ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
January 26, 2000
CALL TO ORDER– The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Carole Wheeldon at 7:01 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Members present were Bruce Moats, Kari Tuck, Ashley Henry, Karen Amarotico, Carole Wheeldon, Russ Otte, Kirk Evans and Russ Chapman. Staff present were Dick Wanderscheid and Sonja Akerman. Member Howard Braham was unable to attend.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Otte moved to approve the Minutes of the December 8, 1999 meeting and Chapman seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.
PUBLIC FORUM: There was no one present who wished to speak.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE – Chapman reported 1) the U.S. West phone book drive is March 6-April 6, 2) Mike McNamara won the high school essay contest and his article is in the most recent Jefferson Monthly, 3) brochures for waste prevention in Jackson County have been printed as part of the recycling coalition (Chapman then passed these out to the members), 4) the transfer station is now accepting and recycling used toilets (the City’s "B" Street yard is no longer accepting them), 5) during the month of April, leaves and grass can be disposed of at the transfer station for free, 6) chipper day at the transfer station is April 8, 7) chipper week is April 10-14, 8) May 5 and 6 are hazardous material days at the Expo Center, and 9) June 10 is discount day at the transfer station.
Green Business – Chapman stated Ross Finney would have the presentation ready for the next meeting. Wanderscheid added Finney and a member of the subcommittee will present the program to the City Council on April 18. Chapman reported at the subcommittee meeting, it was suggested $1500-2000 of the Conservation Commission be used to pay Finney to help get the program going. Wanderscheid stated Finney could be paid an hourly rate of $25/hour. Finney’s time would include explaining the program to the Council and showing how to implement the pilot. He could then train City staff, who will eventually take over the program. Otte moved to have a personal service contract drawn up to allow Finney to be paid $25/hour with a cap of $1500. The Commission also requested Finney submit a comprehensive work plan. After discussion, the Commission agreed that more money could be allocated if $1500 would not suffice. Evans seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved. Wheeldon noted the Council is starting to work on the Economic Development portion of the Comprehensive Plan, so timing of the Green Business Program is appropriate. This program should be mentioned in the Comp Plan.
Recycling in the Schools Discussion – Wheeldon asked if there was any enthusiasm in the schools. Otte said there are still pockets, and the schools are trying to maintain things that are working. Tuck suggested periodically taking out an ad expressing appreciation for the recycling work that is being accomplished by the schools. Otte also mentioned busses are provided at all the schools except Lincoln, but there are still too many people dropping off kids and picking them up. Wheeldon said the mayor plans on conducting a week-long campaign to promote NOT driving kids to school. Tuck added WHY so much driving occurs also needs to be addressed. Wheeldon noted the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission is currently doing an evaluation of the elementary schools and middle school in order to try and get people to change their driving habits. Otte said he would try to spearhead a way to tackle this, especially in the elementary schools. Wheeldon then suggested recycling/precycling be added to the list of senior projects. Otte said it is already a possibility. Wheeldon stated she would like to get more information to the students by providing incentives or encouragement for opting to do their senior projects on this. Otte noted students are required to have non-campus mentors for their projects, and that perhaps the Commission could provide this support. Wheeldon offered to send a letter to the high school regarding this. Otte recommended sending a copy of the letter to the middle school also to get the kids involved early. Wheeldon then suggested sending a letter to the schools not only congratulating them for the recycling programs they have initiated but also asking them what the Commission can do to facilitate even more. She volunteered to draft this letter.
Jefferson Monthly Article – The Commission commended Henry for her well-written article.
Update on Solar Program – Wanderscheid reported the brochure is going out in the next utility billing cycle. He stated the Commission should urge Ashland citizens to sign up for "green" power.
Draft Letter to TID – The Commission discussed the letter and decided to make a few changes. Before it is mailed to TID, it will be submitted to Public Works Director Paula Brown.
TID Subcommittee Meeting Time – The meeting has tentatively been scheduled for February 2 at 11:00 a.m. in the Public Works Conference Room.
Newspaper Articles on Energy Conservation – Henry submitted a list of topics and dates. Topics include 1) finding air leaks in your house and how to seal them, 2) general energy conservation around the house, 3) how to efficiently use your heating system, and 4) energy audits.
Goal Setting for 2000 – Wanderscheid suggested continuing with water conservation and the TID subcommittee. After discussing goals which would fall under the education subcommittee, it was decided to include the following: 1) water conservation, 2) energy conservation articles, 3) letters to the schools thanking them for their recycling efforts, and 4) direct educational efforts to the public. Henry noted she would like the education subcommittee to eventually merge with the TID subcommittee because there is a lot of education to be done.
Climate Change in the Rogue Basin Meeting Announcement – Wanderscheid said this should be a very interesting meeting because it is being presented by experts from the University of Washington, and they are on the cutting edge of climate change. He encouraged the Commissioners to attend if possible.
Rogue Valley Civic League Meeting Announcement – Wanderscheid related the Rogue Valley Civic League will be meeting to select indicators for healthy and sustainable communities in the Rogue Valley (Jackson and Josephine Counties). Chapman updated the Commission on the Sustainable Ashland Committee, whose goal is to not rely on the Civic League’s indicator project since it is based solely on specifically measurable criteria that economists like to use. The committee is hoping to develop a project that would reflect some of the community’s values and try to measure things that make this community special. The members would like to let the Civic League project figure out the indicators, then fill in the gaps with Ashland’s values. Wanderscheid stated Finney has been attending the Sustainable Ashland meetings as well as working on the Civic League project. He went on to say the steering committee for Sustainable Ashland met with representatives of the Civic League, however, the Ashland group did not feel the project would do enough for Ashland. Wanderscheid pointed out the Civic League has an infrastructure and funded staff, while the Sustainable Ashland Committee is made up of volunteers. Chapman also observed no other group has tried to identify indicators strictly with volunteers. The committee is getting back to what it wants to see most preserved in Ashland and then focusing on it. A subcommittee has been working on a questionnaire which will go to the high school, and perhaps get it out to the greater public, in order to get information.
Budget – The balance is $2,933.
New Toilet Recycling Information – This was already discussed.
COMMISSION ITEMS – Henry passed around information regarding the Oregon Instream Flow Conference on January 28 and 29 in Medford, which is being presented by Oregon Water Trust. She would like to see the City get involved in this market-based approach to water conservation as opposed to a regulatory approach, which will essentially help increase efficiency of irrigation systems, thereby putting safe water back into streams. Moats informed the Commission SOU had a kick-off ceremony this morning for a project put together in the last year by university representatives, Johnson Controls Inc. and the Oregon Office of Energy. The performance-based contract will provide an energy management system for the campus, which will upgrade such things as the chiller capacity, enable lighting retrofits, etc. relating to energy efficiency. This is a $2.8 million 15-year contract. The Office of Energy provided $1.8 million small-scale energy loan. This amounts to almost $4.5 million over the 15 years. Johnson Controls will keep the equipment in tip-top shape. The total savings during the life of the contract will be about $3.1 million.
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.