Changes are afoot at SOREDI, our regional economic development partner. It was announced at the SOREDI meeting this week that Mark VonHolle, a founder of the Sustainable Valley incubator site, has resigned from the SOREDI board. Mr. VonHolle recently successfully lobbied the Jackson County Board of Commissioners for a $100,000 contract to recruit high-tech businesses to southern Oregon. (Click here for the Mail Tribune article.) The contract award is contingent on his getting matching financial backing from private sources. His resignation erases any concerns about potential conflict of interest. The commissioners also agreed to increase their commitment to SOREDI to more than $200,000 a year from the current $26,000, which should enable SOREDI to engage in more robust business recruitment efforts.
The plaudits keep coming for the You Have Options program. YHOP is featured in the current issue of New York Magazine. Read the article by clicking here. In addition, Police Chief Terry Holderness was interviewed about the program earlier this week by Al Jazeera America. A French news crew will be in town next week for a story on the program and Detective Carrie Hull received word this week that the ABC news program 20/20 is interested in doing a piece on YHOP.
APD officers this week were able to identify two men from bank video who were trying to cash a stolen/forged check from a local business man. One of the men has been lodged and the other has reportedly fled to California, a warrant will be sought.
This afternoon, a cow staged a daring escape from its home on Tolman Creek Road, but was taken into custody after a massive man-, uhhh, cow-hunt and returned to its owner. The cow's reign of terror on Tolman Creek Road has been ended without further incident.
This week six members of the Street Division attended a class in White City on flood-fighting techniques. This course was presented by the Army Corps of Engineers and is designed to teach flood responders the proper methods of flood hazard mitigation. Attendees also learned to design response plans for specific locations and the techniques to implement those response plans. This knowledge would be very useful in the event of a flood but can also be valuable during smaller high water events where sandbagging or other flood mitigation techniques are required. Today, a ‘hands on’ training session took place here in Ashland where participants learned to identify different flood conditions and hazards. They learned how to safely fill and place sandbags for different types of flood conditions and how to use other materials and techniques to improve their flood fighting response.
Floods are not common. The last major flood to hit Ashland was on New Year’s Day in 1997. Several current employees in the Public Works Department were working here at that time and their knowledge is irreplaceable. This training combined with those employees’ knowledge and experience will help Ashland be prepared if a flood should happen again. While floods like the one in 1997 are rare, smaller high water events are not. It’s not uncommon to have several high water events in the course of a year. In fact, this year we’ve already had two high water events caused by summer storms. Those storms moved through quickly but still required a response from City crews. In the winter, some of the storms are not as fast moving and may require a different response. Sandbagging has been used many times over the years in Ashland to divert water away from areas that would otherwise be damaged by high water.