ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
June 28, 2000
CALL TO ORDER– The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairperson Kari Tuck at 7:05 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Members present were Bruce Moats, Kari Tuck, Karen Amarotico, Russ Otte, Mort Smith and Howard Braham. Staff present were Dick Wanderscheid and Sonja Akerman. Dan Murphy represented Ashland Sanitary & Recycling. Members unable to attend were Carole Wheeldon, Ashley Henry and Russ Chapman.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Braham moved and Moats seconded to approve the minutes of the May 24, 2000 meeting as submitted. The motion was unanimously passed.
PUBLIC FORUM – Paul Kay updated the Commission on the subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system he installed for the City on "B" Street near North Mountain. He said he will also be working on the strip across the street on North Mountain Avenue. Since this soil is wetter, different plants will be used. He also invited the Commission to tour the orchard off Royal Crest Road near Talent in August. This is the demonstration site he spoke to the Commission about last August and September. He will arrange a field trip. Kay then asked the Commission to get involved in the Siskiyou Boulevard redesign so it will meet the needs of the residents and perhaps be a demonstration project for water conservation. The mayor will be appointing a committee soon. He said he would be happy to supply useful, beneficial, economic designs and that SDI would be a likely candidate. He noted the McAndrews Road extension in Medford will be using SDI. His interest is to apply only the water that is needed to create the type of environment that is wanted. Otte stated if the Commission gets involved with Siskiyou Boulevard, a number of things should be looked at, including runoff water and hard surfaces. The Commission members all agreed to recommend to the mayor that Kay represent the Commission on the new Siskiyou Boulevard Redesign Committee. Kay thanked the Commission and said he would be honored. In addition, he stated he would like to write a Jefferson Monthly article on subsurface drip irrigation.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE – Dan Murphy reported 1) worm bins are selling fast and that he is already putting in another order. No one has returned a bin, so he is assuming they have been working for everyone. Tuck noted there will be another worm composting class in August and that she will have information available at the compost class on July 8. Claudia Law (who teaches the compost classes) will be asked to mention the worm bins that are available at Ashland Sanitary. 2) The new recycle facility at the transfer station is being used. It holds a smaller quantity than the depot on Water Street. He mentioned certified lumber was used where possible. Amarotico asked about the Medford recycle facility. Murphy said it is off Table Rock Road just past Antelope. This facility at Rogue Disposal is large and fancy, has conveyor belts, etc. and Murphy added it would be worth a trip to have a look. 3) Murphy will be writing a Jefferson Monthly article this fall about where our recycled products are going. He will first write a report to bring back to the Commission, then after discussion, it will be printed. #1 and #7 plastics were discussed. Amarotico said there are many products she likes that do not come in #1 plastic containers, so she calls to let the company know she will buy the product when it comes in a recyclable container. Tuck suggested also putting this information in the local newspapers. After talking about this, it was decided that after the article is printed in the Jefferson Monthly, the Commission could follow up with articles in the paper. For example, one question would be "why aren't #7 and #5 containers recyclable?" This is not a one-article issue. Murphy will give an overview next month of what we recycle and where it goes, why #3 and #7 plastics are not recyclable, etc. Wanderscheid commented the key is to not use the products if they are not in recyclable containers. Braham also noted precycle issues need to be addressed also. Tuck said we all have questions about these things and the subject would be a good project for the Education Subcommittee to work on this fall. On the same note, Smith asked if the Jefferson Monthly articles could be printed in the newspapers. Wanderscheid stated that typically, newspapers do not like to print anything that has already been printed. Braham said the committee could use the theme of what is printed in the Jefferson Monthly, then use it for articles in the newspapers. Amarotico stated articles could be used, then tailored into a series. Tuck said this is all something the Education Subcommittee will discuss. 4) Discount day at the transfer station was on June 10th. 165 cars came in; last year 200 were counted. On average, about 130 cars are typical.
