April 18, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our small remodeling project in the City Hall lobby is underway.  This portion of the project, which involves installing a new front counter and cabinets, should be completed by the end of the day next Monday.  That will be followed by the installation of new carpeting.  We will also replace the bulletin board with a video monitor.

The ad hoc Downtown Beautification Committee spent most of its meeting this week talking about the plaza, although no votes were taken and no conclusions reached.  However, the committee agreed to forego its next meeting and instead do a walking tour of downtown, in order to view the locations of proposed projects.  The committee will then rank and prioritize projects at its May 8 meeting (and at the meeting after that, if necessary) after which the committee will probably take a brief hiatus to give staff an opportunity to work on cost estimates.  Itís also possible the committee will deliver two separate reports to the Council; one on high-priority projects to be completed in the current biennium and a second report on projects to be completed in the next budget cycle.
Here are links to a couple of interesting articles Iíve come across since the last update.  The first comes from Oakland, CA, where the city is considering selling naming rights to its parks.  (Iím not suggesting that we do that here; only using it as an example of how desperate some cities have become for revenue.)  The other comes from Boulder, CO, where city officials are considering the creation of a canine DNA database to help the city track down dog owners who do not pick up after their pets.

The bait bike was stolen three times last week; once by a person with several prior arrests for bike thefts.  The bad news is that the last time the bike was stolen, the suspect apparently searched the bike before stealing it, found the tracking device and removed it from the bike before moving it.  APD has recovered the tracker but the bike is still missing.  The bike was most likely taken by someone who had been arrested for stealing that same or another bait bike in that past, as the tracker is disguised as a  normal piece of equipment and would be very hard to spot without being aware that it was somewhere on the bike.  There are a couple of likely suspects and APD is reviewing footage from several cameras in the area that the bike was taken from.  The bait bikes are all unclaimed property from either APD or SOU so, having recovered the tracking device, the City is not actually out any money due to the loss of the bike.  We are in the process of getting a tracking device that cannot be removed from the bike without taking it apart, although this will also make it harder for officers to move the tracker from bike to bike.  We have always known that we would likely occasionally lose a bait bike, but considering the number of arrests we have made and the actual reduction in overall bike thefts, the program is still very effective.
Officer Ben Weaver was chosen today to become a member of the regional SWAT team run by Medford PD.  Twelve officers from three different police departments tested and Ben was one of only five who passed all of the tests.  For budget reasons as well as the issue of team usage, which is relativity light in Ashland compared to other areas of the county, APD has limited its participation on the team to two people.  Ben will join Officer Aaron Rosas on the team and will replace Deputy Chief Corey Falls, who is rotating off of the team. 
APD last week received its certificate of reaccreditation by the Oregon Accreditation Alliance at the annual Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police conference.  Deputy Chief Tighe OíMeara and Detective Carrie Hull also did a presentation on the You Have Options Program at the conference.  Representatives from several agencies contacted them after the presentation and indicated an interest in becoming a part of the program, including (surprisingly) a commander from the Portland Police Bureau.  While it seems unlikely that the PPB will join our program it is encouraging that they will be at least looking at what we are doing on hopefully implementing some of the elements of the YHOP in their investigations.   
Following is a copy of a thank you note sent to Officer John Perrone by a theft victim.

Fire Department
A very nice thank-you letter received by AF&R this week:

Community Development
The following e-mail was sent to Community Development Director Bill Molnar by Mark DiRienzo, a local developer.  (The ďAmyĒ he refers to is Assistant Planner Amy Gunter):
Hi Bill, I want to write and tell you how much I appreciate Amy's can do attitude during my recent land use approval process.  This experience was one of the best I have ever had at the department after submitting somewhere close to 50 land use applications at City of Ashland over the years.
Amy was positive, helpful, and most importantly offered up information about steps I could take to make it through efficiently.  During the process she kept an eye on the timeline and kept it moving, all with the goal of ensuring the approval happened on schedule, and it did!  I assume the project was simpler than an average one to approve since we had previously obtained an approval on this parcel 5 years ago, but, regardless, the positive attitude made all the difference.
We are moving quickly on this building and want to have it completed by Dec 2014.  It's exciting to be able to move quickly which will keep this tenant in Ashland.  Plus, we're able to keep improving things out here on Mistletoe Rd.  Also, Adam Hanks has been helpful connecting me with SOREDI Enterprise options which I am working on with the tenants.
Mark DiRienzo

Previous Updates:

April 4, 2014

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