Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Monday, June 22, 2015

City of Ashland
June 22, 2015

Present:   Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Miller, Shaw; Superintendents Dickens and Dials; Administrative Supervisor Dyssegard and Assistant Manuel 

Absent:    City Council Liaison - Mayor Stromberg; Director Black

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


Study Session – May 11, 2015 

MOTION:  Shaw moved to approve the Minutes as presented. Landt seconded the motion.                                      The vote was all yes.

Regular Meeting – May 18, 2015

MOTION:  Lewis moved to approve the Minutes as presented. Miller seconded the motion.
                  The vote was four yes, with one abstention: Shaw, who was not present at that meeting.
Mr. Andrew Ladygo of 345 Fair Oaks Avenue, Ashland, OR, was called forward.
Mr. Ladygo highlighted time spent in Lithia Park. He stated that he was impressed with how well the Park was maintained, and the cordiality of the staff. 
Mr. Ladygo talked about the history of the Butler-Perozzi Fountain, stating that it was purchased in 1915 at the San Francisco Pacifica Fair. The sculptor, Antonio Frilly of Florence, Italy, was well known throughout the world. The fountain was a reproduction of a sculpture owned by the Gondi family – a prominent Italian family – and the piece was a reproduction of work originally completed in the 17th Century. 
Ladygo noted a concern about the Butler-Perozzi Fountain, commenting that the fountain was beginning to show its age. He reviewed past renovations, stating that there were continued signs of deterioration. He asked that the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC) fund a survey designed to identify needed renovations, with recommendations for treatment. Ladygo noted the importance of a detailed maintenance plan to preserve the structure, emphasizing that the marble used for the sculpture was a soft limestone that was subject to expansion and contraction in colder climates if not protected properly.
Ladygo remarked that he was a member of the Historic Commission, and while not specifically representing the Commission in his comments regarding the Butler-Perozzi Fountain, the majority of members were concerned about the fountain as well. 
Ms. Debra Neisewander of 1159 Tolman Creek, Ashland, OR, was called forward.  
Ms. Neisewander stated that she was concerned about the number of bears nesting within the Ashland City limits, noting that Ashland Creek was the main corridor traveled by the bears in search of food. She highlighted the responsibility of APRC to manage garbage in Lithia Park, as well as to participate in a review and update of the Bear Management Plan.
 Neisewander presented documentation detailing the number of calls about bears in 2015, the condition of the garbage cans in Lithia Park, the availability of food in neighborhood areas, and data from Jackson County regarding bear sightings. She noted that there were at least seven bears in the Ashland area.
Neisewander suggested that it might be time to reactivate the Ashland Urban Wildlife Committee. She asked that Parks personnel receive training in bear biology and bear behaviors and that a regular patrol of garbage cans in Lithia Park be initiated. In addition, she advocated for cooperation with various organizations working to ameliorate the current situation. Neisewander highlighted organizations such as ODF&W, the Police Department, Recology Ashland Sanitary and TID, noting the importance of their involvement. She supported increased enforcement of existing Ordinances. 
Finally, Neisewander expressed dismay regarding the unchecked urban bear population and the possibility of interface with the citizens of Ashland. She stated that taking steps to manage the garbage in Lithia Park could mitigate the impact of bears looking for food.  
There were none.


