Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Monday, August 24, 2009

City of Ashland






August 24, 2009



Present:    Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson;

                 Superintendent Gies

Absent:     City Council Liaison Silbiger; Superintendent Dials

CALL TO ORDER         

Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.


Study Session – July 20, 2009

MOTION Eggers moved to approve the minutes as written. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no (Noraas abstained)

Regular Meeting – July 27, 2009

Under “Approval of Minutes” for the June 15 study session minutes, Eggers clarified that the Parks Commission, not Noraas in particular, held one voting position on the Forest Lands Commission.

MOTION Noraas moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no


Open Forum

Terrence Stenson, 172 Alida Street, said he attended the commission’s regular meeting on July 27 to present his Ashland Creek Riparian Resources Restoration Project report. He said his removal of woody debris from Ashland Creek resulted in the elimination of coliform bacterial odors in the downtown area.

Daniel Sperry, 2305C Ashland Street #238, said he began playing his cello in Lithia Park for two hours a day, six days a week, in the fall of 2008. He said he was aware of the city ordinance prohibiting selling in city parks but wished to obtain permission to sell his music CDs in the park without signage or advertising. He asked the commission to place his request on the September regular meeting agenda.

Commissioners agreed to discuss the matter during Items from Commissioners.

Julie Norman, 596 Helman Street, said Southern Oregon Public Television, in conjunction with other organizations, was sponsoring a “National Parks Family Day” at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum on Saturday, September 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. She invited all to attend the free event.

Jack Opgenorth, 1324 Mill Pond Road, encouraged the city to make the best possible use of the Daniel Meyer Pool. He said the pool opened on Memorial Day weekend in past years but not until June 22 this year. He said he understood that many groups used the pool, including camp groups and swim lesson participants, but advocated strongly for more lap swimming opportunities.





Robertson reported that Public Arts Commission member Dana Bussell and former Ashland City Council member Alice Hardesty attended the July 20 study session to request the placement of a sculpture and memorial plaque within the Japanese-style garden in Lithia Park in memory of former councilor Jack Hardesty. He said the commission discussed the request and agreed to refer it to the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee for a detailed review. He said the subcommittee considered the request and did not agree on a recommendation so the matter was directed back to the commission.

Public Arts Commission member Melissa Markell said Alice Hardesty offered to purchase the granite sculpture titled “Gift” by Wataru Sugiyama in memory of her husband, Jack Hardesty, and place it in the Japanese-style garden at the conclusion of the its two-year display period within the Arnie Kriegel Memorial Sculpture Garden along the Calle Guanajuato stairway. She said the sculpture was small—three feet high and fourteen inches at the base—and would not detract from the beauty of the garden. She said a small plaque was proposed for the base that would feature the names of Hardesty and Sugiyama. Sugiyama spoke about his association with Jack Hardesty and requested the placement of his sculpture within the Japanese-style garden in memory of his friend.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed the request, with Eggers voicing concern that it met neither the parameters outlined in the signs and plaques policy nor the spirit or character of the Japanese-style garden. She read aloud both a portion of the policy and notes gleaned from research about elements found in such gardens. She said she learned that ornaments placed in the gardens were typically stone lanterns, used only when a point of interest was desired, and said she loved the garden’s refuge, emptiness, and non-defined spirit. She encouraged fellow commissioners to attend a presentation on November 13 by Shozo Sato, an expert on Japanese culture and dramatic arts, who was expected to speak about the importance of space and emptiness in the Japanese culture. She expressed appreciation for the Hardestys and Sugiyama, stating that she valued their contributions and generosity, but said she could not support the installation of the sculpture in the garden.

Noraas said she also researched the matter and found that the Golden Gate Park Tea Garden in San Francisco included sculptures. She said Jack Hardesty contributed to the welfare of the environment and the communities in which he lived. She said the inclusion of the granite sculpture in the Japanese-style garden would blend with existing elements, not necessarily serve as a focal point.

Lewis said the signs and memorials policy did not include a reference to public art, so art in Ashland’s parks was a gray area in terms of policy guidelines. He said art in the park had the potential of being vandalized. He suggested conferring with Parks staff horticulturist Donn Todt when considering the placement request.

Rosenthal expressed some comfort with the installation of the memorial sculpture but not with the plaque as proposed. He concurred that art in the park was a gray area in terms of the policy.

Gardiner voiced support for public art and hope for the commission’s acceptance of the gift but said he was not clear on placement options. He said installing the sculpture in the park could set a precedent. He expressed interest in moving forward with a decision before the conclusion of the sculpture’s two-year installation along the Calle Guanajuato stairway.

Commissioners directed staff to schedule, in the near future, a tour of the Japanese-style garden in Lithia Park and invite horticulturist Todt along with the Public Arts Commission.



Gies said a review of the Parks Department’s pesticide policy and practices was presented at the August 17 study session. He spoke of several options for proceeding and requested commission feedback.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed the options presented by staff, including scheduling additional study sessions, forming a pesticides subcommittee, hiring a consultant to study the issues and report back to the commission, and retaining the current policy and practices. Commissioners spoke of working with staff to compile a comprehensive list of questions and concerns, then directing staff to prepare answers and schedule an additional study session. Commissioners talked about the need to reduce or, in some instances, eliminate pesticide use in the parks system. They agreed to schedule the study session before the start of the budget season and invite experts to attend. Following the second study session, commissioners reviewed the possibility of forming a pesticides subcommittee—to meet in the winter—that would include commissioners, other agency officials, staff, and citizens. They discussed developing a unified policy for the community and including in the process the Parks Department, Ashland School District, and the City of Ashland.

Public Input

Allan Peterson, 807 Beach Street, said he was surprised to learn, upon moving to Ashland, that Lithia Park was sprayed with pesticides. He requested public postings for sprays that would list both active and inert ingredients.

Frances Dunham, 807 Beach Street, said she was pleased to hear that Parks possessed a written Integrated Pest Management policy and asked that it be made more specific and detailed. She also asked for public postings for sprayed areas and offered to participate in ongoing discussions about pesticide usage.

Tom Marr, 955 N. Mountain Avenue, spoke in support of forming a subcommittee and asked the commission to invite experts from pesticide-free cities like Arcata, CA. He requested public postings for sprayed areas. He volunteered to serve on the subcommittee and/or participate in the discussions and asked that policy revisions occur before spring 2010.

Commissioners agreed to forward to staff their thoughts and concerns about pesticides. Staff agreed to compile and distribute the list of issues and provide the commission with potential study session dates.


Gies provided the commission with a brief update on the Upper Duck Pond irrigation / pump house projects.


The commission considered whether to include on a future agenda the request by the cellist to sell CDs in Lithia Park. Gardiner said the item could appear on an agenda if two commissioners voiced support.

Commissioners said all past exceptions to the ordinance prohibiting selling in city parks were made for non-profit organizations requesting permission to fundraise for the benefit of the community. They said making an exception for Sperry’s request would set an unwelcome precedent.

Commissioners agreed that they were not willing to place the item on a future agenda.


  • Study session set for September 14 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street. Topics to include:
    • Annual review of fees and charges
    • Affordable housing update on the Chitwood Property
  • Regular meeting set for September 28 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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