MINUTES FOR THE CONSERVATION COMMISSION
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
1. Call to Order
Chair James McGinnis called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Commissioners Roxane Beigel-Coryell, Risa Buck, Larry Cooper, Marni Koopman, Marion Moore, Jamie Rosenthal, and Bryan Sohl were present. Commissioner David Sommer and Council liaison Julie Akins were absent. Staff members Stu Green and Adam Hanks were present.
2. Consent Agenda
2.1. May 22, 2019 Meeting Minutes
Moore stated that, Ken Deveney’s, the speaker in public forum for the May meeting, name was misspelled and asked it be corrected in the minutes. McGinnis asked that the second bullet under 6.3 CEAP Outreach be changed to “McGinnis described some details of the Commissions including the possibility of holding meetings every other month”. Buck moved to approve the minutes with the corrections proposed with Moore providing a second. A vote was taken with all members voting in favor and the motion passed.
3.1. Next Regular Meeting: July 24, 2019
McGinnis announced the next meeting for Wednesday, July 24, 2019 and asked if there was anyone who knows that they will not be attending. Koopman said that she will be unable to attend.
3.2. Upcoming Sub-committee meetings
Moore announced that there is a Marketing and Outreach Sub-committee meeting on Thursday, June 27, 2019, starting at 3 p.m. at the Geos Institute, 84 4th Street. Beigel-Coryell announced that her and Buck will be meeting with Green on Monday, July 1 at City Hall to discuss the Rogue to Go program.
3.3. Other Announcements from Commissioners
Cooper informed the Commission that the Draft Water Master Plan was released. He encouraged others to look at the Water Master Plan as it has an impact on conservation.
Buck announced that the State of Oregon passed two waste prevention bills: one banning plastic bags and another banning plastic straws. Hanks dealt with the plastic bags bill through the League of Oregon Cities. The State requires a five cent charge for bags, but Ashland is allowed to keep their ten cent charge as Ashland’s ordinance was in effect before the State bill. Buck asked to get a debrief on the State bills when available.
Sohl mentioned that the comment period for the Jordan Cove project is July 5 which can be done online or via physical mail. Sohl also acknowledged working with Beigel-Coryell on Conservation and Climate Energy and Action Plan ad hoc committee (CEAP 1) and appreciated her work on both.
Beigel-Coryell’s position at Southern Oregon University (SOU) has been posted and applications will be taken until July 12. She asked that if the Commissioners know anyone who is interested or will be a good fit to encourage them to apply. Beigel-Coryell is still trying to get a replacement from SOU for her Commission seat, but nothing is official yet. Buck asked if Hanks could email the President of SOU to remind her of the position vacancy on the Commission. McGinnis presented Beigel-Coryell with a certificate of appreciation for her work with the Commission. Various Commissioners and staff spoke their praise of Beigel-Coryell.
4. Public Forum
Huelz Gutcheon, Ashland, OR – would like to see a City ordinance that requires universal electric vehicle (EV) charging wiring for all new constructions.
Jeff Sharpe, Ashland, OR – updated the Commission projects that he and his partner Tomas Endicott have been working on that utilize the City’s Virtual Net Metering ordinance and the 30 percent federal tax credit. The projects include: solar trackers at ScienceWorks, Oak Street Tank and Steel, and Ashland Coop is also in the works. Sharpe also would like to lobby the City for a request for proposal (RFP) for a one megawatt (MW) installation at the Ashland Airport. He is hoping that the Commission will encourage the City to move ahead with the RFP.
Dave Helmich, Ashland, OR – a representative of a citizens’ steering committee of 10 by 20. The committee has a progress report of what has happened and what needs to happen to meet the ten percent local renewable production by 2020. Helmich asked for Commission for support as he handed out the progress report with a signup sheet for those interested in hearing from the citizens’ steering committee.
McGinnis asked that a presentation on 10 by 20 from City staff be added to a future agenda. Hanks stated that he and Tom McBartlett, the Electric Utility Director, could probably present on 10 by 20 at the August Conservation Commission. Koopman clarified that the Commission did vote against recommendation the use of the Imperatrice property previously and would be interested in hearing different locations for meeting the 10 by 20 goal.
• Council Liaison Update
Hanks announced that the Council approved the next biennial budget. The budget included eliminating of six positions, increasing property taxes by four and a half cents, and utility rate increases that were outlined in the different utility master plans. Council will be creating two ad hoc committees, one for revenue enhancements and another for cost analysis, to help with long range planning. The Ashland Canal Project held a listening session on Monday, June 17. There will be another study session for the project on July 15 with the item scheduled for a decision on August 6.
McGinnis asked about the status of the Council liaison. Hanks stated that it is not uncommon for Council liaisons to miss meetings as they have other time commitments. The Chair should be able to reach out to the Mayor if there are consecutive months missed.
McGinnis asked about the priority of the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) within the budget. Hanks stated that the Council prioritized CEAP as a value service below the essential services.
• City Operations/Administration Update
Hanks stated that the energy efficiency budget did have some incremental increases as it is funded through the Electric Fund. Three primary spending areas: Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) funds (regulated measures), rate money (local initiatives), and loans. Increases were in solar funding, not loans, and funds for developing electric vehicle programs. The electrification programs are easier to get funded as they increase electric usage and money to the Electric Fund.
