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Agendas and Minutes

Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Minutes
Wednesday, August 28, 2002

ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
Minutes
August 28, 2002

 

CALL TO ORDER - Chairperson Susan Reid called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. in the Council Chambers. In addition to Reid, members present included Joanne Krippaehne, Mort Smith, Jim Hartman, Bruce Moats, Charles Bennett, Russ Chapman, Darcy Cronin (formerly Davis) and Paige Prewett. Staff present was Sonja Akerman. No members were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Krippaehne moved to approve the July 24, 2002 minutes as submitted and with a second by Moats, the motion passed with a unanimous vote.

PUBLIC FORUM - There was no one present who wished to speak.

ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE: Chapman reported that:

  • Dan Murphy is no longer with Ashland Sanitary and they are looking to fill the position sometime this fall.
  • Dick Wanderscheid had contacted him regarding a notice he had received about a program in Oregon involving a non-profit grant to try and recover furniture that tends to accumulate from college housing. Ashland Sanitary already has a truck with a tailgate lift that circulates on Wednesdays to pick up such items as tires, batteries, furniture and appliances. From now on, Chapman said that furniture items in fair condition will initially be taken to Goodwill. If Goodwill can refurbish and sell them, they will be left. After discussing what to do with items Goodwill cannot take, Moats volunteered to find out if there is space on campus that would provide a storage place for free furniture for students. Reid suggested giving the furniture to a club on campus to use for a fundraiser. Further discussion on this will be at a future meeting.

SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT:

Marketing - Krippaehne stated the subcommittee had not met. Prewett related she had talked to Tidings editor Larry Berteau, who told her the tips would commence in September. At this point, he is not sure how much space will be allotted. Discussion ensued regarding the length and content of the tips. Bennett commended Krippaehne and Smith for their lists.

Speaking of the tips, Smith said he was reminded of the fact he had spoken several times to representatives of Ashland Community Food Store about stimulating people to bring in their own bags for groceries rather than offering people new bags all the time. Old bags are also there for use, but rarely offered. He wondered if there was a way the Commission could ask the store to entice its customers to bring in their own bags. Prewett said just one store shouldn't be singled out. Since our purpose here would be to educate the community to be more conservation oriented, Prewett felt such a campaign should be citywide. Smith said probably 95-98% of the customers get new bags. Bennett said the choice could be paper, plastic or reused bag. Reid commented that the Commission will be putting tips in the paper and it may be possible to go further by writing a letter to all stores. Appropriate tips could be included with the letter. Smith said there should be a stimulus for the cashiers to please ask the people to bring their own bags next time.

Michael Dawkins, 955 "B" Street, related he was born and raised in Ashland and was one of the founding members of the Co-op (Ashland Community Food Store). In listening to the conversation, he felt compelled to speak and suggested the Commission should target Ashland Community Food Store and ask it to provide canvas bags, for example. Then when customers bring the bags back, perhaps a button can be pushed on the cash register. When the tally reaches a certain number, the customers could get some kind of special recognition. He agrees there is a need to figure out a way to reeducate the people - rather than get people just to recycle, get them to bring their own bags. He suggested taking one store and asking it to do something different, then going to the other stores.

Hartman said with his job at school, he is going to try to e-mail a conservation tip once a month to be used in the classroom. One problem he is up against right now concerns the sleep mode for computers. He asked for input on this and the discussion ranged from using surge protector plug strips to losing everything on the system if the computer is just in a sleep mode and not properly shut down. Although a consensus was not reached on whether or not sleep mode would be a good conservation tip, all thought it very important to turn computers completely off at the end of the day.

Reid encouraged the Commission to also include the Mail Tribune for such marketing projects as the tips.

Smith asked if the marketing subcommittee would like to take on contacting grocery stores about reusing bags. Reid said the original Recycling Committee worked on this before it became the Conservation Commission and suggested Dick Wanderscheid give a history about what was worked on at that time.

Krippaehne mentioned that Chapman's paper on Where Does it Go From Here? could easily be converted and used as tips.

Chapman related there will be a meeting on September 5 to decide whether or not to have the residential computer components recycling day this year. While no one wants to see computer parts on the creek banks, Chapman said there are liability issues that need to be addressed. He will report back at the next meeting.

