Council Member Paul Durham will take a temporary step back from his duties on the Tucson City Council after announcing that his husband is undergoing treatment for terminal cancer.
Durham, who has represented
Ward 3 for the past three years, also recently sustained multiple rib fractures and is still recovering. Ward 3 is made up of many neighborhoods on the city’s northwest side, such as Flowing Wells, Amphi, Campus Farm and Balboa Heights.
The council member sent this statement in his weekly Ward 3 newsletter Friday:
“I write to inform you that I will step back from my duties on a temporary basis starting immediately. I do so in order to recover from a recent injury and to ensure that I can properly support my husband, who is undergoing aggressive treatment for terminal cancer. This has been a challenging time for both of us. Thank you for the support that you have offered to our family. In the meantime, my office will continue to be available to each of you and Ward 3 constituents.”
Durham did not specify how long he would be on leave, but the Tucson code of ordinances states that a vacancy is deemed to exist if an elected official absents himself for a continuous 30 days without the consent of the council or is incapacitated and unable to perform his duties for two or more consecutive months.
Since he was elected in 2017, Durham has been a strong advocate for environmental issues and has emphasized the value of community. He previously served as chief of staff to former Council Member Nina Trasoff and has volunteered with several local groups, including the Tucson-Pima County Metropolitan Energy Commission, where he has worked to promote solar energy.
Philippe, Durham’s husband, is also the founder of Tucson Community Supported Agriculture, which supports local organic farming by bringing farm products directly to consumers.
Most recently, Durham helped lead the charge to declare a
climate emergency in Tucson and begin the development of a 10-year climate action plan. He worked alongside Tucson Mayor Regina Romero to garner community support for the plan that will lead Tucson to carbon neutrality by 2030.
“For the last three years, I’ve witnessed Council Member Durham’s dedication to serving the residents of Ward 3 and the City of Tucson,” Mayor Romero said Friday. “I wish him a speedy recovery and we understand his decision to support his husband during this difficult time.”
See what was torn down in downtown Tucson in the 1960s
The old YMCA building at Court and Congress on October 7, 1966. Next to the YMCA, left, is the La Selva Club. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen.
Open sky at the former YMCA and La Selva Club on West Congress on December 29, 1966, after demolition. Photo by Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen.
Greyhound Bus terminal
The Greyhound Bus depot, located on South Church Avenue and West Broadway Boulevard (left), was one of the businesses that had to move for the urban renewal project when this photograph was taken on July 12, 1968. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
Alfred Messner Antiques
The businesses of Alfred Messner Antiques (34 S Convent) and Rosequist Galleries (18 S Convent) were once on South Convent Avenue near Broadway Boulevard. The building, which was in the downtown area, was torn down to make way for the urban renewal project. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
Tucson Women's Club
The former Tucson Women's Club, at 317 W Alameda St., is torn down on November 16, 1967 as part of the urban renewal project. Once considered a landmark the city purchased the building before its demolition. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
Mariano Samaniego house
This is the old Mariano Samaniego house at 112 W Jackson on May 9, 1969 which was spared during the creation of the Tucson Convention Center and adjacent La Placita complex. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
South Meyer Avenue
South Meyer Avenue looking south from West Congress Street on June 26, 1966. All the buildings were demolished to make way for the Urban Renewal project of the 1960s and 70s. Mark Godfrey / Tucson Citizen
The tangled remnants of the turn of the century electric trolley tracks on West Congress were ripped up in early July 1969 to make way for a new thoroughfare in the urban renewal area. In the background is the Legal Tender bar as well as the Valley National Bank, now the Chase building. Tucson Citizen
South Main Ave.
The newly aligned South Main Ave swerved its way along a barren stretch of landscape on May 9, 1969. Note the Redondo Towers in the background. John Hemmer / Tucson Citizen
Reuben Gold's and other buildings along West Congress in downtown Tucson in early 1960s before the block was demolished. Jack Sheaffer / Arizona Daily Star
Reuben Gold's Furniture Store
Reuben Gold's Furniture Store in June, 1966, foreground, and the Tucsonia Hotel is in the background. Tucson Citizen
A couple gentlemen stand on West 14th Street (later became Cushing Street) and possibly South Church Avenue as construction continues on the Tucson Convention Center on December 4, 1970. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
A new Tucson skyline was emerging on May 9, 1969 as the home of Sabino Otero, middle left, was eventually destroyed and the stage set for the new convention center and the city's march toward urban renewal. John Hemmer / Tucson Citizen
The Plaza Theatre and downtown Tucson buildings taken June 1966. Tucson Citizen file photo.
The marquee at Plaza Theatre at 132 W Congress displays the latest movie ready to play at the popular theater which was near Court Avenue on June 26, 1966. All the buildings were demolished to make way for the Urban Renewal project of the 1960s and 70s. Mark Godfrey / Tucson Citizen
Demolition of the Plaza Theatre, 132 W. Congress St., began. The movie house, which featured Spanish-language films in later years was torn down to make way for the widening of Congress Street, part of Tucson's urban renewal project. May 14, 1969. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen.
