the board of trustees, they may elect a president pro tem, who
shall have the power and perform the duties of the president for the
time. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum to do
business, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and compel
the attendance of absent members in such a manner and under such
penalties as the board may have previously prescribed. They shall judge
of the qualifications, election and returns of their own members, and
other officers elected under this act (charter), and determine
contested elections. They may determine rules for their own
proceedings; punish any member or other person for disorderly conduct
in their presence at any meeting of the board, and with the concurrence
of four-fifths of all the members of the board, may expel a (any)
member. They shall keep a journal of the proceedings, and at the desire
of any member shall cause the ayes and nays to be taken on any question
and entered on the journals, and their proceedings shall be public.
Sec. 6. The
board of trustees shall have power within the limits of the
To make by laws and ordinances, not repugnant to the laws of the State,
or the laws of the United States.
To levy and collect taxes, not to exceed one mill per cent, per annum,
upon all property made taxable by law for county and State purposes.
To make regulations to prevent and remove nuisances; to prevent the
introduction of contagious and other diseases into the town, and to
secure the general health of the inhabitants.
To license, tax, and regulate auctioneers, taverns, ordinances,
[ordinaries], hawkers, peddlers, brokers, pawnbrokers, and money
To license, tax and regulate theatrical and other exhibitions, shows,
and amusements, bar-rooms, saloons, liquor or other groceries, billiard
tables, bowling alleys, and suppress gaming and gaming houses, houses
of ill-fame, and bawdy houses; Provided, That the
license fee for the sale of liquors, beer, or other spirituous or malt
liquors shall not exceed the sum of two hundred dollars per annum,
prior to the first day of January, A. D., 1889; And provided
further, That no person or persons having paid a license to
the town for carrying on any business or traffic named in the fourth or
fifth clauses above, shall be compelled to pay license to the county or
State for the same business.
To regulate the storage of gunpowder, tar, pitch, resin, and all other
combustible materials; and the use of candles, lamps, and other lights
in stores, shops, and other places; to prevent, remove, and secure any
fire-place, stove, or chimney, oven, or boiler, or other apparatus
which may be dangerous in causing fires; and to provide for the
prevention and extinguishment of fires.
7. To provide a workhouse and house of correction for the reception of
vagrant and vicious persons, and to prescribe rules and regulations for
the government thereof.
To remove all obstructions from the public highway, streets, side and
cross-walks, and to provide for the construction, repair, and cleaning
of the same, and of the gutters and sewers.
To appropriate money for any item of town expenditure, and to provide
for the payment of debts and expenses of the town.
To prevent and restrain any riot, noise or disturbance, or disorderly
assemblage in any street, house or place in the town.
To impose, collect and appropriate fines, forfeitures and penalties for
the breach of any ordinance, and provide for the punishment of breaches
of the town ordinances; but no fine to exceed one hundred dollars shall
be imposed, and no offender shall be imprisoned for a longer term than
twenty days for one breach of the town ordinances.
To provide for the collection and disbursing of all moneys to which the
town is or may become entitled by law or which may be assessed or
authorized to be collected for town purposes within said town.
To levy and provide for the working of a town road tax within the
limits of the town upon the streets and public highways thereof, under
the supervision of the commissioner of the streets.
To organize fire and hook and ladder companies and to regulate the fire
department in said town.
Every ordinance and regulation to be effected [effective] shall be
passed by a vote of a majority of all the members elected to the board
of trustees: and the votes shall be by ayes and nays, and the names of
members voting for or against every ordinance and regulation shall be
entered on the journal.
Sec. 8. All
demands and accounts against the town shall be audited by the board of
trustees and paid by the Treasurer, on the warrant of the President of
the board, attested by the Clerk.
Sec. 9. The
style of the town ordinance shall be as follows: "The people of the
town of Medford do ordain as follows:"
The Recorder shall have the power and jurisdiction of a justice of the
peace in all civil and criminal matters, and in all proceedings,
whether civil or criminal, shall be governed by the laws relating to
justices of the peace in this State. He shall also have original and
exclusive jurisdiction over all violations of town ordinances and
regulations; may examine, hold to bail, fine or commit persons found
guilty thereof. He shall also perform the duties of clerk of the board
Sec. 2. It
shall be the duty of the Marshal, in addition to the duties prescribed
to him by the board of trustees, to execute and return all processes
issued and directed to him by the Recorder or by any legal authority.
He shall attend on the Recorder's court and the meeting of the board of
trustees, when requested by them to do so. He shall arrest on complaint
or otherwise all persons guilty of a breach of the peace or of a
violation of the town ordinances, and bring them before the Recorder
for trial, and be a conservator of the peace generally.
Sec. 3. It
shall be the duty of the Treasurer to collect and receive all moneys
that shall come or be due said town, whether by taxation or otherwise,
and to pay out the same as provided for by law, and to do and perform
all other acts as shall be prescribed to him by the board of trustees.
He shall on the first Monday of January, April, July and October of
each year, make out and present to the president of the board of
trustees a full and complete statement of the receipts and expenditures
of the preceding three months, and at the end of the year make a final
settlement with the board of trustees, and pay over to his successor in
office all town money and other property in his hands at such time.