·        Garfield Park Water Play Report

Parks Superintendent Dickens observed that the Garfield Park water play system was approximately 20 years old and, because of its age, there were signs of deterioration. He noted that there were leaks in the system as well. A Parks staff member with pool operator certification had advised Dickens that the water splash pad needed to be replaced some time ago. Dickens said the Garfield Park system was antiquated now despite being state-of-the art when originally purchased and installed. 
Dickens noted that it was currently more difficult to maintain the water chemistry. He detailed the steps to maintain the manual system, stating that the chemicals had to be checked, then adjusted, then checked again to ensure a proper chemical mix. He stated that the system was safe but labor intensive.   
Dickens said modern aquatics systems featured computerized chemical controls and automated water features. Dickens compared the older recirculation system with today’s interactive features. An upgraded system would become a great amenity for children, with kids manipulating the water, playing with dumping buckets and using other features associated with a newer system.
 Dickens said the project plan would include shutting down the water park after Labor Day, going out to bid quickly and completing the project in time for the spring season. Dickens would serve as the project manager, a comfortable role based on prior similar experiences. The project was currently in the design phase: a layout had been devised and Dickens was working on determining the extent to which engineering was needed. He stated that the project would require civil engineering, with some structural engineering for a retaining wall and possible mechanical engineering to connect the tanks into the recirculation system.   
Discussion among Commissioners
Discussion focused on details regarding funding, the placement and footprint of the splash pad, capabilities for pre-wash stations to withstand sand from the nearby sandbox, and the potential impact of the splash pad on the volleyball court.
In response to a question by Landt, who noted that the project was listed as unfunded in the Capital Improvement Plan, Dickens stated that Director Black planned to discuss a bond to fund the project at a July meeting.
Lewis commented on the popularity of the Garfield Park sand volleyball court and its importance to park patrons.
  • Forest Lands Commission Update
Superintendent Dials introduced Frank Betlejewski, Forest Lands Commission Chair, and Jeffrey McFarland, APRC’s Central Division Manager.     
Betlejewski presented a progress report containing data that would be included in the 2016 Ashland Forest Plan. He began with aerial photos, comparing vegetation changes between 1939 and 2004. Betlejewski highlighted the increase in vegetation, stating “photosynthesis happens.” He pointed out that in the roughly 70 years between the photos, the potential for a wildfire had grown exponentially. There were now increased stocking levels of tree forestation that created more fuel, which in turn created the    
potential for a larger scale, higher intensity wildfire.

 Betlejewski noted changes in tree species composition. He stated that tree species such as Douglas fir and white fir had increased, with corresponding declines in Ponderosa, sugar pine and oaks. He stressed the increased likelihood of mortality from insects and disease because of these habitat changes.

Betlejewski reviewed several studies and other resource documents that contributed to a pool of knowledge about the forest lands and forest land management, beginning with the Ashland Watershed Forest Plan of 1992. He described the development of a prescription for high priority forest management areas, a 2002 assessment of the Ashland Wildland/Urban interface, and a 2003 plan entitled Restoration II, Lower Watershed. He stated that in 2004, the Community Wildfire Protection Plan was put into place, a Plan crafted by local citizens. A large part of the document was subsequently adopted by the National Forest Service. 
Betlejewski briefly described the Ashland Forest Resiliency Alternative Project and talked about the           
2009 document called Restoration III, which was a management strategy for the Winburn Parcel.
Finally, he noted that the Ashland Forest Lands Commission actively manages two APRC parcels: the Siskiyou Mountain Park and the Oredson-Todd Woods, with a total approximate acreage of 279.   

Betlejewski presented a list of nine APRC parcels, totaling 172 additional acres of undeveloped forest land. He asked the APRC for permission to include the parcels in the 2016 Forest Lands Plan, emphasizing the top three Forest Lands Commission goals to protect water quality, maintain and promote ecosystem health, and reduce wildfire risk.  

Betlejewski displayed the 2016 Ashland Forest Plan Attribute Table, describing in detail tis tracking mechanisms. He stated that the Forest Lands Commission had plot data for every 2.5 acres of the 646 acres managed by the Commission. Plot data, treatments done and other vital pieces of information were then extrapolated into an Excel spreadsheet for ease of use. Betlejewski noted that the captured data helped to determine stand trajectories and inventories.

Betlejewski further explained the breakdown of plots into units. Each unit was assigned an identifier as a way to capture specific data. Types of data gathered included Wildfire Hazard Ratings, Fuel Model, Plant Association Group (discussion of plant communities that live on the site), Seral State (how big the trees are), Tree Species Present, Tree Species Size and Class and Tree Species Stocking. Listed topics included Understory Species, Understory Density, Invasive Species, Last Treatment, Next Treatment, Aspect and Slope. Attachments included a data dictionary and appendices, a compilation of plant species.   
The 2016 Ashland Forest Plan is divided into 14 chapters. Betlejewski identified community assessments discussed in the Social Chapter, stating that there are other organizations, such as the Ashland Forest Resiliency Alternative Project and the Rogue Valley Fire Prevention Cooperative, that provide valuable information for the report.      

Betlejewski noted timelines for completion of the Ashland Forest Plan, commenting on the number of agencies that would participate in the plan’s review prior to adoption. He stated that the plan should be ready for adoption by the Ashland City Council by April 2016.

