Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, July 23, 2001

City of Ashland

 

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

July 23, 2001

ATTENDANCE

Present JoAnne Eggers, Sally Jones, Rick Landt, Jim Lewis, Laurie MacGraw, Councilor Don Laws,

Director Ken Mickelsen

Absent None

 

CALL TO ORDER Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Regular Meeting – June 25, 2001

Commissioner Landt said that he would like the last sentence under Commission discussion in the section related to bikes at the Skate Park be deleted unless another Commissioner felt it should remain. He said he did not believe he made comment. There was no opposition among Commissioners to deleting the sentence. Commissioner Landt also said that under the report related to updating the Open Space / Park Land Acquisition Plan, Keri Greene's name was misspelled and that that should be corrected.

Commissioner Eggers made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 25, 2001 Regular Meeting as corrected. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 1 abstain (MacGraw)

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Suggestion to install Bocce Ball facilities

Lee Carrau (497 Starflower Lane) and Gary Foll (925 B. Street) were present to ask that Commissioners consider establishing Bocce Ball facilities somewhere within Ashland's park system. They presented information about the sport saying that it was a very popular activity among seniors although people of all ages could enjoy the game. If the Commission chose to consider the idea, they indicated that whatever was established would be appreciated but suggested that a "Double Court" be considered that would require a relatively flat area of about 40 feet by 60 - 80 feet would.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Eggers said that she was glad that the gentlemen had brought the idea to the Commission's attention. She was supportive of the idea and said that she herself had considered that it might be a good facility to establish in one of the neighborhood parks.

Chair Landt commented that if the gentlemen wanted to pursue the idea further they could take one of two avenues: either ask to be placed on a future agenda so that additional information could be presented to Commissioners and action could be taken on the request, or, coming to the Commission during its budget preparation process for fiscal year 2003 so that the item could be considered in that year's budget.

Mr. Carrau responded that they would like to have the matter considered prior to the budget planning process so that the Commission would have the information it needed ahead of time. Chair Landt said that they could work with staff to determine what locations might be suitable for a Bocce Ball facility and what it would cost to install one.

Open Forum - None.

ADDITIONS or DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Review of plan and discussion related to electrical energy conservation in parks

Director Mickelsen reported that the Commission directed staff to develop a plan whereby electric energy consumption within the parks and recreation system could be reduced by 12%. He said that staff reviewed the Department's usage over the past twelve months, analyzed the level of usage various park features and facilities generated, and developed a plan that would enable the Commission to reach it's goal of reducing consumption by 12%.

As outlined in the memorandum to Commissioners dated July 17, 2001, conservation measures alone would not meet a 12% reduction in usage. Curtailment of some services would be needed to reach the goal. The plan developed by staff outlines two areas of curtailment: closing most of the public restrooms within the system during winter months and shortening the operational season for the Darex Ice Rink. He said that there are some kinds of conservation measures that staff could still investigate related to the level of energy used in the restrooms. For example, perhaps the type of thermostats that are currently in the restrooms could be upgraded which would bring some energy savings. However, projecting the level of savings would not be as verifiable as simply closing the facilities.

Department staff worked closely with the Electric and Conservation Departments in developing the plan. Director Dick Wandersheid was available to answer any questions Commissioners might have related to the topic.

Director Wandersheid said that due to the extremely low water levels this year that the amount of electric energy that will be available is in serious question. He said that the City has entered into a mitigation agreement with Bonneville that the City of Ashland's electric utility will cut back it's overall consumption for this winter by 10%. He said that when compared to the city-owned utility's overall usage, the parks and recreation system is not a particularly high user. However, he complimented the Commission for reaching for a reduction of 12% within the system as a positive way to set an example for the entire community.

Director Wandersheid said that prior to developing the plan, Parks staff conducted a thorough review of it's electric consumption over the past year. He said that Director Mickelsen clearly explains the difference between conservation and curtailment in the memorandum. And that, unfortunately, he agrees with the conclusion drawn in the memorandum that states that conservation measures alone will not meet a 12% reduction. He said that his Department would continue to work with Parks staff to try to find additional ways that usage could be made more efficient. However, he agrees with Parks and Recreation Department staff that if the Commission wants to reach its 12% goal, some policies related to curtailment measures will be needed. Again, he applauded the Commission on its goal of going beyond the 10%.

Commissioner Landt asked Director Wandersheid whether or not he believed that the City would establish some kind of mandated curtailment measures for citizens. Director Wandersheid responded that he believed that electric utility users would be asked to voluntarily reduce consumption but he did not foresee a mandated reduction similar to what was being considered related to water this summer. He said that at this time it does not look like we will have rolling brown-outs, blackouts, or forced curtailment. However, we definitely need to hope that we do not have another year of drought which would continue to negatively affect the amount of hydro-electric available.

