Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, November 16, 2009

City of Ashland




November 16, 2009





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

Absent:       City Council Liaison Silbiger; Superintendent Dials


Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.


Robertson greeted members of the Green Team, including Robbin Pearce and Larry Giardina of the Conservation Division, Risa Buck of Ashland Sanitary and Recycling, and Lisa Freeman of the DEQ.

Pearce reported that the first site reviewed—toward the goal of establishing the Parks Department as a “Green Business”—was the North Mountain Park Nature Center. She referenced the team’s “walkthru report” and said initial “low hanging fruit” categories included waste management (reviewed by Buck), pollution prevention (reviewed by Freeman), energy (reviewed by Giardina), and water (reviewed by Pearce). All areas were found to be in compliance in the initial stage and suggestions were made for improvements, including the creation of a Nature Center Green Team, the use of recycled products wherever possible, the labeling of recycling containers, the proper disposal of paint products and chemicals, the installation of energy saving measures, and the addition of “green business” educational materials and resources in employee publications.

Longer term goals were outlined, including the installation of ClearStream containers in the park to encourage recycling, the use of the annual Household Hazardous Waste disposal event for chemical disposal, the use of latex paints and products rather than hazardous waste products, the use of fluorescent products, the installation of a whole house fan, the practice of night flushing in summer, improvements in irrigation and solar features, transportation options, and the installation of a rainwater catchment display at the Nature Center.

Pearce said the group next reviewed the Parks office and maintenance shop. For the Parks office, Giardiana suggested sealing heating ducts to prevent heat loss and shutting down the heat in the Parks office basement. Pearce said several shop areas were identified as out of compliance with DEQ regulations. She indicated that Green Business status was not attainable until all areas were brought into compliance.

For the Parks shop, Freeman spoke of a number of challenges in the categories of housekeeping, spills and releases, pesticide management, storm-water drains, sumps and washing, hazardous waste management, and universal waste management. She requested immediate attention to all unresolved issues.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners thanked the team for their efforts and asked for a list the unresolved issues. Pearce advised Parks to establish an internal Green Team comprised of representatives from every level within their organization. She indicated that the team would be responsible for identifying and addressing concerns internally before reporting back to Pearce’s team. Buck said the internal Green Team needed to focus on areas such as waste management, purchasing, recycling, energy, and water.

The commission directed staff to respond to all unresolved DEQ concerns at their earliest opportunity and to report back to the commission upon completion.


Robertson referenced the FY 2009-2010 commission goal for this category: “Working with the assistance of the Finance Department, the commission and staff will develop a long-term business, organizational, and financial plan that evaluates current funding sources and identifies future funding sources. The plan will need to identify facility needs, staffing requirements in relation to community demographics, and values. This plan will assist in the development of a long-term comprehensive master plan for the parks and recreation system. The commission will develop a report on the economic impacts of parks and recreation on the community of Ashland. How Ashland Parks and Recreation works in conjunction with tourism, business and family relocation, property values, and jobs creation will be explored.”

Robertson said he met with Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg before compiling a list of questions to begin the discussion.

His questions included:

  • How much of the goal can be achieved via Capstone projects by SOU students?
  • If taxes, fees, and charges shrink, how will services contract?
  • Who are our community partners in service promotion and how do we interact with groups like the YMCA, SOU, school district, City of Ashland?
  • How do we weigh the needs of tourists versus citizens?
  • Do we bond / use the Food and Beverage Tax or not, and if so, how much and for what time period?
  • How much do we bond?
  • How do we weigh the needs for buying land, rehabbing facilities, developing parks?
  • What is the long-term outlook for fixed costs?

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed the possibility of purchasing the lower Clay Street land using a bond. Eggers suggested making a short list of Open Space properties (remaining to be purchased) along with a list of parks (remaining to be developed). She indicated that the Ashland citizens who voted for the Parks share of the Food and Beverage Tax needed to receive that for which they voted, including park acquisitions and major rehabilitations. Robertson said the chair of the Budget Committee wrote a public information piece promoting the renewal of the Food and Beverage Tax to enable Parks to use the funds for operations and maintenance. He said there were three current vacancies on the Budget Committee.

Rosenthal suggested inviting citizens (concerned about Parks-related issues) to attend Budget Committee meetings to express their opinions. Robertson said the commission could invite Budget Committee members to attend Parks Commission budget planning sessions as well.

If the commission decided to issue a bond to purchase the lower Clay Street property, Robertson said he and the commission would meet with Tuneberg and “bond counsel” to discuss options. He said bond options included general obligation bonds (normally used by schools) or revenue bonds (voter approval not required, only action by elected commissions or councils). He said Tuneberg would be on hand at the November 23 regular meeting to present the commission’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and to speak to the commission about bond options, processes, and timelines.

Gardiner said he planned to schedule a meeting with the mayor to discuss several topics, including Food and Beverage Tax revenues and the upcoming budget season.

Robertson said he would talk with SOU staff about setting reasonable expectations for students’ Capstone projects relative to Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission goals.


Robertson referenced the FY 2009-2010 commission goal for this category: “The commission will seek new ways to communicate directly with the community. Neighborhood meetings, facility meetings, and other methods of direct ‘conversation’ will occur to allow the commission to better get a pulse of the individual neighborhoods that make up Ashland and better understand their values and needs.”

His questions included:

§         Do we proceed with our own logo or use the City of Ashland’s?

§         Do we venture out on to our own Web sites / social network sites?

§         Do we form other focus groups like the one for the pool users?

§         Do we survey our community to determine our success rate or focus areas?

Robertson said many cities utilized social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter but the City of Ashland had not done so. He said Parks staff worked on expanding certain areas of the Parks portion of the City of Ashland Web site but met with some resistance. He said all expansions were intended to make the sites more user-friendly and navigable and expanded sites included those for the golf course, Ashland Senior Center, and North Mountain Park Nature Center. He said he would continue working with City staff to resolve the issues.


Commissioners briefly discussed the topic of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission logo. Comments and suggestions included spending minimal time or money on the project or doing initial work in-house, such as retaining the existing logo but removing the swans or incorporating the City of Ashland logo with the Parks wording. Robertson said he would check with the City of Ashland about proper usage of the “A” found within the City of Ashland logo.

Commissioners agreed to discuss the Community Communication / Logo Review goals in more detail at a future study session.

ADJOURNMENT OUT OF STUDY SESSION – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:54 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned into executive session at 8:55 p.m.

§         Executive Session: Review Confidential Documents ORS 192.660 (2)(f)

ADJOURNMENT OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of executive session at 9:22 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation


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