Green Business – Ross Finney showed the Commission what the logo would probably look like. It will be the Sustainable Ashland logo with GREEN BUSINESS PROGRAM PARTICIPANT wrapping around it. The Commission agreed the initial logo should have the year 2000 added to the top. Finney said Standing Stone, Ashland Community Food Store and Brothers are all completing the process now. He commented Energy Analyst Cathy Cartmill has been very active and beneficial in the meetings with the businesses. He will bring back a summary report at the July meeting. Finney then said the article in the Tidings created a lot of awareness about Green Business and there will be a brief article in the August issue of the City Source. Annie Hoy, from Jefferson Public Radio will be interviewing Finney and a couple of the business owners about the program also. Finney asked the Commission if it would like to have him continue as project coordinator during the next fiscal year. Wanderscheid noted we are in a new budget year and recommended Finney be retained in his present capacity and that money be allocated as needed. Otte moved to allocate $1000 during this fiscal year so Finney can finish setting up the program. If more money is needed, he can come back to the Commission. Braham seconded the motion and it was unanimously passed. Finney stated he will take the report to the City Council also. When asked by Braham about incentives, Finney responded all the businesses in the program will be recognized. A big incentive will be the savings for those businesses that don't do much now. Otte commented it would be great to find a profligate model that would make a big leap if in the program. Tuck said a gas station would be interesting. Wanderscheid stated the program will be promoted after it is implemented. We are trying to learn at this point. At next month's meeting, the Commission will officially decide on the businesses to be in the program.
Education Subcommittee – The Commission discussed the fish stencils by all the storm drains. Tuck said the Parks Department has an entire program set up, which includes the paint, stencils, notebook, map of all the drains and a five minute video, which was made by Talent Middle School students. Tuck stated the program is promoted through the Parks Department. Otte said it should be advertised in the newspaper during late winter of every year. Smith stated it could be an article explaining why this is done and why it needs to be done. Wanderscheid said it could be in the utility bill newsletter, perhaps in the upcoming August issue. He also noted water based paint is used, but it doesn't last as long as oil based paint. Tuck said since this needs to be done when the weather is warm, this is good timing. Also discussed was the articles on recycling that will begin next month. The subcommittee will meet at 2:00 on July 11 at Standing Stone for a brainstorming session.
TID Subcommittee – Wanderscheid reported the committee had met on June 13 and tasks were divided among staff. The next meeting will be on July 20 at 2:00 p.m.
Jefferson Monthly Article – The next article will be written by Smith. As discussed earlier, Kay offered to write an article on subsurface drip irrigation, but would like it to be published in the newspapers also. Ideally, he would like it to be published in mid-winter so people can think about how they will set up their irrigation systems in the spring. Wanderscheid suggested the article be printed in the February issue of the Jefferson Monthly, then be reformatted for the newspapers. The article will need to be in the December packet for the Commission. Murphy will be writing the article for October or November, Wheeldon will be writing one on transportation and Tuck will write an article on vermiculture.
Thanks from Claudia Law – The thank you card from Claudia was passed around. Wanderscheid noted the first compost class will be on July 8.
Update on Solar Program – Wanderscheid stated the solar panels on the Police Department, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the library at Southern Oregon University have been completed. The system at the Council Chambers should be finished soon. Also at this location will be an educational kiosk, which will monitor both systems at the city sites and will be operational - with a video and a computer system that will show how much electricity they are generating. 250 people signed up for purchasing green power. Wanderscheid added the celebration of completion of these solar systems will be at 10:30 a.m. on July 28 at the Council Chambers.
Budget – Referring to the memo he had written, Wanderscheid stated there was enough money in the budget to allocate $800 to the nature center at North Mountain Park. Otte moved and Amarotico seconded to approve the incremental cost on decking and lumber for the nature center in the amount of $800. The motion passed unanimously. Wanderscheid suggested Commission members present the check to the Parks Department at the July 24 Parks Commission meeting. Tuck will speak with Parks Director Ken Mickelsen to get this on the agenda.
COMMISSION ITEMS – 1) The Commissioners discussed going on a field trip to Dry Creek Landfill, Biomass, Rogue Disposal, etc. Otte said it would be good to get a Tidings reporter to go along. Moats stated he may be able to use a van from the university. This will be on the July agenda. 2) The Commission decided it was no longer necessary for the Green Business subcommittee to meet because the program will be running and the entire Commission will be involved from now on. 3) Smith will be on the Education Subcommittee. 4) Otte informed the Commission the school district has a new superintendent. He will find out the new philosophy and attitude the district will be taking by the end of August. He will also meet with her to let her know what the Conservation Commission is doing.
AJOURNMENT – The meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.