Commissioner Landt commented that it may appear capricious on the part of the Commission to close restrooms to save energy unless the citizens are aware that there is a very valid reason to do so. Director Wandersheid said that even though the request from the City to its citizens would remain voluntary, he believed that the plea would be strong enough that if the Commission closed restrooms it would be seen as a response to that plea and would help to set an example for the community.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

MOTION

Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to direct staff to continue to work with the City's Electric and Conservation Department's to determine ways that additional conservation measures might be implemented and to bring the topic back to the Commission no later than its October 2001 Regular Meeting. Commissioner Eggers seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Report and discussion on improving water quality in the Lithia Park lower pond

Reviewing the memorandum dated July 13, 2001, Director Mickelsen said that the Commission has been studying different methodologies for improving the water quality at the lower pond in Lithia Park. As directed by the Commission, URS Corporation, a consulting firm out of Portland, has reviewed the information developed about the pond and has submitted a written report dated July 11, 2001 that makes a recommendation to the Commission to implement an alternative, interim measure. Essentially, the recommendation calls for removing the solids from the pond on a periodic basis and installing a pump that could pump the water into the sanitary sewer. The pump could also be used to recycle the water up to the waterfall which would flow back into the pond. Although this would not significantly help water quality, it would restore a popular aesthetic feature to the lower park. The pumping to the waterfall could be turned off if conservation of electric energy is needed. Improving management practices and policies related to feeding waterfowl will also have some impact on water quality and is scheduled to be addressed later in the meeting.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Referring to comments made by Paul Kay, a volunteer who had developed information related to the various methodologies that could be implemented, Commissioner Eggers asked for clarification of the amount of electric energy the pump would use.

Paul Kay (1234 Strawberry Lane) said that if a 2 HP pump were installed and ran 24 hours a day it would use about 36 kWh per day. The pump would probably be used two or three days a year for flushing from the pond to the sanitary sewer. The 2 HP pump would could also be used to recycle a light flow to the waterfall for mostly aesthetic purposes if the Commission chose to do so. If the Commission at some point chose to use the recycling water as part of a process of improving water quality, more pumps would need to be added to increase the water flow. Regardless, this pump could be part of that solution so it would not be money wasted if it were installed.

Commissioner Landt suggested that there would be some uncertainty involved in whatever solution is adopted. He asked whether or not staff concurred. Director Mickelsen said that in staff's opinion whatever long-term solution was implemented would have some risk for success. That is one of the reasons that staff supports the alternative, phased-in approach suggested by URS. For a minimal amount of dollars we can see how well this works and it should provide a fairly simple, interim solution that will alleviate the immediate problem.

MOTION

Indicating that he was supportive of the recommendation made by URS because it buys the Commission some time and would give us an approach to cleaning the water without prohibiting other kinds of treatment, Commissioner Landt made the following motion:

    • To authorize staff to drain, clean and fill the lower pond on a periodic basis,
    • To install one pump to pump water from the pond to the sanitary sewer and to establish plumbing to the waterfall plumbing the system in such a manner that additional pumps could be added in the future if the Commission chose to do so, and
    • To activate water from the one pump to the waterfall except during times of electric energy curtailment as defined by the City.

Commissioner Lewis seconded.

In discussion of the motion, Commissioner Jones inquired as to how frequently "a periodic basis" would be considering the question of water curtailment this year. Commissioner Landt responded that the frequency would depend upon whatever conditions would need to be taken into consideration, such as shortage of water and environmental considerations. He said that he would be in favor of having staff make the decision about when and how frequently the pond water would be changed.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Discussion of management practices related to feeding waterfowl at Lithia Park's ponds

Director Mickelsen said that over the years there has been discussion off and on about whether or not some kind of restrictions should be placed on the quality and quantity of food that the public is permitted to use to feed waterfowl at the ponds. In addressing the topic of water quality at the ponds, it has become apparent that the overabundance of food thrown into the ponds, particularly the quantity of bread, is detrimental to the water quality. It also may not be the "best" food to feed the wildfowl. For these reasons, staff believes it would be the appropriate time to address management practices related to feeding the waterfowl. He reviewed a memorandum dated July 9, 2001 in which staff outlined possible modifications that could be made to current management practices and requested direction from the Commission as to what changes, if any, it would like to have implemented.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Verland Beard (8007 Dead Indian Road) said he goes to the lower ponds several times a week. He observes how much people like to feed the ducks. He said part of the charm of Lithia Park is its simplicity; there aren't a lot of rules telling you what you can do and what you can't do. He asked that the Commission not make it too complicated to feed the waterfowl. "Don't have people arrested for throwing a piece of sandwich to a duck."

