February 6, 2015
It’s been a wild day here. Street, Water and Electric crews have been running from one end of town to the other all day clearing storm drains and removing trees and debris from the right of way. They’ve done a terrific job.
The latest forecast indicates that we’ve seen the last of the heavy rain. That should allow creeks and ditches to subside and reduce or eliminate the threat of flooding. During the winter, we draw down Reeder Reservoir and it’s a good thing we did. More than 100 million gallons of water flowed into Reeder this week. Had the reservoir been full (or even close to full), we’d have had a ’97-style flood.
We issued an advisory earlier today for motorists to stay off of certain City streets that were experiencing high water problems: http://www.ashland.or.us/News.asp?NewsID=3205. We also made sandbag supplies available free of charge to our citizens at the B Street yard: http://www.ashland.or.us/News.asp?NewsID=3204 .
Street and Electric crews responded to downed trees on B St. (at Emerick), Village Green, Green Meadows, Pebble Beach, Nova St., Park St., Jaquelynn St., Harmony Lane and Diane St.
The tree that fell on Park St. took out a power line and all customers on Park St. as well as most of the side streets off of Park lost power. Power should be restored by the time you read this.
The rapid influx of storm water overwhelmed the headworks, an oxidation ditch and both clarifiers at the waste water treatment plant, resulting in untreated or partially treated waste water being released into the creek. We have, of course, notified DEQ and will issue a public advisory regarding water being taken directly from the creek.
The Ashland Police Department will present its annual report to the Council on use of force, crime rates and the Enhanced Law Enforcement Area at the April 7 business meeting. This year's presentation will be the first to provide a full year-by-year comparison of ELEA statistics. (Legal Secretary Kris Bechtold has done a great job, as usual, of keeping ELEA stats.) Here are some highlights:
ELEA citations issued in 2013: 132 Issued in 2014: 147
ELEA convictions in 2013: 83 Convictions in 2014: 103
ELEA expulsion orders served in 2013: 4 Expulsion orders served in 2014: 8
Calls for service in the downtown area (disorderly type crimes) in 2013: 264 In 2014: 199
In reference to the widely publicized missing teen case (Hannah Thomas-Garner), APD is now working with a group called Klaas Kids. This is a California-based non-profit. They will use their own resources to get flyers out in Central California as that is their best guess as to where Hannah is. Their representative has been working with Hannah's father as well.
APD has hired three cadets and a fourth is in background. We plan to have them up to speed and in the downtown area as the tourist season gets going.
The following entry was made in APD’s performance tracking system, commending Sgt. Jim Alderman for his response to a stolen car. "I wanted to take an opportunity to commend you for your role in APD Case#15-293: Stolen Vehicle / Vehicle Elude. Not only was the driver responsible for stealing a vehicle in Ashland, he is believed to be responsible for a botched robbery at the Purple Parrot in Medford. Furthermore, he is believed to be responsible for a string of petty thefts in the area. Your keen sense of awareness allowed for a successful resolution – the arrest and apprehension of a dangerous offender."
The background on this is that a car was stolen from Ashland on January 26. The car was used in some crimes in Medford, including a botched robbery attempt. On Tuesday, February 3, Sgt. Alderman spotted the car here in Ashland, and after back up arrived he attempted to stop it. The vehicle fled, and there was a normal-speed pursuit for several blocks. Everyone involved recognized that while this chase could be within policy, it was in bad judgment, and the pursuit was terminated. The vehicle was later located in the Talent/Phoenix area and the driver was arrested by OSP. We don't get chases very often, and chases that are allowed by our (rightly) restrictive policy are even rarer, so it's great that the officers recognized that this chase was a bad idea and cut it off.
Ashland CERT assisted the Illinois Valley Fire District in training 23 community members last weekend. Newly trained volunteers are being embraced by the district, indicating CERT-trained volunteers are tremendously helpful in assisting emergency personnel.
Ashland is also assisting the City of Medford in completing its first CERT training under their new emergency manager. With 13 newly trained volunteers, they plan to hold another training in March. Their goal is to train 50 community members by the end of the calendar year.
