ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
April 25, 2001
CALL TO ORDER- Chairperson Susan Reid called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Members present were Susan Reid, Bruce Moats, Russ Chapman, Mort Smith, Russ Otte, Karen Amarotico, Joanne Krippaehne and Paige Prewett. Staff present were Dick Wanderscheid and Sonja Akerman. Dan Murphy represented Ashland Sanitary & Recycling. Member Howard Braham was unable to attend the meeting.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBER - Reid introduced Joanne Krippaehne, who was appointed to replace Kari Tuck. All members then introduced themselves and gave a brief explanation of their interests that inspired them to become involved with this Commission. Charles Bennett was also included, as he will be appointed to replace Amarotico, whose term expires April 30.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The minutes of the February 28, 2001 meeting stood approved as submitted.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE - Murphy reported 1) The free latex paint disposal was a great success. Over 200 people brought in paint during the two-day event. A 25 cubic yard drop box was nearly full, and 100 gallons of paint were given away. It is hoped this will reduce some of the volume usually generated during the hazardous waste event. 2) Chipper week and day took place in April. 92 on-route customers took advantage of the chipper, as compared with 72 last spring and 63 in the fall. Possible reasons for this increase were discussed, including BioMass charging for loads now, drought conditions and fire hazard reduction. 3) The hazardous waste event will be May 4 and 5 at the Expo Center. Latex paint can still be brought here. Over 1,000 Jackson and Josephine County citizens brought in paint during latex paint days and approximately 1,200 people used the hazardous waste event. 4) Discount day at the transfer station will be in June.
ADOPTION OF 2001 GOALS COMMISSION ITEMS - The goals resulting from the last meeting are 1) street sweeping/leaf collection, 2) energy and water conservation program marketing, 3) a sustainable housing program for new development, additions, and remodels, 4) marketing the Adopt-A-Street Program, 5) marketing and improving the Green Business Program, and 6) continuing to assist the City's Water Department on T.I.D. issues. Krippaehne asked if committees are formed as the result of the goals. Amarotico responded that typically the members choose which goals they would prefer to work on and they make sure they were on at least one committee. Otte stated he has a concern about trying to maintain six goals. Wanderscheid responded the Commission can make substantial progress on these goals, work on them in bits and pieces, and they can be carried over year by year. Also, the street sweeping goal should be in place by this fall. Public Works Director Paula Brown and Street Superintendent John Peterson will be invited to a meeting to discuss street sweeping. Based on ideas that result, a subcommittee should be formed. The Energy and Water Conservation Program Marketing plan will be presented by Communications/Marketing Director Ann Seltzer, possibly at the next meeting. A subcommittee probably will not be necessary, as the Commission will be able to comment at that time. Sustainable housing is such a large topic, it should be something discussed by the full commission at the monthly meetings. Wanderscheid went on to say the other three goals should probably have subcommittees. It may be that marketing the Adopt-A-Street Program and the Green Business Program can be combined into one subcommittee since they both deal with marketing. T.I.D. is driven by what Public Works does. Wanderscheid suggested forming a marketing subcommittee, a street sweeping subcommittee and a T.I.D. subcommittee. The rest should be dealt with as a full commission. Reid also suggested asking Building Official Mike Broomfield to attend a meeting to discuss sustainable housing. Krippaehne moved and Chapman seconded to adopt the six goals. Krippaehne noted she would like to see some sort of monitors developed to keep track of the progression of the goals. The motion was unanimously passed.
GREEN BUSINESS PROGRAM & AWARDS - Finney gave his report on the status of the Green Business Program, noting the ad made it in the Shakespeare Playbill. He then passed around survey results/recommendations and prices of the Green Business decals, adding Otte had suggested an adhesive vinyl material that can be copied through the color copy machines. With this method, four decals can be printed on one page. The initial run of 40 logos would cost $50 and additional sheets can be copied at any time and are only $1.50 per page. Silk screening is so expensive, the Commission gave Finney the go-ahead to pursue this type of adhesive strategy for the decals. Otte moved and Chapman seconded to allocate money so Finney can get the decals printed. The motion was unanimously passed.