Eric Setterberg, Department staff person who works most closely with waterfowl in the parks, said that it has been his observation that the public enjoys feeding the waterfowl a great deal. And, he agreed with Mr. Beard that it would be appropriate to try to keep it simple. However, he said that he also believes that it is time to try to change the habits of the people and that the best way is through education. He would support educational signs though he did not believe that it necessarily needed to be put in the form of a "rule". But it's important to start getting the message out that there is better food than stale bagels or bread. The concept of providing feeders that would dispense the appropriate kind of food has its advantages and disadvantages. He said that personally he believed that providing some type of mechanism to provide the appropriate food on site would be worth trying.

Commissioner Landt inquired how Mr. Setterberg would address the quantity as well as quality of food. Eric said that he believed that would be almost impossible to control. You could set the dispensers to provide only a certain amount of food each day but he didn't believe it would be practical or beneficial to try to prevent people from bringing in food.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Eggers suggested that the next step would be to ask staff to provide feeders and educational signs associated with the feeders as soon as is practicable. In response to a question from Commissioner Lewis, she said that she would also support controlling the duck population by having staff remove and relocate domestic and cross-bred ducks as needed.

MOTION

After further brief discussion, Commissioner Eggers made the following motion that would serve as management policy related to feeding waterfowl at both the lower and upper ponds in Lithia Park:

  • To authorize staff to create permanent, educational displays or signs that would include information about the appropriate quality and quantity of food to feed the waterfowl,
  • To authorize staff to provide feeders at the ponds that would dispense a "portion or handful" of the appropriate food for a fee of 25 cents per portion, and
  • To authorize staff to remove and relocate domestic or cross-bred ducks from the ponds.

Commissioner Jones seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Discussion on modifying corral areas and fencing at the Vogel property

Director Mickelsen said that staff had been asked to come up with a plan to adjust the fence line at the Vogel property so that 100 feet of riparian area could be provided where practical. The memorandum dated July 16, 2001 outlines staff's recommendation. He said that staff has just learned that one of the three horses currently boarding on the property will be relocated. It is the horse that uses the corral area that is on the creek side of the barn. Because that horse will no longer be in residence, staff is now recommending that the fence line be established from the creek side of the barn out to the existing fence. The remainder of the proposed new fence line would remain the same as shown in the diagram attached to the memorandum. On a short term basis, staff suggests that the corral be left standing in order to keep the rural feel of the site and to provide a measure of security to the area. No horses would be allowed to use it which would allow for the area to begin recovering.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Councilor Laws inquired whether or not moving the existing fence would need a building permit. After brief discussion as to whether it would or would not, Superintendent Gies said he would check with the Planning Department to make sure the proper permits issued if needed.

In discussion of whether or not the corral would be removed, Commissioner Lewis suggested that the corral fencing be left as is until the Commission addresses some kind of planting plan for re-establishing the riparian area. Consensus among Commissioners was to leave the corral structure in place until such a time that it becomes a need to remove it.

MOTION

Commissioner Landt made a motion to adjust the creek-side fence line on the Vogel property as suggested by staff in its memorandum dated July 16, 2001 with the exception that the Hersey Street section of the fence would extend from the creek-side corner of the barn out to the existing fence line. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

 Director Mickelsen commented that he believed the sale of the property would close near the end of August and that staff would plan to adjust the fence line shortly thereafter.

Use of Perozzi donation for a capital improvement project in Lithia Park

Director Mickelsen reviewed a memorandum dated July 12, 2001 related to a staff proposal to utilize the $100,000 donation from the Lucille Perozzi Annuity Trust to either construct a new restroom or remodel the existing restroom at the playground area in Lithia Park. He indicated that there were two primary reasons that staff believed that this would be a worthwhile use of the Perozzi moneys: 1) Because it was stipulated by the Trust that the moneys be used on a capital expenditure in Lithia Park, and 2) Because this restroom is probably the most heavily used throughout the system and will need substantial major repairs within the next few years. Most significantly, it needs to be brought up to ADA standards.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Eggers inquired whether or not there were other capital improvement items that staff might need to be funded. Director Mickelsen responded that there are still a couple of bridges that could be re-built and, perhaps, the money could be spent on whatever option is decided upon for improving water quality at the upper pond. However, in staff’s opinion, the moneys would be best utilized on the playground restroom because it’s a key facility needed to serve the public.

Commissioner MacGraw said that she supported using the donation in this manner because she felt that it’s obvious that the restroom needs work.

Commissioner Landt said that he too would support utilizing the moneys on the playground restroom. He also commented that related to the previous discussion about efficient use of electric energy, he would want the design to incorporate high standards for energy conservation into the design.

Commissioner Lewis also spoke in favor of using the donation on the playground restroom and felt that it would be appropriate for the City’s Historic Commission to be given the opportunity to review and comment on the design because of the historic nature of lower Lithia Park.

