August 7, 2015
This photo, sent to me by our code compliance officer, Kevin Flynn, helps explain, at least in part, why we have a deer problem in Ashland. This property owner has been feeding the deer apples and carrots every day. (Why would the deer ever leave?) This woman told Kevin she thought she was doing the right thing. Kevin gave her a warning rather than a citation, although a citation would seem to be the next step if she doesn’t stop.
A reminder to all Ashland citizens reading this: Feeding deer is a violation of City ordinance, punishable by a fine of up to $500 per day. Do not feed deer (or other wildlife)!
The Medford Mail-Tribune editorialized earlier this week in favor of raising Oregon’s bottle deposit to 10 cents as a means by which to encourage more recycling of returnable cans and bottles. The Oregonian took a much different position this week, arguing that the bottle/can deposit should be eliminated completely. Read the Oregonian editorial by clicking here.
Another interesting read is this article from the Northwest Public Power Bulletin about how public electric utilities are viewing the nascent commercial marijuana growing industry. You might recognize the name of one of the individuals quoted in the article.
On August 1st, officers arrested three juveniles for breaking into Ashland Middle School. This was the result of an alarm being tripped. The vast majority of alarms (probably over 99%) are false, but the officers responded with their usual diligence, and found this alarm to be "good" and arrested the three juveniles. This is a good example of officers never being able to assume that the call is routine, or another false alarm.
APD officers also arrested two people for reckless burning and trespassing after they lit an area on fire in the field next to Rite Aid. The fire was put out by AFR prior to the Officers' arrival. This obviously was a very dangerous situation in an area that has become problematic, with several people living in this and other area fields. Ashland Fire and Rescue and APD also responded to an open burn (in a metal pan in a pit) that turned out to be a ceremony of sorts by a new land owner who wanted to bless her property. The fire was extinguished and she was warned about the open burning regulations.
Board and Commission Updates
Housing and Human Services Commission – Housing Trust Fund Subcommittee
Staff met with a subcommittee of H&HS commissioners to discuss a plan for addressing a variety of projects including the Ashland Housing Trust Fund. The committee focused on preparation of a refined scope of work, including possible action steps based upon feedback at the recent Council study session, and immediate next steps in the process, including resources needed from staff. The subcommittee is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 2.
At its meeting the evening of August 5th, the Commission reviewed a request by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to operate a temporary food vendor in the Chautauqua Square plaza. The applicant had yet to decide on a vendor and, therefore, signage and design of the food cart is in the conceptual design stages. The location of the proposed food vendor is in a prominent area of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival grounds and is in the Downtown Historic District. Given the high visibility of the site, the Commission requested that the item be continued so that the applicant could provide more specific details with regard to food cart design, materials, colors, etc. The Commission noted that while the proposed food cart and seating could be an attractive addition to the area, it should be subordinate to the area’s main purpose as a public space.
At the same meeting, the Historic Commission heard a presentation and reviewed preliminary plans on a redevelopment application for the property at the corner of Oak and B Streets. The project involves the renovation of two historic houses, construction of six town homes and a residential cottage. In the presentation, the applicant noted that the property “is possibly Ashland’s most dilapidated property, within only a half block of the downtown.” The site consists of three contributing historic homes – the Mickelsen-Chapman House, the Smith-Elliot House and the Thompson House. Both the Mickelsen-Chapman House and the Smith-Elliot House will undergo extensive renovation, while the Thompson House has been condemned and scheduled for possible demolition. Additionally, the applicant proposes to construct six “brownstone-type” town homes along “B” Street. Each town home would be two-story and consist of approximately 1,375 square feet (see images below).