Sec. 4. It
shall be the duty of the commissioner of the streets to
superintend all improvements of the public streets, side and crosswalks
and alleys, public squares, commons and cemeteries; and the
construction and repairs of all public buildings, water-works and all
other public works of the town. He shall do and perform all such other
duties as may be required by the ordinances, the towns [laws] of the
State and of the United States.
Sec. 5. The
board of trustees shall define the duties of all officers which are not
Sec. 6. If
any person who may be elected or appointed to any office under this
act, shall remove from the town, or absent himself therefrom for thirty
days or more without leave of the board of trustees, or shall fail to
qualify within ten days after his election, the office which he held or
to which he may have been elected shall be deemed vacant.
The board of trustees shall receive no fees, salaries or other
emoluments for their services, unless an ordinance or bill for that
purpose be submitted to the legal voters of the town.
Sec. 2. The
Recorder shall receive the same fees as justices of the peace are
entitled to by law for similar services.
Sec. 3. The
Marshal shall receive the same fees for his services as constables are
now allowed by law for similar services.
Sec. 4. The
other officers provided for in this act or who may be appointed in
pursuance thereof, shall receive such percentage or compensation as
may be established by ordinance.
The officers elected under this act shall hold their offices for one
year and until their successors are duly qualified, the term of office
to commence ten days after the annual election; Provided, That
persons elected to fill the vacancy shall hold out the unexpired time
of the office to which they shall be elected, and until their
successors are qualified.
Sec. 2. When
two or more persons shall have equal and the highest number of votes
for any office provided for in this act, the board of trustees shall
decide the election.
Sec. 3. All
ordinances, resolutions, bills or regulations calling for the
appropriation of money, shall lie over for at least ten days.
Sec. 4. The
board of trustees shall have power to levy or collect taxes exceeding
one mill per cent, if an ordinance or bill for that purpose be first
submitted to the legal voters of the town, after ten
days' notice of the time and place of such voting, and the majority of
such voters shall vote in favor of such tax.
Sec. 5. No
member of the board of trustees shall, during his term of office, be
interested in any contracts, the expenses of which are to be paid out
of the town treasury; and all jobs or contracts for constructing,
improving, and ornamenting any place or object in town or out of it,
the expenses of which are to be paid out of the town treasury, shall be
let out to the lowest responsible bidder, and to be done according to
the specifications furnished from the proper officer or department of
the town government, and which shall have been approved by the board of
trustees and made public at least ten days before the closing of the
bids for such contract or job.
Sec. 6. The
president of the board of trustees shall at least once in each year,
and oftener if he shall deem it expedient, communicate to the board a
general statement in writing of the situation of the condition of the
town in relation to its general finances and improvements, and
recommend to the board the adoption of such measures connected with the
police, the security of the public health, the improvement, cleanliness
and ornament of the town as he may deem expedient; and he shall perform
all such duties as may be prescribed to him by this act and the town
ordinance and the laws of this State and the United States, and not
inconsistent with either.
Sec. 7. The
fiscal year of the town shall terminate with the second Tuesday of
January of each year.
Sec. 8. The
legislative assembly of this State may at any time amend, alter or
repeal this charter.
Sec. 9. The
board of trustees shall cause to be posted up in one or more
conspicuous places in the town, at least one month before the annual
election of each year, a full, complete, and detailed statement of all
the moneys received and expended by the town government during the
preceding year, and on accounts received, classifying each receipt and
expenditure under its appropriate head.
Sec. 10. The
act of incorporation shall be submitted to the electors of the town of
Medford, as herein defined, at a medium [meeting] to be called for
accepting or rejecting the same; and if a majority of said voters shall
be in favor of accepting the same, it shall become a law, and be in
full force, and not otherwise.
That for the purpose of carrying this act into effect, J. S. Howard, I.
J. Phipps, and Isaac Woolf are hereby constituted an organizing board,
who shall appoint and give notice of the time and place of voting on
the acceptance or reaction of this act; and they shall also appoint
three inspectors of the balloting, who shall be qualified, and who shall canvass the vote and
make returns to said organizing board, who shall immediately declare
the result; and if this act shall be accepted, it shall be the duty of
the said organizing board immediately to appoint a time and place,
giving ten days notice thereof, for holding an election to elect
officers, as herein provided, to hold until the beginning of the next
fiscal year after such election, and until their successors are
qualified; and the said organizing board shall also appoint three
inspectors of such election, who shall canvass the votes cast at such
election, and make immediate returns thereof to the said organizing
board, who shall thereupon issue certificates of election to the
persons having received the highest number of votes for the respective
offices for which they were elected.
Sec. 12. At
the election for the acceptance or rejection of this act, and at the
first election held under it for the election of officers, all male
citizens of the United States over twenty-one years of age, who are
actual residents of the town of Medford, as herein defined, on the
first day of January, 1885, shall be entitled to vote at the election
above provided for; Provided, That all other
elections shall be governed by the laws of this State relating to
This act shall take effect and be in force in accordance with the
provisions of this act.
Approved February 24, 1885.
The Laws of Oregon, 1885,