The Rogue Valley International Association of Arson Investigators held its 29th Annual Career Development School at the Ashland Elks Lodge this week. The training is attended by fire investigators from around the state from both public and private entities. This conference is one of the few local conferences of its kind around the nation. Firefighter Nick Palmesano of Ashland Fire & Rescue attended the training, which will help him to better investigate fires on his shift.
Public Works Department
Engineering is working with a consultant to finalize Infrastructure Financing Authority loan documentation for the additional funding required to complete the permanent TAP emergency pump station. We have obtained the permanent easement for the pump station and RH2 Engineering is starting the design and permitting process. Project manager Morgan Wayman (a.k.a. “The Dude") is hard at work on this new phase of the TAP project.
Staff and CH2M Hill are conducting an effluent outfall relocation study. This study involves the analysis of a new outfall into Bear Creek and what will be required to meet future NPDES permit requirements for our effluent. We knew previously that temperature was a large issue, but it has also been determined that copper will have to be addressed as we move into the next permit cycle.
Environmental requirements are being finalized in order to obtain a new State Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund loan for a new oxidation ditch at the wastewater treatment plant. In order to finalize the documents, a wetland delineation must be performed in the area directly to the west of the current ditch structure (highlighted in yellow in the picture at left). Once the delineation is accepted by the Division of State Lands we can move forward with finalizing the loan documents and then obtain consultant services for the design of the ditch. If the ditch is constructed in this area a wetland mitigation plan will be required and developed when necessary.
Engineering is working with a consultant to perform an industrial users survey with respect to the wastewater system. The City is required to perform an industrial user survey by DEQ in order to determine: 1. if there are any industrial users that have input into the wastewater system; and 2. if there should be any pretreatment requirements placed on the industrial user in order to satisfy our NPDES permit requirements.
The Walker Ave. safe routes to school sidewalk project is one step closer to bid as OBEC Engineers are finalizing construction plans and permitting. A critical component of this project has been permitting through the railroad as the sidewalk will cross the rail line. This is a grant funded project being administered through ODOT as part of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program. The project involves construction of new sidewalk from Ashland St. to E. Main along the west side of Walker Ave. ODOT is expected to open bids May 7, 2015, and construction should be complete by the end of August.
Security cameras are being installed at the water treatment plant. These cameras will be placed at the plant and dam as required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since we fall under their purview as a dam operator with a power plant. The Electric and Water Departments have assisted in the actual installation of the system and our consultant will be onsite within a couple weeks to perform the system startup and make sure everything works as it should.
Permitting and construction plans for the Oak St. Rail Crossing are being finalized. The railroad plans to improve the crossing this year with the installation of new crossing arms along with track improvements. Per the rail order that was created and approved in 2007, the City is obligated to construct the sidewalk crossing over the tracks along with placement of new advance warning striping and signage. The sidewalk construction is a critical pedestrian safety improvement project that creates a connection that does not currently exist.
Engineering is also working with our consulting traffic engineer on the design/layout of two additional crosswalks along North. Main Street. Initial locations were previously discussed with the Transportation Commission and ODOT. Two locations were recommended by both for further investigation and analysis. These locations include the intersection of N. Main with Van Ness and also Nursery St. Final conceptual designs will be presented to ODOT and the Transportation Commission for recommendations. Once a final recommendation is received, this will be brought to the City Council for discussion.
Community Development Department
As participants in Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Plan and Regional Transportation Plan, Ashland has joined with the efforts of valley cities to merge transportation and land use planning in an effort to provide transportation options. Transportation facilities are being constructed and land use patterns arranged not only in an effort to meet goals of the State of Oregon to reduce green house gas emissions, but also to create healthy, livable communities in which people can walk, bike, take transit or drive to where they want to go. The Rogue Valley Council of Governments has compiled the results of actions taken to provide transportation options in the valley in a newly issued report. In summary:
The region has exceeded the 2010 benchmark of providing 50% of Surface Transportation Program funds to RVTD.