In conclusion, Betlejewski highlighted the word “Proximity.”  He stated that if a controlled burn was visible, so too was an uncontrolled burn. The overarching goal of the 2016 Ashland Forest Plan was to better manage uncontrolled burns and other wildfire events.

Discussion among Commissioners   
Gardiner inquired about the coding of identifiers. Betlejewsk explained how units are labeled depending upon their location and the number of units within the parcel.

Lewis solicited a recommendation from Betlejewski as to the benefits of transferring the management of the additional undeveloped Parks acreage to the Forest Lands Commission. Betlejewski replied affirmatively, stressing the importance of oversight by one guiding body with a focused expertise.

Landt questioned the inclusion of the Ashland Ponds, highlighting the riparian environment and the lack of contiguity. Betlejewski answered that the area had the potential to become forested land with habitat for native fish species such as Coho salmon. He stated that a proper habitat for Coho included wood in the water. 

Landt also asked whether the properties included private lands.  Betlejewski replied that the jurisdiction was exclusively Ashland public lands. 

Shaw noted that Ashland Creek Park included a small parcel of undeveloped land. Betlejewski stated that the close juxtaposition of public and private lands was problematic. There followed a brief discussion of the effects of wood in the water and differing protocols for low and high elevations.
  • Approval of Admin Leave for Exempt Employees
Dials referred to a memo by Director Black, explaining the discovery of some misclassification of employees and the practice of compensating exempt employees with 40 hours of admin leave on an annual basis. 
Admin leave was described as a leave for managers (exempt from overtime) who are generally required to work additional hours for meetings, events and other work-related activities. All other departmental managers in the City with this classification currently receive 40 hours of admin leave per year.         
Director Black suggested in his memo that both the Parks and Recreation Superintendents, who are exempt employees, could begin receiving 40 hours of admin leave per fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2015, in recognition of their work hours, regularly required, beyond normal working schedules. This leave bank would be capped at 40 hours, had to be used or lost each year, and would renew every July 1 in perpetuity. 

Landt noted that the proposal would be consistent with offerings for other City of Ashland exempt employees and was an acknowledgment of extra time and effort expended. 

MOTION:  Shaw moved to approve the personnel policy and job descriptions for both the Parks Superintendent and the Recreation Superintendent, showing that each Superintendent position would receive 40 hours of admin leave per year, commensurate with the City’s admin leave policy. 
Gardiner commented, stating that to the best of his knowledge, there would be no financial impact resulting from this action, as the policy has been in place informally. 
                                                                        The vote was: All yes  
  • Amplification Request at Garfield Park
Dials reported that Mr. Hudson Walbank requested permission to host an outdoor movie, Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” at Garfield Park on a Friday in August, on a date to be determined. Walbank had submitted the required APRC Special Event application and fee. Dials stated that the movie would require amplification, and Walbank was working with a professional company called Fun Flicks, who would set up and manage the equipment on-site, pending APRC approval of the amplification request. She highlighted a recommendation that Walbank obtain a City of Ashland Noise Permit, saying that the permit would ensure that Mr. Walbank assumed responsibility for notifying neighbors and that the Ashland City Police were made aware of the event should any concerns arise. 
When asked about the movie presentation, Walbank relayed in his application that he wanted to share his love of Pixar movies with the people in his hometown. Walbank was working with SWANK, a Disney/Pixar licensing company, for the authorization to show the film. 
Dials invited Ms. Toni Dileo, Walbank’s parent, to answer any questions from the Commission. 
Dileo explained that Hudson was born and raised in Ashland. After setting up a business in Southern California, he discovered his preference to remain in his hometown. She stated that Hudson had business interests elsewhere but was able to conduct most of his business from Ashland. She reiterated that Hudson wanted to do something for the Ashland community, and hosting the movie was his way of doing so. 
Discussion Among Commissioners
Discussion focused on noise-related issues, provisions for drinking water on-site and the development of a fee schedule to recoup any costs associated with clean-up.
Landt led the discussion about a fee for events in the park. Dials noted that there were hourly fees and security deposit fees for events held in indoor facilities, and for Lithia Park and two others, but there were no fee schedules developed for most Ashland parks. Landt supported development of a fee schedule, stating that although it was too late to implement one for the Walbank request, it would be prudent to establish such a schedule. He stated that if the fee was taken as a deposit, the money could be returned to the responsible party once it was ascertained that the premises were satisfactorily cleaned.
Lewis asked about the past history of similar events. Dials confirmed that there had been no adverse outcomes or nuisance reports regarding excessive noise in the past. Lewis also inquired about provisions for drinking water on site. It was agreed that providing bottled water at the event was unnecessary. Dileo noted several drinking fountains on site. Landt asked that any reference to providing drinking water be removed from the agreement. 
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the application for showing an outdoor movie in Garfield Park one evening in August, 2015.
Discussion of Motion
Based on Commissioner input regarding the proposed motion, Landt agreed to two friendly amendments involving: 1) a specified timeframe; and 2) receipt of an Ashland Noise Permit.  
MOTION:  Landt moved to approve the application for showing an outdoor movie in Garfield Park one evening in August of 2015, from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., contingent upon receipt of a City of Ashland Noise Permit. Lewis seconded the motion.     
                                                                        The vote was: All yes   
  • Approval of Budget Advisory Committee Make-up
 On June 15, 2015, the Commission reviewed the proposed creation of the Audit Advisory Committee and disposition of its members. The purpose of the Committee was to assist the Commission in fulfilling its oversight responsibility for the upcoming performance audit of APRC. The Committee would assist the Commission in reviewing the RFP and the subsequent proposals before making a recommendation to the Commission on the selection of a consultant.  After the process of auditing had begun, the Committee would act as a review body for the audit and would make a recommendation to the Commission on the disposition of the recommendations from the auditors.   
Dials reviewed the proposed committee make-up:
APRC Commission Chair:                                                          Mike Gardiner
APRC Commissioner                                                                 Rick Landt
Member of the Public (with performance and audit experience):  TBD
City Councilor:                                                                          TBD by City Council
Staff Liaison:                                                                             APRC Director Michael Black
Reviewer:                                                                                 City Administrator Dave Kanner

