ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
October 25, 2000
CALL TO ORDER– The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Carole Wheeldon at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Members present were Bruce Moats, Kari Tuck, Karen Amarotico, Russ Otte, Carole Wheeldon, Russ Chapman, Howard Braham, Mort Smith and Paige Prewett. Staff present were Dick Wanderscheid and Sonja Akerman. Dan Murphy represented Ashland Sanitary & Recycling. No members were absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – In the September 27, 2000 minutes, Wanderscheid noted under TID Subcommittee reports, that John Morrison should really be Mike Morrison, and Moats stated it is Valri Williams not Valerie. Tuck moved and Chapman seconded to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was unanimously passed.
PUBLIC FORUM – There was no one present who wished to speak.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE – Dan Murphy reported: 1) He had talked to the Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR) and was told any of the articles in its newsletter could be reprinted. 2) He asked for volunteers to judge the essays from the high school students on pre-cycling. Amarotico, Prewett and Otte will be the judges. 3) Chipper week has just concluded and there were 63 customers. 4) November is free leaf and grass recycling at the transfer station. 5) The voter pamphlet with all the measures can only be recycled with the phone books, and these can only be taken at the depot. The candidate pamphlet can be recycled with the newspapers. The differences between the two are the glue in the binding and the use of a higher grade paper in the first one. Murphy noted this information will be included in the new Ashland Sanitary advertisement. In discussing this, the Commission felt it would be important to make these recycle concerns known to the Secretary of State in the hope all voter pamphlets can be recycled with newspapers in the future. Wanderscheid will draft a letter for Wheeldon's signature. 6) Murphy informed the Commission The EarthSmart MoneyWise Guide is very difficult to recycle because of the two different materials used. Wanderscheid explained the City funded the book and the Chamber of Commerce had it printed. He will try to make certain how to recycle the booklet is printed in the next publication. Otte suggested educating the printing companies about recycling, who in turn could educate their customers when they bring in projects. Finney said this could be included in the solid waste standards in the Green Business Program and could be on the option sheet. Wheeldon said a simple letter could be drafted and sent to the print shops in the city. Smith suggested printing recycle information routinely on articles and pamphlets. 7) Murphy said the depot gets six tons of magazines per week. He encouraged everyone to get off mailing lists. 8) He stated there is a possibility of getting a buyer for a lower grade of paper, which would mean more paper can be recycled and it would make it easier for the customers. He will keep the Commission informed.
Braham said he was recently shown a home in which the PVC pipe was made of recycled milk jugs. He commented the pipe seemed quite superior. Murphy said most recycled milk jugs go in to car parts and non-food jugs. Wheeldon added almost all new homes these days use decking material that has been made from recycled plastic bags.
Education Subcommittee – Tuck reported she had talked with Ashland Daily Tidings editor John Enders, who agreed to publish a series of two articles regarding recycling. They will be in column form with the Conservation Commission logo. The content of the columns will be clarifying what is accepted and what is not at the Recycle Depot, and how the markets affect the depot. The articles will probably be published in November, a week apart. Braham and Amarotico volunteered to write the articles.
TID Subcommittee – Wanderscheid said he has talked with Mike Morrison, Public Works Superintendent, who indicated the Water Department is getting feedback now from the questionnaire. A summary will probably be ready for the next meeting. Wheeldon announced customers need to return the questionnaire or they won't get TID water. Braham asked if Morrison could use help from the Conservation Commission and Wanderscheid replied he would find out. Smith related he had been walking through Lithia Park several months ago and noticed dirty water was pouring into Ashland Creek above the children's wading area. He found out this was TID water. Wheeldon said TID water goes into the creeks to augment stream flows especially late in the summer. She has also periodically noticed dirty water being fed into the creek. Wanderscheid stated this could be an issue because the creek will be posted if bacteria levels reach a certain level. Smith will check in to this and report back to the Commission.
Jefferson Monthly Articles – The Commission complimented Tuck for her article. In discussing the fate of the Living Lightly articles, Wheeldon said she talked with Eric Alan about some of the options. She told him the Commission had discussed opening this column up to others in the region, however, Alan does not have time to recruit a year's worth of articles from various sources. Wheeldon asked if anyone knew if there were other organizations similar to the Conservation Commission in this region. Wanderscheid said this is the only one in Southern Oregon and perhaps in the State of Jefferson. Chapman volunteered to investigate this further. Otte suggested writing an article for the column explaining what our commission is all about and why it got involved in writing the articles, and inviting other persons or organizations with similar expertise to write articles about what they are doing. He then said he would write the article and Wanderscheid volunteered to be the contact person for the City. Wanderscheid stated he will be speaking about Ashland's solar program in Klamath Falls the following evening and will mention this to the group. Smith said he received a call from someone in Klamath Falls wanting to talk about recycling after his article was published, so he knows there are people that are interested in conservation and read the Living Lightly column. The Commission discussed its interest in learning what people in other locations are doing.
Field Trip Update – November 28 has been tentatively set for the next field trip. This will be verified via e-mail in November. Members should meet at the Ashland Sanitary office at 12:30 p.m.
Compost Class Update – Wheeldon noted the final compost class on October 14 had 15 people in attendance. Prewett related she was a little disappointed to have only six people at the worm composting class she recently held; however, Wanderscheid said he is encouraged because he had 15 rebates to pay for worm bins. Prewett added she is looking forward to having a worm bin at the Nature Center.
