September 4, 2015
As part of the “Safe Routes to School” project on Walker Avenue, the CORP will make improvements to the rail crossing on Walker that will require shutting down the street and re-routing traffic on September 11, 12 and 13. The work will be done at night to minimize traffic disruption. Residents on Walker will be notified via direct mail and additional publicity will be generated next week. CORP is scheduled to make improvements to the rail crossing on Oak Street the following weekend (Sept. 18-20). Again, the work will be done at night but it will require shutting down the street completely on either side of the tracks during work hours. Residents and businesses on Oak Street will be notified via direct mail. Once the Oak Street crossing is improved, KOGAP will move in to build the sidewalks under the contract approved by the Council last Tuesday.
Last week the Water Division of the Public Works Department stopped pumping Talent Irrigation District (TID) water to the water treatment plant. As most people are aware, the current drought conditions have forced everyone to be extremely cautious with our water supply. This summer, just like last summer, the City supplemented the water in Reeder reservoir with water from the TID system.
On August 15th Water Division staff began the yearly testing period of the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix (TAP) system. This system is tested annually to verify it’s in good working order and rather than test the system at a time of year when the water isn’t needed, the testing period takes place in August, providing the added bonus of additional water supply. In addition, with the recent cooler weather, City-wide water use has declined and averaged 3.7 million gallons per day over the past week. The combination of TID, TAP and continued flow from the East and West Forks has allowed the Water Division to re-fill the reservoir to capacity.
The testing period for the TAP system is just about over. Once that has ended, only the water in Reeder Reservoir will be left for use until the rainy weather returns. The good news is that with a full reservoir and because Ashland has done a great job reducing water use, if wet weather returns as it normally does in October, there should be a more than adequate water supply.
This week the officers had three encounters with armed suspects. In all three incidents the officers did a professional, calm job of taking the suspects into custody without resorting to lethal force. In one instance, two men, both armed with handguns and rifles, were confronted by a single officer and taken into custody after initially showing signs of non-compliance. In the next incident, officers responded to a man menacing people with a gun in the downtown area. The man initially refused to drop the gun when contacted, but eventually complied and was arrested. In the third incident, officers assisted a Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy in locating and contacting two suspects in a burglary/theft of firearms case. The suspects were located in an Ashland hotel and arrested with minimal complications. At least some of the stolen firearms were found in the room. This is an unusually high number of gun-related incidents for a town like Ashland. It is a good reminder that our city is not excluded from the potential for violence.
Last Friday the APD started its Emergency Vehicle Operations Course refresher training. Part of this training involves the use of a skid car (pictured below). This is a car that uses hydraulically controlled additional wheels to lift the vehicle up and cause the vehicle to lose traction and therefore control. This simulates losing control in extreme weather, or in extreme driving conditions, such as pursuits.
The hydraulic system of the Electric Department hydro-generation unit located below Reeder Reservoir will soon be retrofitted with refurbished and new components. The components will support an environmentally friendly/food grade hydraulic oil. In order to use an environmentally friendly/food grade hydraulic oil, a thorough cleaning and possible replacement of the existing hydraulic components is required. The generator was idled in late December, 2014, when a very small amount of oil was detected in the effluent from the generator. A quick response by the Water Treatment Plant operators and Electric Department staff prevented a larger leak and any entry of the oil into the City’s water supply. In early January, the Electric Department engaged an outside engineering firm to provide expert analysis of the issue. The engineering firm also evaluated alternative solutions and developed an appropriate scope for an RFP to solve the issue. Confounding a solution is the age (thirty years) and location/status of the manufacturer of the equipment (Sorumsand Verksted A/S, a Norwegian company that’s out of business). Fortunately, the Electric Department has received a strong initial response to the RFP. On August, 18, a required onsite walk through drew representatives from six companies. The RFP provides for the cleaning/replacing/repairing of the Reeder hydro generator hydraulic system as well as the use of the food grade hydraulic oil. The Department is looking forward to receiving the responses to the RFP on Thursday, September 17. Repairs will begin as soon as a suitable company is identified.