February 13, 2015
The planter box at the corner of East Main and Pioneer is now scheduled to be removed on Monday and the fountain in Chautauqua Square will be removed on Tuesday. We received no bids for the fountain, however the Parks Department would like to salvage some of the parts and components from the fountain and repurpose them for some as-yet unspecified use. Parks will also attempt to relocate the magnolia tree and witch hazel shrub in the planter box. The project will proceed as follows:
Monday, Feb. 16: Cut ‘n Break Concrete will remove the blocks around the planter.
Tuesday, Feb. 17: Parks will remove sections and components of the fountain they wish to salvage and will attempt to relocate the magnolia and witch hazel.
Wednesday, Feb. 18: Street crews will remove the remainder of the fountain and the concrete below the fountain to prep the site for new concrete. This may take two days, since we don’t know for sure what’s under the fountain and how difficult it will be to remove.
Friday, Feb. 20: Cut ‘n Break will be back to pour new concrete in the areas from which the fountain and planter box were removed. (This may be postponed to Monday, Feb. 23, depending on contractor availability.)
Week of Feb. 23: After the concrete has time to cure, Street Division crews will work with Cut ‘n Break to rebuild the block walls. All work should be completed by February 27.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the sidewalk will be closed and pedestrian traffic will be diverted around the site. On Wednesday, one lane of traffic will be closed as well.
Five City employees participated in Ashland High School’s “Career Day” this week: Conservation Specialist Larry Giardina, Paralegal Kris Bechtold, City Attorney Dave Lohman, Deputy Police Chief Warren Hensman, Police Officer Bon Stewart and Firefighter Nick Palmesano. We’re hoping to get data from the school district to determine whether these presentations encouraged any students to pursue careers in these areas. Regardless of whether they do, we’re extremely pleased to be able to participate in this program.
The City has launched the advertising and outreach campaign to recruit our new police chief. The application deadline is March 27. The campaign is national in scope and includes targeted advertising to minority and women candidates. The position is advertised in the following locations (organization descriptions provided by the organizations):
In addition to the above, we plan to advertise with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), which “serves as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to Justice by Action. NOBLE has nearly 60 chapters and represents over 4,000 members worldwide that represent chief executive officers and command-level law enforcement officials from federal, state, county, municipal law enforcement agencies, and criminal justice practitioners. The combined fiscal budget oversight of our membership exceeds $8 billion. NOBLE serves more than 60,000 youth through its major program components which include: Mentoring, Education, Leadership Development, and Safety.” http://www.noblenational.org/
If you have the time and inclination, here’s a link to a lengthy but interesting article from Governing Magazine titled “Do Cities Need Kids?” The article focuses on gentrification in Seattle and is really geared toward large cities (it’s part of the magazine’s series on gentrification in America’s 50 largest cities), but it contains some nuggets that may be applicable to Ashland.
Just FYI, Ashland Fire and Rescue last Halloween cited the Vinyl Club for overcrowding and exit obstruction. The club owner pleaded not guilty and exercised his right to a trial, which was held this week. After listening to testimony, Judge Pam Turner rendered a guilty verdict. AF&R hopes the attention brought to this helps educate business owners to take a proactive approach to safety.
Fire engine 8811, recently donated by the City to our sister city Guanajuato is now in its new home. Our friends in Guanajuato sent us these pictures.
AF&R and CERT along with the Southern Oregon CPR Initiative and American Heart Association has been busily training seventh grade students at Ashland Middle School in hands-only CPR and conducted two training sessions this week. Volunteers from Ashland High School working on their senior projects are also assisting this year.
APD conducted an internet safety class for seniors today. There was a terrific response, with about 30 signed up for the first class and 11 for the second.
This week the Police Department hired new officer; a lateral hire from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has extensive experience as a patrol officer and a detective. He will need some time to relocate his family and will be starting the first week of April. This will fill the vacancy left by Corey Falls’ departure and will bring the department up to full strength until the Chief retires in mid-April.
Public Works Department
This week the nine trees infected with pine beetles at Mountain View Cemetery (on Ashland Street across from Fire Station 2) were removed. Last summer, Cemetery Division crews noticed several trees showing signs of stress. We initially thought this stress was caused by a reduction in water due to drought-related curtailment measures, so at that time we began applying more water. Even with this additional water the condition of the trees did not improve. We soon realized the stress was caused by an infestation of pine beetles. It quickly became apparent that little could be done to save these trees. In order to prevent the beetles from spreading, these trees needed to be removed.
These trees were estimated to be up to 120 feet tall and more than 100 years old. Because of this very large size, we hired an arborist to ensure they were safely removed. Once removed, to prevent the beetles from spreading to trees in the surrounding area, the trees were cut into small enough sections to be loaded into dump trucks and hauled to Bio-Mass in White City.
He’s hard to see, but the arborist can be seen in this photo at the top of tree as he works to remove it. It’s extremely disappointing that these trees had to be removed but hopefully the infestation was caught it in time and no more trees will be lost as a result of the beetles. Once the trees had been removed it was very clear just how much damage the beetles had done. The symptoms of beetle kill were evident in many places within the tree trunks. From our understanding, the beetles introduce a fungus that spreads through the living tree, before the tree eventually dies. This fungus can be seen as a blue tint in the wood itself.
We hope to replace the trees soon with a species of tree that can thrive in the cemetery and not be susceptible to the beetles. We estimate these trees have probably been in the Cemetery as long as the Cemetery has been there. The Cemetery dates back to the 1880s.