Demolition of the Plaza Theatre at 132 W Congress St continues as progress is being made to widen the street as part of the urban renewal project in the downtown area on May 14, 1969. The theater was well-known for featuring Spanish-language films. Mesilla Street is in the foreground. The area is now part of the Veinte de Agosto Park. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
The Legal Tender
The El Toro cocktail lounge was situated next door to the Legal Tender bar on West Congress Street and down the street from the Plaza Theater, right, in the downtown area that was eventually torn down making way for the urban renewal project on February 1966. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
Old City Hall
The old City Hall, left, and the Jacobs house, a two story adobe building, far right is visible from Plaza de las Armas park on January 4 1967. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
A boy rides a bicycle past the Lyric movie theater 171 W Congress as well as other businesses near Meyer Avenue on June 26, 1966. All the buildings were demolished to make way for the county government buildings as part of the Urban Renewal project of the 1960s and 70s. Mark Godfrey / Tucson Citizen
This building may have been on the southeast corner of Congress Street and Church Avenue the downtown area making way for the urban renewal project on February 1966. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
A couple of women walk past the Pekin Cafe at 162 W Congress near Court Avenue on June 26, 1966. All the buildings were demolished as part of the Urban Renewal project of the 1960s and 70s. Mark Godfrey / Tucson Citizen
Original Chicago Store
A couple men leave one of the many businesses along West Congress Street including the Chicago Store, Mitchell's Furniture Store, La Selva Club on June 26, 1966. All the buildings were demolished to make way for the county government buildings as part of the Urban Renewal project of the 1960s and 70s. Mark Godfrey / Tucson Citizen
The Midtown Market and Liquor Store was at 258 S Stone Ave and West McCormick Street. It is now the parking lot of the Tucson Police Department's main building. The photo was taken on July 12, 1968. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen.
Sabino Otero home
The plan was to salvage the home Fremont-Sosa-Carrillo home, middle, and the home of Sabino Otero, foreground right, but in the end, the Otero building was eventually destroyed as part of march toward urban renewal on April 16, 1969. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
Undated photo of the Belmont Hotel and the original location of El Charro Restaurant in Tucson, Ariz. Both buildings succumbed to urban renewal in the late 1960s. Tucson Citizen
The Tucsonia Hotel 231 W Congress St at Main Avenue which also housed part of Reuben Gold's furniture store and Miller's Army Surplus Exchange on June 26, 1966. The building was demolished to make way for the Urban Renewal project of the 1960s and 70s. Mark Godfrey / Tucson Citizen
El Charro Restaurant, ca. 1960s. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
General Auto Sales
The General Auto Sales lot at 290 S Stone, was still around in February 1966 in the downtown area but was torn down to way for the urban renewal project. The main building for the Tucson Police Department took its place. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
Del Monte Market and South Meyer
A closed down Del Monte Market, at 114 S Meyer, which still bears the sign. July 12, 1968. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen.
The Sosa-Fremont-Carrillo house house was spared from destruction as the city destroyed a number of historic buildings south of the downtown area as part of its march toward urban renewal on February 16, 1969. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
The Sosa-Fremont-Carrillo house was spared from destruction as was the large fig tree located behind the building as the city destroyed a number of historic buildings south of the downtown area as part of its march toward urban renewal on February 16, 1969. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
Pima County buildings
The Tucson Convention Center starts to take shape as construction continues on December 4, 1970. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
La Placita Village
The three story United Bank building, left, was the first portion of La Placita Village to open in 1973. At right is the old El Charro Restaurant. In the background is the steel frame of other village shops. Looking east St. Augustine Cathedral can be seen in the distance. Art Grasberger / Arizona Daily Star
La Placita Park
The gazebo at La Placita Park on January 4 1967. Note: The photo is looking east and the Greyhound bus depot is in the background. Art Grasberger / Tucson Citizen
La Placita Park
La Placita Park, which was on West Broadway Boulevard near South Church Avenue, was surrounded by several businesses including El Charro restaurant and the Ronquillo's Bakery. John Hemmer / Tucson Citizen
The Cordova House, at 173 N Meyer Ave., was owned by Maria Cordova on April 24, 1965. The Territorial-style home at one time quartered officers when American troops arrived in Tucson in 1853. At the time of the photo commercial businesses occupied the premises on the Meyer side of the street while Mrs. Cordova lived in the rear. The house intersected Telles Street which was apparently not paved at the time. Al's Parking lot was to the left (south) of the building while the Jacobs house (not pictured) was even more to the left. John Hemmer / Tucson Citizen
A piece of heavy equipment used for demolition rests in the parking lot next to the Jacobs House on North Meyer Avenue and West Alameda Street as it was being torn down as part of the urban renewal project on January 4, 1968. It was unique because it was a two-story adobe residence. Built by Barron M. Jacobs, who along with his brother, Lionel, founded Tucson's first bank, the Pima County Bank. In the late 1800s, the house was considered to be the centerpiece of Tucson society. The best and most important parties took place in it. Incredible that such an elaborate Victorian could have been finished here a year before the railroad arrived. The house was built over an old Spanish and an even earlier prehistoric site. The design was believed to have come from California. The new city hall (and part of the old city hall) is in the background. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
Jacobs Assay Office
The Jacobs Assay Office, left foreground, at 30 S Main Ave., and a private residence was on the site of a proposed modern hotel as part of the urban renewal project. The office, which was originally established in 1880, was moved to its then present position in 1908. In the distance was the new city hall, left, the Transamerican Building and the Pima County Health and Welfare building. The photo was taken on July 25, 1969. Bill Hopkins / Tucson Citizen
South Church Avenue
The rundown remains of some houses along South Church Avenue are visible along with some debris that has accumulated in this May 1962 photograph. The Marist College building and the tops of the towers of the St Agustin Cathedral are also visible in the background. It is now part of the front of the Tucson Community Center complex. Bill Hopkins /Tucson Citizen