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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

May meeting minutes

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12th, 2009 – 5:30 PM
Community Development Building, 51 Winburn Way
MEMBERS PRESENT:         Christopher Iverson, Craig Gorson,                 Melody Noraas, John Williams   
Members Absent:             Tony Kerwin, Dan Maymar, Ben Rice (resigned),
Staff Present:                              Chris Chambers, Larry Langston
Others Present:                            Contracting Forester, Marty Main
                                                   Terry Baker, US Forest Service
                                                    Mike Hackett, US Forest Service
                                                   Darren Borgias, The Nature Conservancy
CALL TO ORDER: Meeting called to order at 5:48 PM
NOTE: Both the Chair and Vice Chair were absent, so Chris Iverson volunteered to chair the meeting. There were no objections.
I.                   APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Minutes were reviewed on screen by the Commission and others. Gorson/Iverson m/s to approve the action minutes as taken from the April 14th. All ayes, Noraas abstained due to missing the last meeting.
II.                PUBLIC FORUM:
A suggestion was made to do introductions for the Forest Service guests. Baker and Hackett explained their roles in Forest Service and especially in the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project (AFR) where they will be the points of contact. Terry Baker will be the primary lead and liaison to the City for AFR.
Proposal was made by Darren Borgias to move item G under Business to the top of the agenda in order to accommodate the time of the Forest Service guests. Larry Langston also added that he’d like to give an update on the hiring of the new Fire Chief. Motion to move those items to the top of the agenda was made by Iverson, seconded by Williams and approved by all.
III.             NEW BUSINESS:
A. Forest Service Update
            Terry Baker and Mike Hackett will be the Forest Service (FS) leads on implementing the Ashland Forest Resiliency project (AFR). Terry will be the primary lead and the silviculturist while Mike will be working on the fuels component. Mike discussed how they have had troubles with smoke management in the Ashland area. Difficulties have been with getting smoke clearance from Salem, getting complaints from town, and meeting narrow burn windows. In addition, communication between FS, City, and other players has been difficult. There’s a need for a lot more burning in the AFR project and Mike is worried it will be hard to do.
Chambers said that he can help get the word out to the community on days the FS will be burning in a visible spot. Marty Main explained a brief history of burning on various projects in the Ashland interface and how careful planning has avoided many conflicts.
A suggestion was made to use the Jefferson Daily program and Jefferson Public Radio to advertise burn days to the public.
Chris I said the FLC should take on an educational campaign on burning to tie in with the ongoing education/outreach planning. Terry Baker commented that federal stimulus funding may dictate what money is available through the FS for education. Mike H. said that underburning will be used as well, furthering the need for tolerance of smoke. Gorse would like to combine public education efforts to include smoke. Darren B mentioned the Partners in Fire Education (PIFE) effort might help inform what we’re doing here. The AFR multi party monitoring plan contains elements of social monitoring, we may need to look more closely at smoke issue to track the level of support. Melody liked the idea of a place where the community could see if the FS will be burning that day. Mike H clarified that although it may seem in the City like it’s not a burn day, above an inversion can be a good burn day.
Darren asked what Terry and Mike are working on outside AFR. Terry responded that they are working on the Upper Applegate Road project, AFR, Applegate plantations, Wagner gap timber sale clean up and meadow enhancements. Darren asked if the FS is adding staff to help with work. Terry said that they can’t until the stimulus package dollars are in hand and projects are getting implemented. Stimulus doesn’t allow for hiring permanent FS employees, hiring contractors and creating more private sector jobs is the first goal. Darren said that The Nature Conservancy lobbied for stimulus funding for the Oregon/Washington region of the FS.
B. Fire Chief Selection
Larry Langston reported on the selection of the new fire chief. The permanent replacement will be in place by mid June.
C. Earth Day/Outreach and Education
Chris Iverson reported on the Earth Day booth. He talked to a lot of people and they handed out a lot of info on upcoming hikes this summer. The FS also had a booth and Terry said they talked about their new Travel Plan and did a great watershed activity for kids. Gorson said we need to focus on education for kids and private landowners. Terry mentioned that FS staff had visited schools recently, Chambers said that he had been part of that along with ODF personnel and Smokey Bear. Melody expressed that we need to get a watershed/forest curriculum into the Ashland School District and she has experience that could help the effort. Chambers commented that a Field kit with lessons exists and he’s had difficulty getting it into the schools. Chris I reminded the commission that Rich Whitley had been at the last meeting and discussed various techniques to get out information. Rich suggested bringing people up to speed first. Chris I identified these issues: 1. Where does our water come from?
2. Fire danger in the watershed areas 3. What are we doing about it?
Darren wondered how we would measure the impact of education. It needs to be designed around objectives.
Gorson wants to put out information in obvious places around town. Chris I asked what this would look like and what we’d do first. Gorson asked what we want them to know. Darren said that hikes are limited and we need to be clear about what we want out of the hikes. Chris I again put forth his three main questions (see above). Mike H said that we need awareness of fire prevention; there have been lots of fires from kids partying. Chris I commented that we need to get out into the schools, and we need a subcommittee to work on this. Marty said that the SOU liaison is needed and he’ll contact a student and ask him to attend. Melody will work to contact the local schools and teachers. Marty said he’d add “Who owns the watershed” as a question to Chris’s list of three questions. John Williams said he’d like to see a message sent out to schools about fire prevention especially around the time of graduation, Chambers will help get this out. Group discussed the need for announcements of burns in the area. A motion was made to draft a message that will inform graduating students about enforcement penalties for fires at specific locations in/near the watershed.
Motion to approve made by Gorson, seconded by Williams, all ayes. Passed.
Darren would like to be included on emails regarding education planning. Gorson explained how volunteerism is up during these tough economic times and it’s a good time to get people involved.
D. Winburn Council Communication
Chambers presented the Council Communication for the Winburn Plan presentation and the issue of whether or not the Council should vote on the plan. Marty felt that the Council doesn’t need to approve the plan now and actions will be brought forward in the future that may need Council approval.
Iverson motioned to recommend to the Council that the presentation is for informational purposes and any major projects will be brought forward to Council in the future. Motion was seconded by Melody and passed with all ayes.
Meeting adjourned 7:36 pm.
Christopher Iverson, Acting Chair
Respectfully Submitted, Chris Chambers, Forest Resource Specialist

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