Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
Councilor Silbiger, Lemhouse, Morris, Slattery, and Voisin were present. Councilor Chapman was absent. 

1.     Look Ahead
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2.     Railroad Property cleanup plan
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer provided history on the 20 acres owned by Union Pacific Railroad.
Hydrogeologist Geoffrey Brown for the Western Region Cleanup Program under the Oregon Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) explained DEQ typically allowed the responsible parties of low risk sites to manage cleanup at their own pace.  DEQ would provide the City with a Frequently Asked Questions document to field questions from the public regarding the project.     
CH2M Hill Senior Project Manager Mark Ochsner further explained Phase I of the Remedy Implementation Plan involved installing a temporary rail spur to remove contaminated soil by railcar also referred to as gondolas.  Loading would occur at the central portion of the site to increase distance from nearby condominiums.  They anticipated installing the spur line winter 2012-2013.  Phase II included excavating an 8-foot depth of contaminated soil from three areas in the Bunker C section.  Phase III and IV consisted of removing 2.5 feet of soil at the east and west ends of the site late 2013 or early 2014.  Phase 5 would remove the temporary rail spur and grade the soil and clean fill used to replace the contaminated soil.  The cleanup of the entire site would meet residential standards. 
Gary Honeyman, the manager of Environmental Site Remediation for Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) explained contaminated soil would go to the East Carbon Development Corporation (ECDC) in Price Utah.  ECDC would provide high-sided gondolas that could contain 100 tons of material.  They would fill them half full to prevent spillage during transport.  UPRR would stage up to 40 railcars in Medford until needed at the site.  Once filled, the gondolas would return to Medford then travel to ECDC via Eugene.  Excavation would take 4-6 months and occur during winter months to cut down on dust.  In addition, they would have water trucks onsite for dust control.  The City would not incur hard or soft costs.  Non-contaminated concrete removed from the site would be recycled.
Councilor Silbiger declared a conflict of interest and disclosed his home was 10 feet from the end of the spur line.
DEQ would monitor the site, address storm water issues, and ensure the site was in good condition afterwards.  There would be 20-30 truckloads of clean fill to replace excavated soil with Oak Street as the truck route.
Mr. Brown explained how the site would meet residential standards.  They would treat the area as an exposure unit and use a mathematical method to calculate the confidence range with the goal of reaching a 90% Upper Confidence level of the mean (90UCL).   This entailed removing hot samples from the data, testing the soil, recalculating and repeating the iteration as needed until the site met 90UCL.  The process treated the worst areas, subtracted them from the calculation, added substituted values for clean soil, and then re-evaluated the site as a whole.  It was impossible to achieve 100% certainty and there would always be the possibility that contamination remained.
Once DEQ determined the site met the 90UCL they would issue a No Further Action letter to UPRR stating no further action was necessary based on information they received at that point in time under their judgment.  It also stated if new or undisclosed information surfaced in the future, Union Pacific Railroad would still be responsible.   Clean up at that time would involve UPRR, and every owner that had purchased the land since UPRR sold the property.
Next steps involved CH2M Hill developing a detailed Remedial Design Remedial Action work plan for DEQ approval followed by public forum then construction. 
Mr. Brown clarified contaminates found on the property were heavy metals that did not flow into groundwater.  Construction activities would occur 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. five to six days a week during excavation.  Mr. Honeyman added the UPRR Real Estate department was interested in selling the site as a single property and currently had no plans to re-zone.
3.     Council consideration of a report on potential lease costs of a resource center for the homeless in Ashland
Councilor Slattery explained the resource center would provide a variety of support and services for people who were homeless or at risk of being homeless.  Mayor Stromberg added Council could direct staff to bring back a competitive grant document for discussion during a regular meeting.  City Administrator Dave Kanner recommended draw down funding instead of a lump sum for the grant.
Councilor Voisin thought 1,000 square feet was large for a resource center. Mr. Kanner replied the size seemed reasonable for a facility that would provide showers, laundry, computer workstations, and office spaces. Councilor Slattery added if the center was successful, they could increase the span of resources and possibly collaborate with Jackson County Mental Health, the Maslow Project, and La Clinica.  The space would also allow a thrift store to help pay expenses.
Councilor Voisin supported the resource center but expressed concerned only one service agency would apply and the thrift store might fail. Councilor Slattery responded if the thrift store did not succeed, in two years the agreement with the City would end and it would fall to the community to do the necessary fund raising.  Mr. Kanner suggested having the applicant explain how they planned to pay for ongoing operations.  The City would pay the lease costs and utilities for two years.  Councilor Slattery thought a thrift store would provide employment opportunities.  Councilor Lemhouse added more agencies might apply due to the City providing funding.
Council supported staff moving forward, would address the specific questions in the Council Communication and send their responses and suggestions to Mr. Kanner who could compile the information for a future Council meeting.  Mr. Kanner would also research if the competitive grant would be eligible for a Community Development Block Grant.
Meeting adjourned at 6:42 pm.
Respectfully submitted,                                
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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