OLD BUSINESS:

Green Business - Since Green Business Coordinator Ross Finney was not at the meeting, there was nothing new to report. Krippaehne mentioned she had noticed that Off the Grid Waffles, a new business in "A" Street Marketplace," will be using solar electricity for its griddles so it may be a possible Green Business recruit. Prewett also mentioned Cosmic Pizza, at the same location, is delivering pizza using electric bikes, so it could be another one.

Earth Advantage Program - Akerman reported everything has been worked out between the City and Portland General Electric (PGE) so as soon as the contract comes down to Ashland, it will be signed.

Conservation Commission Display - Bennett passed around detailed information from Northwest Presentations. The price quote on the deluxe package is $449.00. He explained there is not a battery pack available, but it does come with an extension cord and fluorescent light. The three panels are 40 inches tall and each is 22 inches wide. Bennett recommended getting fabric on both sides in order to use the display to its fullest extent. Two clamps are also included, as well as a carrying case. Bennett suggested setting up a subcommittee to decide what information should go on the display and where it should be used. Krippaehne asked if a battery pack could be added later and Bennett responded the owner of the company had done a lot of research on that and he found the best way to do a battery system would be to get an adapter and use a car battery. In discussing whether or not lighting would be needed, Cronin stated that the lights would attract people to the display. She suggested using the lighting as an educational tool to show, for example, the difference between an incandescent and compact fluorescent bulb. After the Commission discussed colors, Hartman moved to have Emerald Green on one side and Ghostgum on the opposite side. With a second by Bennett the motion was unanimously passed. (Note - in speaking with the owner of Northwest Presentations the following day, he recommended Malibu for the opposite side and the members had no problem with this when contacted via e-mail. Also, Northwest Presentations verified the hinges could fold either way.)

Update on City of Ashland purchasing policy for recycled content paper - Prewett stated she has been working with City of Ashland Purchasing Agent Kari Olson, who indicated the City prefers to keep the purchasing local if at all possible. Prewett said there is now 100% post consumer recycled paper available. It used to cost $10/ream, but because it is now around $4-5/ream when purchased in small amounts, it may be even less expensive to purchase in bulk. She has a phone call in to Boise (formerly Boise Cascade) and to another company in the mid-west regarding availability and bulk prices of 100% recycled paper. She also plans on talking with West Coast Paper, which has the purchasing contract for state agencies. Prewett stated Wanderscheid is open to looking into becoming affiliated with a consortium to buy in bulk. Olson is working on figures that will tell how much paper the City actually uses. Prewett is hoping to receive phone calls from the companies to find out the prices on bulk purchased 100% post consumer recycled paper versus the 30-40% paper that is now being purchased. If the Commission agrees it would be worth spending the extra money, it could go to the City Council for approval. Prewett noted another consideration will be that not all the office machines can use recycled paper. Reid said she appreciated Prewett's work on this and suggested she call the City of Eugene to find out if it is involved in a state consortium for purchasing supplies. Reid also suggested putting something in the League of Oregon Cities newsletter asking if other cities would be interested in joining a consortium in order to drive prices down. Prewett said the other thing to consider is whether or not the City would like to be a customer of Boise because of its harvesting practices. The up-side would be to speak to the company stating there is a market and demand for 100% post consumer recycled paper. The two 100% recycled paper brand names she found are Aspen and Envirographics. Aspen is through Boise.

Chapman said that speaking of paper, several years ago, the Conservation Commission paid to put the City Newsletter on tree-free paper for one month. He was unsure of the cost at that time, and Prewett stated it would be much less now. There was some discussion on whether the Commission should do this again.

Hartman said he does not feel the school district would ever buy 100% recycled paper because it costs so much to keep the copiers functioning. Moats said that because of strong student suggestions in the main computer lab, the University finally converted its printers to ones that would accept recycled content paper (although not 100% recycled). Reid and Prewett noted that recycled paper has more viscosity than non-recycled paper. Prewett will pursue the 100% post consumer recycled paper issue.

NEW BUSINESS:

Budget - The budget currently stands at $4,000.

