JPR and SOU In Dispute

By Steven Sandberg

MEDFORD, Ore. — A dispute between Southern Oregon University and Jefferson Public Radio could threaten the future of the radio station and several projects.

The Holly Theatre restoration and several jobs could be at stake as the two sides continue to disagree over who is in control. Now, political leaders are stepping in to call for an end to the dispute. Thursday morning, State Senator Alan Bates and Representative Peter Buckley called for a cooling off period between Southern Oregon University and Jefferson Public Radio.

The issue between SOU and the JPR Foundation is over who is in control of various operations and assets; whether JPR took on too much with its Holly Theatre restoration project, and whether fundraising between SOU and the JPR Foundation will compete.

Individual board members say they have been threatened with lawsuits by the Oregon University System and some have responded by threatening to resign Friday, when the two sides will meet to talk about leadership changes.

SOU Officials say, because of a confidentiality agreement that’s been put in place, they cannot comment on the situation. Board members say they hope a cooling off period prevent the dispute from impacting the radio station or any of its projects.

The two sides will meet Friday afternoon at a public meeting at the University club, next door to the Holly Theatre. It will begin at 3:30 p.m., and part of the meeting will take time for public comment.