Compost Bin at North Mountain Park – Tuck stated a high school student will be building the compost bin at the Nature Center and it should be ready by next summer. It will be a three-tiered system that will be able to measure temperature and bugs. This will be a useful demonstration site. She said she hasn't figured the finances yet but will have it ready for the next meeting.
Green Business Update – Ross Finney asked if the Commissioners had any questions regarding the Parkside Lodging Summary Sheet. He explained that owners Rod and Susan Reid have incorporated conservation measures over the years as part of their philosophy. They have used many recycled building materials (such as doors and hardware from old buildings) and are looking toward the installation of solar water systems. The Reids have been using recycled paper for their brochures for several years. They also do a good job of communicating the compost and recycling systems to their guests, in addition to encouraging them to walk rather than drive. When Amarotico asked about the compost, Finney said some of the units have kitchenettes. Finney related he thinks this business fits in quite well with the first four participants. Wheeldon asked if there was anything more they should be doing. Finney said they have had a water audit, they use compact fluorescent bulbs, and they use space heaters in the winter because only small areas need to be heated at certain times. Otte moved and Chapman seconded to accept Parkside Lodging into the Green Business Program. The motion was unanimously passed.
Finney reported Architectural Design Works and Stratford Inn haven't finished filling out the forms yet. Wanderscheid and Finney will be on the City Council agenda on November 21 asking for a decision to officially adopt the Green Business Program. Finney will write a summary of the program, which will include the results and what was learned. He stated the program has evolved for the better and that it is an ongoing process. He will continue to meet with businesses as long as possible, act as a resource, and set up goals and feasible tasks. The businesses will have to be revisited yearly. This will keep them moving in the right direction. The pilot group will provide resources for the others also. Finney stated this is an outreach program combined with recognition and is part of the conservation strategic planning process. Energy Analyst Cathy Cartmill will be taking over the program for the City.
Finney then explained DEQ has a solid waste grant program and he will be applying for a grant (deadline is November 30). He made a presentation to Jackson County Recycling Partnership, which includes solid waste haulers and municipalities. His plan is to request funding (through Jackson County) to expand what the Green Business Program is doing in Ashland out to businesses in Jackson County. In doing so, it will bring together Pacific Power, Avista, Rogue Disposal & Recycling, etc. for consulting services. If approved, he said he will still be able to work with Ashland because it is in Jackson County. This expanded program will create a good resource base for businesses. Wanderscheid said if Finney is successful in getting this grant, he will be able to maintain his involvement with Ashland's program along with Cartmill, who will eventually implement the program for the City. He also noted they are going to the Council proposing the continuation of the program with existing City staff and resources. Tuck asked who would carry on for the County once this grant money runs out, and Finney responded he has the potential to get funds from the conservation consortium also, so he would like to continue doing it. Moats asked if this was something the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) would be interested in picking up, but Wanderscheid said the County would be more appropriate.
Demolition Review Committee Decision – Wheeldon questioned if a Conservation Commission member should be on this committee. Amarotico recommended taking this back to the City Council. Wheeldon agreed and said she would make sure it gets on the agenda. Since the ordinance no longer has solid waste as its goal, it doesn't make sense to recruit a Conservation Commission member. It would make more sense to have someone involved in the building trade to be on the committee. Braham said the private sector should perhaps get involved. Chapman noted the roofers do a good job in recycling what they can. He also stated there are some incentives at the transfer station for building material. Wheeldon added the contractors know the more they reuse, the more time and money they will save.
Budget – Wanderscheid reported the current balance of the budget is closer to $2,500 since Finney will need to be paid, compost bins will need to be purchased, worm bin rebates need to be paid, and the 4th of July parade expenses will be coming up. He pointed out goals are typically set in January. Tuck will have costs for the compost bin at North Mountain Park at the next meeting. Prewett added she would also like to get a worm bin for a demonstration site. Finney mentioned the Commission had talked about a Green Business ad for the Shakespeare Playbill. Wanderscheid will put a memo together for goal setting for the next meeting. Wheeldon said she would like to see the goals for the past three years.
COMMISSION ITEMS – 1) Tuck brought up the fact that even though she has direct payment for utility bills, she is sent a pre-addressed envelope that she can't use. She tried using it for something else and it came back to her because of the bar code. Wanderscheid said he would check to see if something can be done so envelopes are not automatically mailed to everyone. 2) Wheeldon said it is time to initiate discussion with Public Works regarding street sweeping, because the cleaner the streets are, the less dust there is and the less debris that can go in the storm drains. Wanderscheid will talk to Public Works. Chapman noted streets in the commercial downtown area are swept often; residential sweeping has a lower priority. Wheeldon would like to change this. Otte agreed and said it will take a proactive approach because there needs to be a shift in thinking. The streets need to be cleaned before the debris goes into the drains. Smith said it is difficult to do when cars are parked on the street, but suggested the use of signs, for example, letting people know when the street will be swept. 3) Prewett informed the Commission there will be an event at the North Mountain Park on November 4 for citizens to get involved and help plant over 800 trees and shrubs. 4) Wanderscheid offered to explain the photovoltaic systems and kiosk information that have recently been installed for the Solar Pioneer Program.
AJOURNMENT – The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.