COMMISSION ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA:

  • Prewett said she would like to make sure the street sweeper remains on the agenda. An update should be available next month regarding its purchase. She will find out when the new street sweeper will arrive prior to contacting the company that will make the decal. A rough ballpark cost of the decal is $8-10 per square foot, not including installation. The street sweeper decal will cost between $300-900, depending on amount of coverage and how complex it is to install.
  • Smith stated that one of his pet peeves is noise pollution, specifically boom boxes and stereos in cars and loud motorcycles. He recently called the Police Department and was told there was nothing it could do. Smith said there are state and city laws regarding this but not much is being done about enforcing these laws. He would like to go to the Council to bring up these concerns. Reid encouraged him to go to the Council, however, since this is not a charge of the Conservation Commission, it would not be appropriate to go through the Commission. She noted the City does have a nuisance ordinance.
  • Hartman informed the Commission he had received funding for Destination Conservation for another year. He will therefore be working with the school district to try and get everyone to use less electricity. He shared reports that he has put out regarding last year's savings due to conservation measures at the schools and said he hopes to get some of these statistics in newsletters. Briscoe Elementary School spent $60 more on water, but saved $1,143 on natural gas, and $364 on electricity. Therefore, the overall effect at Briscoe was a savings of $1,447. He commented a lot of credit goes to the school custodians who attended workshops he gave. Hartman related he will be getting this information out to the community along with an explanation. Lincoln Elementary saved $3,000, again due in large part to the efforts of the custodian. What is great about the reports is that the lead teachers and students saw them, as well as the custodians and the principals. They all understand and will work on these issues in the future. There is also a gigantic poster at the schools with the numbers posted for water, natural gas, electricity, trash, etc. Reid commented that this is very exciting, especially with all the budget cuts the schools are experiencing at this time. Hartman said that in his work only about $20,000 has been saved, which is not much when looking at $800,000 cuts here and there. Hartman then showed the Commission a Certificate of Appreciation Award that was designed by one of the students and will be given to the custodians in the school district. Hartman explained this program keeps him very busy. One-sixth of his time is devoted to this program. Reid said that although he saved the School District $20,000 last year, she is hoping he can make some projections because it is possible the energy rates will continue to incline. Hartman said it is a complex system because there are so many cumulative things and it will be hard to measure. He then related that one of the hardest things to do is to coordinate workshops. The next workshop to kick off this year will be on October 8. Hartman asked the Commission if it would be willing to donate $100 for refreshments. Cronin suggested Hartman first apply for a $50 grant from Ashland Community Food Store available for small projects such as this (one per year). Hartman will pursue the grant and come back to the Commission if additional money is needed for the workshop. He will also be putting on more workshops during the school year. Krippaehne stated it might be suitable to appropriate $100 to underwrite the programs in general. Reid stated she thinks the program is very worthwhile and is obviously working so she would be supportive of allocating money. Prewett also stated that Gisseppi's has been very supportive of kid-oriented activities and it may be possible to get a couple free pizzas. Chapman agreed it would be good to set aside $100 so Hartman knows there is a backup if needed. Krippaehne moved to set aside $100 to underwrite the expenses to support Destination Conservation in the schools. Prewett seconded the motion. Chapman clarified the money does not all have to be spent at one time. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
  • Krippaehne said she would like to revisit the Adopt-A-Street Program. Ashland High School had nominally signed up to do a segment of Siskiyou Boulevard. Since the students have not done anything, she asked Hartman if he knew of students who would be interested in actively taking this on. Hartman responded there is a new leadership class that is interested in environmental issues so he will speak to the students about that.
  • Reid related she only has a couple more Conservation Commissions meetings remaining, since her City Council term expires at the end of the year and she is not running again for the position. She said she would be open to any changes the Commission might want to take regarding chairing the Conservation Commission, which now states it must be the Council liaison. Although she has enjoyed chairing the Commission during the last couple years (and admitted it would be run differently if one of the members chaired it), she would be willing to help get changes through the Council prior to her term expiration. Reid wanted the Commission to think about this in the next few months.

(Prior to the meeting being called to order, Moats mentioned that SOU is hopeful that the $14-15,000,000 library construction project will be certified with the Green Building Council. Budget constraints, however, are an issue. The architect fee to document the certification is about $80,000, which also brings with it a requirement of $40,000 to accomplish commissioning of the HVAC system, etc. to make sure everything is operating as designed once the building has been completed. Reid suggested SOU contact the Oregon Office of Energy for help.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

There were 19 people who attended the August 10 compost class. Only one more class will be offered this year - on September 14.

The next Conservation Commission meeting will be on September 25, 2002.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

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