In discussing the survey, Finney said the businesses haven't had much feedback yet. He also stated he would be doing a lot more development work with the program once he starts working with Jackson County/DEQ for the County Green Business Program. Valri Williams (Ashland Greenhouses) had suggested creating more of a presence in the Chamber's EarthSmart/MoneyWise publication. Wanderscheid stated, however, it is only published about every 18 months. To generate more awareness, promoting the program on the City's web page was also recommended. Finney then noted there have been newspaper articles in both the Tidings and Tribune, and he has been to the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce meetings. He will continue to create awareness and promote the program. Prewett suggested having an orientation meeting to make people more aware of the program and volunteered the facilities at the new Nature Center. Finney said he would do that as soon as he gets to that point. Krippaehne related Finney should look at specific industries as well, such as the hospitality industry, as changes would be fairly inexpensive to implement. Finney stated he is looking forward to updating the strategies for industries in Jackson County because they have changed so much over the years.
Green Business Awards for Parkside Cottages and the Stratford Inn - Finney noted the manager at Stratford Inn was evidently unable to attend the meeting. He presented the Parkside Cottages award to Reid. She thanked Finney and the Commission and said it is great to take part in this program. As a small business owner, it has worked out well to use examples of living lighter, yet there is still more that can be done. Reid said that 80% of her guests return, so she is certain they appreciate her efforts also. She related she would be pleased and honored to put up the award.
Articles on Recycling - Smith stated Murphy had written an article on where recycled material ends up, Amarotico had written one on recycling in businesses and he had written one on general home recycling. Akerman will e-mail these articles to the Commissioners for input and changes. They will then be printed in the Tidings as a series. Reid asked if the Tribune should also be included since many Ashland residents subscribe to it, the Tribune has a different composition and maybe the articles can be printed in a different area of the paper. Chapman stated that the articles can be more specific to Ashland by only having the Tidings print them. Rogue Disposal and Ashland Sanitary offer different programs.
Smith noted that if you are giving away something for free, the Tidings will not charge for the ad.
Compost Bin at North Mountain Park - Prewett informed the Commission the new compost bin has been installed and that the first class will be April 26. Leftover trex decking was used so the cost to the Conservation Commission will be less than originally proposed. Kari Tuck is working out the new figures.
June 19 City Council Presentation - Wanderscheid stated all members should make an effort to be at the Council meeting. Programs that have been completed should be highlighted along with this year's goals. Two or three members can do the presentation, but all members should make every effort to be there. Wanderscheid said a slide presentation on power point would be one way to update the Council. This will be discussed again at the next meeting.
Compost Classes for Summer 2001 - Wanderscheid reported that Claudia Law will again be teaching the classes. These will be on June 16, July 21, August 18 and September 15. We still have 40 bins from last year and will probably need to order 60 more for around $500. He also suggested the Commission pay Claudia $100 as it did last year. Otte moved to authorize Wanderscheid to purchase 60 more compost bins and give $100 to Claudia Law. Prewett seconded the motion and it was unanimously passed.
Prewett informed the Commission she will be offering another free worm composting class at the Nature Center on May 6.
Global Warming Conference on April 29 in Medford - Wanderscheid stated the Oregon Interfaith Global Warming Campaign Regional Conference is the first regional conference of its type in Southern Oregon. He will be one of the speakers in the afternoon. This is an outgrowth of the state conference held in Portland. It will be held from noon to 5:15 at the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ.
CFL Program Update - Wanderscheid said that within two weeks, the coupon program will kick off. Ashland residents can receive up to four coupons per account. The program will begin with a direct mailing to all those involved in the Solar Pioneer Program. There will also be newspaper articles and ads, as well as on the Internet. Because the electric rates will be going up, Wanderscheid stated there is a motivation to conserve.
Reid asked about Planning Department standards that require people to plant trees and shrubs before certificates-of- occupancy can be issued. She would like to give people the option of planting later and encourage people not to plant until fall, since the vegetation could receive very little water during the summer months. Wanderscheid responded this would be discussed with the Planning Department and Public Works. In initial discussions, all departments involved thought this should be implemented.
He then noted the City plans to raise its rates moderately in July, then adjust them in October. The figures should be available by mid June. The Commission discussed the rate increase and the possibility of brownouts. Smith stated he knows of businesses (and a church in particular) that leave lights on all day and night. He wondered if a letter could be sent, either from the Conservation Commission or the Conservation Department reminding them of the disadvantages of doing that, both from a financial standpoint and environmental standpoint. Wanderscheid responded if curtailment is enforced, there will be people that enforce such things. He said he would be happy to call the offenders to let them know it is costly to waste electricity and to give them information on what they can do instead. Price does induce conservation. Wanderscheid noted if there are brownouts, they will be during the winter months because that is when the peak electricity is used in this area. Reid suggested utilizing RVTV more effectively, creating short fillers on energy saving tips. Wanderscheid stated RVTV is currently filming a series on both energy and water conservation. In addition, the Electric Department will be putting new things on the reader board regarding energy conservation.