6. Old Business
6.1. Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview (5 min)
• August – Virtual Net Metering (Green/Beigel-Coryell – June 17)
• September – Climate Equity (Koopman/co-author from community – July 15)
• October – CPAC Joint Commission article (McGinnis/CPAC members – August 19)
• November – Leaves and Composting Options (Rosenthal – September 16)
• TBD – Rogue to Go box pilot program, pilot program for Straws on Demand, Juicebox Electric Car Charger, and addressing consumption emissions articles.
Green said the previous approved article did not make the Sneak Preview deadline. The editor will be running another previously submitted article for the July edition. Buck asked to schedule the Rogue to Go box moved to October. Hanks stated that Beigel-Coryell’s idea of having an ad for the launch with a follow up article would work. Green said to schedule the Rogue to Go for October and push CPAC back to December.
Green stated that for more information on the virtual net metering (the article for approvals topic) people can go to ashland.or.us/vnm
. McGinnis asked if the link could be added to the article. Moore would like it stated clearly under the “How does it work?” section that it is the responsibility of the person who owns the system to find a spot. Moore also asked if the abbreviation PPA could be spelled out to Power Purchasing Agreement in the last sentence of that section. Buck asked that a preface be added to the article to describe why virtual net metering is important. Buck moved to approve the article with adding the changes discussed and Koopman seconded the motion. All members voted in the affirmative and the motion passed.
6.2. Review CEAP outreach activities to date
6.3. Discuss CEAP Marketing and Outreach priorities
Green stated that the EMPOWER Ashland marketing plan was developed to meet the CEAP goal of educating and empowering the public. Initially, he was interested in having a third party marketing firm or an AMERICORP intern to implement the plan. Unfortunately, there was no budget for a third party marketing firm and AMERICORP did not have a match for the intern. There is still an option for the Commission to take on implementing the plan by creating smaller marketing campaigns. Some Commissioners proposed reaching out to:
• the local colleges, SOU and Rogue Community College (RCC) for interns;
• Ashland High School (ASH); and
• Rogue Action Center to market to the underserved population.
McGinnis asked for direction from Green on what he would like the Commission to take on. Green will present on this at the July meeting.
6.4. Sub-committee updates
6.4.1 Marketing and Outreach
Moore stated that Koopman, McGinnis, and Sohl met for a brainstorming session on what outreach they want to do and what is the major message. They outlined details they would like to take on versus being assigned tasks. Koopman asked for Green to coordinate and attend in the future so a consensus on delegated and chosen tasks can be met. Moore asked about the need for a sub-committee versus a task force. Hanks stated that a subcommittee is generally utilized for public input and to elicit outside information that would affect policy recommendations. The operational tasks, as discussed here, could be a task force with Commissioners reporting back to the whole Commission on the progress.
Buck reminded the Commission about the Graywater Workshop on Saturday, July 27th from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. hosted by Greywater Action at SOU.
6.4.3 Waste Prevention
Beigel-Coryell stated that the reusable to go container program is officially called “Rogue to Go”. The containers will be plastic as many non-plastic containers are not food grade certified or have a long usable life. The chosen containers are from OZZI, an Oregon made company, and will have a 16-ounce bowl for soup or sides and a half size clam shell for other food. Four businesses have been confirmed and they are waiting on a fifth. Straws on Demand pilot program will be reaching out to participating businesses and others to inform them of the new State law banning plastic straws starting October 1 and ways they can adjust their practices.
6.4.4 Air Quality
McGinnis brought some electric landscape equipment to show the Commission. Buck is interested in still having a demo with Ashland Hardware.
6.3 BPA Update
Hanks recapped the February update to Council about the meeting with BPA in Portland. City officials met with BPA representatives in January to discuss the City’s contract. Points taken from the meeting include:
• No opt-out of “Take or Pay” provision. The City would have to pay this as a surcharge penalty provision if it were buying part of the load electricity from another source.
• Community solar through virtual net metering and systems not over the 200 kW limit can help meet the 10 by 20 goal instead of having a 10 to 12 MW solar site.
6.4 Plastic Wrapped Marketing Paper Discussion
Item has been moved to a future meeting.
7. New Business
7.1. AAAS Pacific Division 100th Meeting Presentation
McGinnis presented at the American Association Advancement of Science’s Pacific Division 100th meeting at SOU the week before the meeting. He focused on a past to present theme, what are we doing today and what do we plan to do in the future and the shift of the Conservation Commission and the new Climate Policy Advisory Commission (CPAC). Beigel-Coryell also presented on the CEAP plan and on SOU’s efforts.
7.2. Public Meeting Law
Item has been moved to a future meeting.
7.3. Elect commission co-chair
McGinnis asked for volunteers and nominations. Koopman nominated Moore as the vice chair and Moore accepted the nomination. Beigel-Coryell moved to have Moore as the vice chair for the Commission until next April. Rosenthal provided a second for the motion. The motion passed unanimously with all members voting in favor.
8. Wrap Up
8.1. Items to be added to next agenda
Green asked three tasks for the Commission to take on:
• Comprehensive list of local vulnerable populations that need to be reached with contact information for them;
• Suggested framework for activating neighborhoods and any kind of existing infrastructure exists with contacts; and
• Open source document with a moderator for consumption that people and local groups can contribute to with suggestions on reducing consumption and behavior changes.
McGinnis announced items for the next meeting:
• Plastic Wrap
• Public Meeting Law
• 10 by 20 (August)
• Idling Ordinance (August)
McGinnis adjourned the meeting at 8:02 p.m.