Other items discussed during the City Administrator's Report were FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance in Ashland
and Grant Funds Available for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19
ALMEDA FIRE DEBRIEF
City staff from various departments have just recently wrapped up different elements of the response phase of the Almeda Fire and are moving into the recovery phase. A key element of this transition is to undertake an After Action Review of the event.
This is a standard step taken as part of any event that triggered the establishment of our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and a particular structure is called out in the City’s Emergency Management Plan.
Because the event quickly became regional in scope, the City’s debrief process will also be reliant upon and also improved by regional participation from other agencies like Jackson County, Oregon Department of Transportation and others. This extends the timeline for the completion of the process and the final report, but it is essential in understanding improvements that can be made both within our City operations and in our coordinated efforts with our regional partners.
Also critical in this process is engagement and input from our local community. A survey was released today to gather input from the community with a focus on communication and evacuation.
The survey can be found at: https://www.opentownhall.com/9809
City staff is coordinating our after action review process with the Jackson County EOC, who is the primary responsible entity for this regional emergency event. If additional community input is solicited through Jackson County EOC, City staff will be sure to make those opportunities known and available to our community.
General information on the Almeda fire can be found at www.ashland.or.us/almedafire
EMERGENCY HOUSING UPDATE
In response to the immediate short-term housing needs as a result of the Almeda fire, an executive order was issues October 1, 2020 allowing for temporary use of Recreational Vehicles (RV’s) and also expanded allowed uses of hotel and motel rooms.
To host an RV on a private lot, there are conditions that must be met including, but not limited to:
- No more than one RV on lots smaller than .5 acres
- RV occupants must have access to sanitation facilities
- RV’s must be parked on a hardscaped surface such as concrete or gravel
- Lot structures and the RV must comply with Fire Codes
- RV’s must be registered and current with the State of Oregon
- On lots over .5 acres, more than one RV may be approved with an acceptable site plan addressing sanitation, utilities, spacing, affordability, and aesthetics.
For Hotels and motels wanting to rent rooms for more than 30 days, there are conditions that must be met including, but not limited to:
- Fully comply with Fire and Building Codes
- Get City permits for any remodeling or construction needed
- Have written consent of the operator of the facility
- Submit a copy of agreements to rent rooms over 30 days, exempting payments from the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax.
City staff continues to actively participate in regional planning efforts to address short, mid and long-term housing needs within the region being led by Jackson County.
EXPANDED ACCESS TO EV CHARGING
City of Ashland has expanded and upgraded public vehicle charging downtown. The new charging area features 10 upgraded Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The charging stations are located in the Pioneer parking lot at the corner of 175 Lithia Way and Pioneer Streets. Local stakeholders inaugurated the new charging stations with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 pm on Friday, October 2.
Electrifying transportation is a key strategy in the City’s Climate and Energy Action Plan and the new charging area is designed to lower barriers for drivers who switch to electric. There is no sign up process and no fee to pay—just park and plug in! Ashland Electric is able to offer no-fee charging thanks in part to funds from the Oregon Clean Fuels Program which is designed to lower the carbon intensity of transportation fuels around the state.
Highlights of the project include:
- This project is expected to generate approximately $24,000 annually in electricity sales for the City’s Electric Utility, based on estimated EV uptake influenced by the availability of public charging. Of that annual revenue, 20 percent goes into the general fund.
- Public charging investments, operations, and maintenance costs are more than offset by the City’s participation in the State Clean Fuels program.
- Public response to the chargers has been overwhelmingly positive.
- The City can start charging a fee for public charging at any time.
- Climate action does require financial investment and the cost of doing nothing is far higher.
- Transportation electrification is one of the key pathways for Ashland to reduce climate altering emissions.
- Providing low-barrier (no-fee) charging is a proven method for equitably increasing access to zero emission vehicles.
- The City is fortunate to operate our own electric utility and our carbon emissions and general fund benefits from transportation electrification.
STATE EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENDED
Governor Brown has created a new moratorium on residential evictions starting September 30 until December 31, 2020. The moratorium closely follows House Bill 4213 which ends on September 30, 2020. The new moratorium has been put in place to address the aftermath of the wildfires and continued COVID-19 pandemic.
Landlords cannot evict tenants for non-payment of rent or other charges described in the rental agreement from April 1 to December 31, 2020, give a tenant a termination notice without cause, charge a fee, or report a tenant as delinquent to a credit reporting agency. Tenants are still responsible to pay rent and other charges, but cannot be evicted during the moratorium if they are unable to pay the full amount each month.
Click here for Tenant and Landlord resources including rental and utility assistance programs.
October 20—Business Meeting
- COVID-19 Emergency Declaration
- Approval of a Contract for Utility Printing and Mailing Services
- Public Hearing and First Reading of Open Space Ordinance Amendment
- Public Hearing for Resolution to Grant an Exemption for the APRC Japanese Garden Contract Approval
- First Reading of an Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code for City Manager Charter Change