MINUTES FOR THE CONSERVATION AND CLIMATE OUTREACH COMMISSION
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by staff liaison Stu Green at 6:03 p.m. Commissioners Larry Cooper, Marni Koopman, Steve Mitzel, Bryan Sohl, Rebecca Walker, and Council liaison Stefani Seffinger were present. Commissioners Risa Buck, James McGinnis, Jamie Rosenthal and staff liaison Adam Hanks were absent.
2. Consent Agenda
2.1. January 22, 2020 Meeting Minutes
Staff announced that Buck requested the minutes be changed to state that she planned on attending the Tree Commission meeting to bring up the topic of best practices when wildlife and cutting down trees adversely affect wildlife. Cooper/Sohl moved/seconded to approve the minutes with the changes stated. Further discussion: none. All ayes. Motion passed unanimously.
3.1. Next Regular Meeting: March 25, 2020
3.2. Upcoming Subcommittee meetings
Cooper announced that he and Buck have met with Ashland Hardware about holding an electric landscaping equipment demo event in April. Ashland Hardware will also be offering a discount to consumers interested in purchasing electric landscaping equipment. The Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission (CCOC) will need to provide volunteers who will talk to participants about the City’s conservation programs. Green suggested that this item be added to next month’s agenda for approval.
Walker announced that there will be a Waste Prevention Subcommittee meeting held on March 5 at the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Facilities building. An update from their previous meeting is included in the agenda packet and shows the progress made on the single use ban.
3.3. Other Announcements from Commissioners
Cooper stated that he and McGinnis had met previously to research other communities’ restrictions on leaf blowers. Most of the communities were in California and restricted dates and times of the day while one community banned the use completely.
4. Public Forum
Huelz Gutcheon – announced the following: Governor Brown called for solar ready homes by the end of this year, methane causes more emissions that previously thought, the Union of Concerned Scientists have announced that electric vehicles (EV) are clean energy, and the International Code Council has adopted progressive building codes that are typically adopted by the State.
Jeff Sharpe – encouraged the Commission to send a swift response to the City Council about joining Ashland Community Solar. The program includes both private and public entities and utilizes the City’s virtual net metering program, federal tax credits, and grants. The City could join this program to increase rooftop solar for buildings like the Grove, Briscoe School, the airport hangar roof, and the Emergency Operations Center.
Ken Devine – brought the Earth Smart Moneywise guide from 2000 published by the Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the City. The materials cover heating, cooling, appliances, and water savings. He would like to see this updated and asked for volunteers from the Commission to help achieve the City’s objectives for energy and water savings.
Haley Mete – with the ReTHINC, an Ashland company who produces reusable products to replace single use items and distributes them nationwide. Mete wanted to introduce herself to the Commission after she heard about the Rogue to Go program. Walker stated that she would like to have Mete meet the Waste Prevention Subcommittee who are working on reducing single use items.
Flavia Franco – with Southern Oregon Food Solutions and Emerging Futures announced that they will be holding a food waste reduction class for food professionals with Paul Sheldon from the Rocky Mountain Institute on March 24 at the Grange. Lane County is also doing a food audit program and diverting methane creating materials to landfills. Cooper asked if there is some initiative to bring commercial composting to the Rogue Valley. Franco said yes they are looking into working all parts of the cycle to get food to those who need it and more food waste into composting.
5.1 ASD Bond Report
Mitzel gave a presentation on the Ashland School District (ASD) Bond Report (see attached) previously given at a Council Study Session. Discussion included:
• ASD is not going for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), but have identified where the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) items match up with LEED.
• Alternatives to concrete and other embodied carbon materials should be found to prevent emissions during construction of the materials.
• A website created to outline the project and the materials used for those interested.
• The use of student input on the project for a broader perspective and collaborating with SOU.
5.2 Council Update
Seffinger announced that she was able to visit the Recology recycling plant in Arcata, California. She learned about reusable products and brought back some for the Commissioners. She stated that Recology would like to see consumers asking manufacturers for standard plastic materials that are more easily recycled. Ashland Recology is also one of the few places that accepts paper products for recycling.
