January 10, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Councilor Marsh and I, along with Police Chief Terry Holderness, met earlier this week with representatives of OHRA and ACCESS to discuss protocol for dealing with homeless families who show up at the shelters.  All in attendance agreed that families in crisis will not be left on the streets.  It was further agreed that the first option for families in crisis is to place the family in a Medford family shelter.  The Ashland Police Department can provide gas vouchers or bus tokens and in the most extreme cases can transport the family.  If no shelter space is available in Medford, the police will be given motel vouchers to provide emergency housing. The ACCESS representative indicated that his agency may be able to provide funding for those vouchers and OHRA stated that it would establish a separate fund to raise money for families in crisis; a fund that could also contribute to the purchase of motel vouchers.  OHRA, meanwhile, reports that it has secured office space and expects to begin operating the Help Center in early February.
Community Development
As part of the city’s recent efforts to make additional allowances for and manage micro-livestock within the city limits, a local beekeeping registry has been created and is accessible from the City of Ashland website.  To maintain bees, bee colonies, or bee hives in the City of Ashland, all beekeepers must register through the no-cost Beekeeping Registry.  Beekeepers are asked to complete a Beekeeping Registry form and submit it electronically or deliver to the Community Development Department. In addition, those interested in knowing which properties have registered through the City Community Development Department can visit and view a map at the following location: http://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=15974. Click on the yellow icons for the apiary address and the number of hives located at that site.
An appeal has been filed on a land use approval for a conditional use permit and variance to setbacks for the construction of single family residence at 270 First St.  The planning application includes a request to permit the home to exceed the city's Maximum Permitted Floor Area standard in the historic district. The primary issues raised in the appeal include concerns over the compatibility of the new residence design with historic district design standards, including the square footage of the proposed residence, material choices, exterior facade treatments and roof composition. Other concerns include tree removal, landscaping, parking and site access. A public hearing on the appeal is scheduled before the Planning Commission at its regular meeting February.
RPS Update - The city of Central Point, in partnership with a private applicant, submitted applications to Jackson County for an urban growth boundary (UGB) amendment to accommodate a trucking and distribution center and headquarters office. The two 50-acre sites are located in Central Point’s “Tolo” urban reserve area located north of Interstate 5 and west of the junction with Highway 99 (Blackwell Rd.), near exit 35. The urban reserve area is designated in the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Plan, also known as RPS, for industrial development. Erickson Air Crane, Hilton Fuel and aggregate mining sites are located in the Tolo urban reserve area. This will be the first UGB amendment after the RPS plan adoption. City staff participates in a monthly meeting along with other city and county planners to discuss the RPS plan implementation and other regional planning issues. Conceptual plans for Central Point’s Tolo urban reserve area were discussed at the most recent meeting, as well as coordination with the Regional Transportation Plan.
The Police Department had one of its two annual meetings with Oregon Shakespeare Festival employees this morning. The meeting went well but only 16 people attended; around half of normal attendance.  Almost all of those attending were new to OSF and Ashland.  The relatively low attendance is most likely a reflection of the fact that most of the employees that have been here before simply do not have any issues. The next meeting will be in April.
The big case for the Police Department this week was, as you know, the arrest of Chris Iverson for providing drugs to minors, mostly MDMA, known on the street as “ecstasy” or “molly,” as well as marijuana and several other drugs, and for having sex with underage girls to whom he had given drugs.  This was another great job by detective Carrie Hull who started this investigation in 2011 based on rumors about what was going on at Mr. Iverson’s business, Culture Works.  Most of the victims were teens; some as young as 13- or 14-years old the time Mr. Iverson was running Culture Works.  Carrie has literally been working with some of these girls for years, trying to get them to agree to testify in this case. 
The Police Department will have a new officer starting next Monday.  Ashley Fite is a recent SOU graduate and was working for Community Works as a sexual assault advocate.  She is on the waiting list for an academy starting January 27th and if she is unable start with that class she will be in the academy class that starts on February 24th.  That means that she should be completing all of her initial training in October or November.  She is being hired to fill the additional slot budgeted for the Police Department last July.  The officer that was originally hired for that position was unable to complete the training program.
The Parks Department has begun a recycling pilot program with baskets attached to about half a dozen trash cans in Lithia Park and in two of the outer parks, including the skate park.  (The sign on the basket says “Aluminum, Glass, Plastic.”)  The recycling station in Lithia Park has been somewhat problematic in that the recycling bins, although clearly marked for recycling, fill up with trash, which then have to be sorted out by hand.  In fact, when the picture below was taken this afternoon, trash was clearly visible in all three of the containers. ​

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Friday, January 3, 2014

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