October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014

You may have seen the article in today’s Mail-Tribune about Jackson County’s plans to apply for a Rural Renewable Energy Zone (RREZ) designation. If approved by the state, this could be very good news for Ashland, since the zone would cover the City, as well and City-owned land under County jurisdiction (e.g., the Imperatrice Property). The RREZ is functionally similar to an enterprise zone. Rather than providing property tax breaks for new construction and equipment, the RREZ provides tax breaks for facilities that generate electricity from renewable sources, as well as storage and distribution facilities for biofuels. As in the enterprise zone, the property tax abatement lasts from three to five years.

At last week’s Public Risk Management Association conference in Sunriver, Ashland Fire and Rescue was presented an “Outstanding Achievement in Risk Management” award for the department’s work on employee, business and citizen emergency preparedness, as well as emergency management training.  In the photo below (left to right), Fire Chief John Karns, CERT Coordinator Terri Eubanks and Risk Management Specialist Sharlene Stephens display the award.

Public Works
Waste Water Division
The Waste Water Collections Division of the Public Works Department took delivery of its new camera van last week. The new van replaces a van originally purchased in 2000, with camera and computer equipment dating back to the mid 90s. The camera van is essentially the eyes inside the collections (sewer) system, allowing the operator to view and record inside the pipes. Trouble spots are identified for cleaning or repair, in the never-ending task of collection system maintenance. The new camera provides capabilities the division has never had before, including a high definition camera, the ability to record and store video in a digital format and direct video integration into existing maintenance software. Without the camera system, the condition of the inside of the collections system would be unknown and trouble spots would go unidentified until a problem occurred and made its way to the surface.  Sewer overflows are something nobody wants! 
The collections system consists of 108 miles of sewer line. Monitoring of the collections system is a never-ending task. Known trouble spots are inspected more frequently than the rest of the system but all parts of the system are inspected at least once every five years. Inspections look for cracked, damaged or broken pipes, separating pipe joints, pipe penetrations such as other pipes or tree roots, debris buildup and the overall condition of the pipe itself. When issues are found, the inspector can now send video of exactly what the problem is to the tablet device of the repair crew, allowing for quicker and more efficient repairs or maintenance. The camera van will begin service within the next couple weeks and will be out on the roads inspecting the collections system several days of the week almost every week until it’s replaced in  2026 (scheduled, may be later). 
The entire waste water collections system, including operation of the camera van, is currently operated and maintained by a staff of four people and one supervisor. 
Street Division
The weather is starting to change and the leaves are beginning to fall, so our Street Division is gearing up to increase our street sweeping. Most of the year, the Street Division runs one sweeper nearly full time (40 hours a week). Starting in October we try to double that by putting both street sweepers on the road as much as possible through January, if maintenance issues and personnel availability allow. 
The City’s sweeping program has, in each of the past several years, removed an average of more than 3,000 cubic yards of material from City streets. For scale, 3,000 cubic yards is equivalent to a tennis court piled 28 feet deep. Without the street sweepers all this material would end up in the storm drain system and eventually in Bear Creek. The material picked up from the streets always contains some oil, grease, garbage, or anything else that may be on the streets and is therefore required to be disposed of in a landfill. Even at this time of year when a majority of what the sweeper picks up is leaves, because of the other debris that is also picked up, all the material must go to the landfill. 
The street sweepers try to sweep every road in town at least once per quarter. Some of the busier streets in town, where the debris builds up faster, are swept more often. For example, the downtown area, with its concentration of people and therefore more trash, is swept weekly.  Anything picked up by the street sweepers is kept out of the storm drain system and ultimately out of the creeks. Our street sweeping program is one of the more proactive environmental protection activities the City undertakes.

Police Department
Next week APD will conduct the first training for outside agencies interested in the You Have Options Program (on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) and will host the 4th annual Southern Oregon Sexual Assault Symposium on Thursday and Friday. The YHOP training will be attended by 70 people from 17 agencies from Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Colorado and Illinois. The SOSAS has 144 registered attendees, which is a record for that event.  Most of the attendees are from Oregon but there are people attending from California and Colorado. 
The following is an entry made this week in the Police Departments performance tracking system:

Entered by Sergeant Arthur LeCours (32767) on 10/6/2014 
On September 15, 2014, Officer Broome conducted a traffic stop on a suspected DUII at the ARCO gas satiation. Officer Broome conducted FST’s and ultimately arrested the driver for DUII. During his investigation Officer Broome developed reasonable suspicion that the driver was in fact transporting drugs from California to the Roseburg area. He sized a travel bag from the driver and requested a warrant. He then served the warrant on the bag and located 17.39 oz of methamphetamine.

Outstanding job Officer Broome!

Previous Updates:

September 26, 2014

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