Seffinger also stated that the Council will have an update on the CEAP progress report and the Climate Policy Commissions (CPC) recommendation, including the climate emergency declaration. Sohl asked for information on the current bond regarding the solar installation item. Seffinger stated the bond might change again regarding City Hall, but she and others voted no on the $2 million solar project due to it being unlikely to pass. Cooper mentioned the Water Treatment Plant and hopes there will be a community discussion and not just an open house on the matter.
5.3 Administration Update
Green gave an Administration update on the following items:
• Rogue to Go now has all five businesses participating. Green will need help in April with initiating experience surveys from participants.
The workplace charging incentive is still available; $1,000 incentive for the first EV charger and $500 for each after that. More details can be found at ashland.or.us/chargeatwork
• The Energy Audit Tool is still available, which allows users to get connected with incentives and helps build a local building inventory database.
• Public charging will expand to ten plugs downtown still free of charge.
• The bike share program, Zagster, is hoping to expand and also introduce electric bikes.
• A program is in the works to help finance home upgrades for energy efficiency.
• A CEAP progress report will be given to Council and can be presented to CCOC if anyone is interested.
5.4 Reports from Other Commission
None, but Cooper wanted clarification on this section and the same agenda item for CPC. There was some discussion if an official representative needed to be made to give updates to CPC. This item will be brought back up in March.
6. Old Business
6.1. Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview
6.1.1 Approve Article
The scheduled article was not provided and staff presented an article published in 2016 titled “Natural Yard Care Made Easy” for review. Cooper had stated that it would be great to add a section about the April Ashland Hardware electric landscaping equipment event. Sohl/Cooper moved/seconded to use the article to be updated by staff and include the Ashland Hardware event details. Further discussion: none. All ayes. Motion passed unanimously.
6.2 Outreach Update and Ideas
Cooper asked if CPC had specific items they wanted CCOC to work on. Green stated that they are encouraged to take on existing programs and community input for the CEAP update which will occur in September. Sohl asked if a Subcommittee would take up this item or the whole Commission. Green specified that CPC will deal with the update and the outreach will be focused on by CCOC. In June, CCOC should develop a plan with some type of survey involved for feedback from the public, especially those who are unaware of CEAP and not taking action currently on climate change. Sohl stated that it would be valuable to have a joint meeting with the groups. Green informed him that the Chairs are working on setting up a joint meeting in April.
6.4 Subcommittee updates
The current Subcommittee updates were given briefly under Section 3.2. Upcoming Subcommittee meetings.
6.4.2 Waste Prevention
6.4.3 Air Quality
6.4.4 Marketing and Outreach
7. New Business
7.1. New Meeting Time Discussion
The Commission decided to bring this item to the March meeting with a doodle poll sent out before then. Dates preferred would be the fourth Wednesday and Mondays (that don’t conflict with School Board or City Council meetings) and times preferred include 3 to 5 p.m., 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m.
8. Wrap Up
8.1. Review of Action Items
• Research leaf blower bans and possible incentives (McGinnis/Cooper)
This item will be removed as the Built Environment Subcommittee with CPC is working on it.
• Research adaptation actions for Community presentations (Moore)
Walker, Rosenthal, and Buck will be working on updating the presentation.
• Electric landscaping equipment outreach (McGinnis)
Cooper and Buck have been working with Ashland Hardware on this issue.
• Displaying outreach materials on City TVs (McGinnis)
• Researching grants for Tool Library (Cooper and Koopman)
Cooper stated that this was mentioned with Ashland Hardware and they recommended to reach out to Jackson County Library Services to include in their Library of Things program.
• Checking with local landscapers about using electric tools (McGinnis)
This item will be removed as the Built Environment Subcommittee with CPC is working on it.
• Researching locations for presentations (Moore)
Walker stated that her, Rosenthal, and Buck are also looking to update the presentation to include adaptation and mitigation more than CEAP education. Koopman and Green volunteered to also work on the update.
8.2. Items to be added to future agendas
• Update on GHG Inventory and GHG Reduction Efforts (March)
• 10 by 20 Update (March)
• Bag Ban and State Laws Debrief (March)
• Chair and Vice Chair Nominations (March)
• CCOC and CPC Joint Commission Meeting (April)
• Multifamily Recycling Ordinance Review (TBD)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m. by staff liaison Stu Green.
Elizabeth Taylor, Executive Assistant