MOTION

Commissioner MacGraw made a motion to approve use of the donated Perozzi moneys as follows:

  1. To replace or remodel the playground restroom in Lithia Park for a total project cost not to exceed $100,000,
  2. To authorize staff to enter into a professional services contract with a firm to design a new restroom or remodeling plan, and, to enter into construction contracts as needed to implement the plans, and
  3. To give the City’s Historic Commission the opportunity to review and comment on the design.

Commissioner Jones seconded.

Commissioner Eggers inquired whether or not the motion included the Commission reviewing the concept either for replacement or remodel. Commissioner MacGraw said that she assumed that staff would keep the Commission informed and would present the a design concept at the appropriate time. Commissioner Landt asked staff whether or not it felt that including a strong emphasis on energy conservation as part of the design process needed to be in the motion. Director Mickelsen responded that he did not; staff also believed that energy conservation should be an integral part of the design.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Report and discussion of priorities if the City implements Stage 1 Water Curtailment

Director Mickelsen briefly reviewed the strategy the Department intends follow if the City implements Stage 1 Water Curtailment. Because the Department has been a leader in water conservation measures and is routinely very efficient in its irrigation practices, there won't be much leeway available for additional conservation. However, Department staff has worked with City staff on its strategy if curtailment is put into effect and staff believes it will be able to meet the 20% reduction if it is mandated. He mentioned that citizens may question why even under curtailment some of our park areas will remain so green. The reason is that we will be prioritizing our use of water to maintain those areas that will be most at risk if they don't receive water.

Fortunately, the City has indicated that curtailment does not have to be "site specific". Therefore, the Department plans reduce its use of water by 20% system-wide. The reason for this is that it would enable the Department to utilize its allotment of water on the landscapes that need it most. Some very costly landscaping features within the park system such as the sand-based lawn in Lithia Park, certain trees and shrubs throughout the system, and athletic field turf areas would be severely impacted without adequate water. Other areas such as the lawns in neighborhood parks and some of the lesser used lawns in Lithia Park could be allowed to go brown and still be brought back without a significant dollar investment. He said that Department Horticulturist Donn Todt and Irrigation Specialist Eric Setterberg were available to answer any questions Commissioner may have.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Lewis inquired about the project to implement using T.I.D. water at North Mountain Park and how that might impact on water usage. Eric Setterberg outlined the progress of having the system installed. He said that the project is a priority for the irrigation staff even though the summer months already keep staff very busy. He said that most likely the system would be on line about mid-August and hopefully before then.

Commissioner Landt inquired as to whether or not staff believed the plan outlined above would be sufficient to meet the 20% curtailment if mandated. What if Stage 2 curtailment is implemented?

Mr. Setterberg said that if we go to Stage 2 it would mean another 10% reduction. Director Mickelsen said that staff believes that the plan would be able to meet a Stage 1 curtailment, and, if it looks like the City will need to go to Stage 2, staff would sit down again to determine the next level of cutbacks by prioritizing what additional areas could possibly use less water.

By way of explaining some of the water priorities, Donn Todt, Department Horticulturist, said that regardless of the level of curtailment, in his opinion the athletic turf areas would remain a high priority and that the Department should strive to supply them with sufficient water to maintain the turf. He said that there is quite a difference between "growing grass" and "establishing turf." He said that it's the cushion that turf provides that makes the playing surface of athletic fields safer than playing on a simple grass surface. If the athletic fields are allowed to go brown it would be several seasons before the turf is able to re-establish itself. He said that he believes that it is important for the public to understand that the athletic fields are not being kept green for aesthetic reasons but for safety reasons.

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Director Mickelsen mentioned that the Department has been notified that use of the fire rings in Lithia Park will be prohibited because of the current level of fire danger. At this time, the free standing barbecues may still be used but may be prohibited if the next level of fire danger is reached.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Formal action to be taken from Executive Session

MOTION

Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the letter discussed in the Executive Session of July 18, 2001. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

In discussion of the motion, Commissioner MacGraw said that she was adamantly opposed to taking formal action on the letter presented in Executive Session. Commissioner Jones said that she had a letter written in rebuttal to the letter dated July 18, 2001 under consideration for formal approval and asked that her letter be attached to that letter.

The vote was: 3 yes - 2 no (MacGraw, Jones)

UPCOMING MEETING DATES and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

Director Mickelsen said that a Work Session had been scheduled for Commissioners at 7:00 p.m. on August 1, 2001. The next Regular Meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 27, 2001. Proposed agenda topics: Developing a policy related to native vs. non-native species in parks; staff report on cost estimates and possible locations related to Bocce Ball facility proposal, committee report on process to update Open Space / Park Land Acquisition Program.

ADJOURNMENT With no further business, by consensus, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.

 

Respectfully submitted,

  Ann Benedict, Business Manager

Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

 

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