Budget Balance - Prior to this meeting the budget balance was $1,028.44. With the $50 allocated for Green Business Program decals and $600 for compost bins and Claudia Law, the balance is $378.44. Wanderscheid reminded the Commission the new fiscal year begins July 1. Finney will be submitting an invoice for the survey work on the Green Business Program he has completed and Prewett will be submitting the bill for the compost bin at North Mountain Park. It is important to note that it looks as though all the money allocated to the Commission this past fiscal year will be spent.
Ashland Middle School Solar System - Wanderscheid informed the Commission a small 600-watt solar system consisting of six panels will be installed on Ashland Middle School. The City of Ashland is paying just over $4,500 for the system, but will get a $2,500 rebate back from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The idea is to teach students about solar energy. Hopefully, the students will be involved in the installation so it will be a highly visible learning process. Wanderscheid said he hopes to keep building on the success of what the City has accomplished and continue to put in more systems. Phantom loads, which include clocks, VCRs, computers, TVs, etc. all count toward electric usage.
Construction Debris Discussion - Wanderscheid related background information on the demolition ordinance that was adopted one and a half years ago by the City Council and required a recycling plan. The Demolition Committee that was formed as a result of this is trying to get construction debris out of the landfill. This ties in with the sustainable housing goal and green building. The time has come to start discussing this subject. Finney suggested putting some of this information on the web site. Wanderscheid noted Chapman knows what can be recycled now; this information needs to get out to the contractors. Chapman said there is currently the opportunity for contractors to recycle cardboard and metals in Ashland. BioMass will take lumber with no heavy hardware. Reid stated Building Official Mike Broomfield also wants to discuss sheetrock with the Commission. Wanderscheid said the closest place to recycle new sheetrock is in Portland for $65/ton. He added the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has said ground up sheetrock cannot be put in soil because of the gypsum. Wanderscheid stated that the old sheetrock contained heavy metal - lead and mercury. Reid asked about aluminum windows. Chapman said window glass is not recyclable, but extruded aluminum is if comes in clean. If the aluminum comes in clean, it is free; if dirty (with the glass in), it will cost. Krippaehne stated the SOU Business School has students that take on projects. Perhaps they can do research, surveys, etc. and can come up with interesting ideas of what to do with the debris. Reid and Wanderscheid agreed this is a good idea. Wanderscheid stated that Don Cordell at Rogue Disposal has also researched this. The problem is that the Rogue Valley is a long way from markets. He also noted City programs have never been mandatory. Wanderscheid said if concrete is taken to the landfill, it is $50. If you take it to Dead Indian Memorial Road, it is $7. Reid added Lininger will take concrete also. Wanderscheid said we have always tried to encourage people, however we still need to encourage and educate contractors because it makes economic sense. Councilor Cate Hartzell and contractor/Demolition committee member John Fields will be invited to the May 23 meeting. Chapman suggested giving an informational sheet to everyone taking out a building permit. Otte added education needs to take place up front with all subcontractors also. There is a need for a financial incentive so contractors can get rid of debris using the environmentally correct method rather than just the quickest way. This will be discussed again next month. Wanderscheid related the City does have some things in place already, we just need to educate people. He will work with Chapman and Murphy and write a paper about this for the next meeting. When asked by Smith if cardboard disposal is free, Chapman said it is. Amarotico recalled reading an article several years ago about a woman who spearheaded an effort to pick up items, take them to a warehouse, then organize them for an exchange. Something like that could work here. She also said this type of thing could be on the web site. Smith added the web site needs to be publicized.
Letter from Brent Thompson - The Commission felt uncomfortable discussing the letter regarding questions Thompson asked about land as a resource is because hr has filed an appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals on the Hillah Temple. Questions asked in the letter pertain to the Planning Commission and City Council decisions.
COMMISSION ITEMS - 1) Prewett stated the Environmental Ed program grads are required to fulfill internships. She suggested the Commission, schools, etc. take advantage of the students for various sustainable living projects. These students would also be willing to give up to a 45-minute program at the school, etc. In discussing this, Wanderscheid and Otte stated that unless the program would be a part of the standards of learning, teachers most likely would not devote the time for this. If the subject meets the curricula, it would probably be welcome. 2) Smith said he picked up a flyer at the Ashland Community Food Store regarding the Jackson County Fuel Committee. Russell Sadler will be speaking on April 26 on power crisis topics.
As this was her last meeting, Chapman expressed his appreciation to Amarotico for serving on the Commission.
AJOURNMENT - The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.