Discussion among Commissioners
Discussion centered upon choosing an auditor with expertise in parks and recreation operations, the request for a City Councilor, the timelines and the final authorities. 
MOTION: Shaw moved that the Performance Audit Advisory Committee be created to assist the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission in the formation of an RFP and the review of the 2015 Performance Audit and that the Chair be given permission to appoint the members of the Board as outlined in the attached document. Landt seconded.    
                                                                        The vote was: All yes  
  • Bee City USA Subcommittee Report

Gardiner introduced Bee City USA (BCU) Chair Kristina LaFever.
LaFever reviewed the Subcommittee members, including Shari Shattuck who is a beekeeper, and Kimberly Brown who is “passionate about pollinator friendly plants.” She also named Libby VanWyhe of North Mountain Park and APRC Chair Mike Gardiner as members. 

LaFever noted that the subcommittee had recently formed, with just two meetings held to date. She described a myriad of activities and accomplishments thus far.  

LaFever noted that BCU was now listed in the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Visitor Guide along with an article on page 14. A number of activities had been held in conjunction with National Pollinator Week and classes held at North Mountain Park. Plans were currently underway for participation in the 4th of July parade, including a BCU banner. As part of a campaign to create awareness about the efforts of the new subcommittee, a press release was issued to educate readers about options for extracting or recovering bee swarms. BCU also joined with the Pollinator Project Rogue Valley to provide another avenue for raising awareness. LaFever reported on plans to work with the City of Ashland to include bee information on the City’s website and include a link to pollinator friendly websites.
Gardiner added that the group had generated some good ideas, brainstorming actions to float through the town to make the Bee City USA a more recognized name. He stated he was personally excited about pollinator gardens along with all the efforts made to educate the public about the importance of pollinators.
In response to a question by Shaw, LeFever stated that dealings with swarming bees depended upon the type of bee. She noted that native bees tend to die out in the winter but honeybees require more care. She stated that lists of beekeepers who rescue swarms are kept by the subcommittee, with lists also held by Ashland police and SOBA (Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association).  

LaFever stated that far too many people exterminate the bees, not knowing their value. She stated that honeybees are not interested in people and will not sting unless provoked. 
Landt reported that he spoke with Ms. Dileo following the bear report provided by Ms. Neisewander. He stated that he explained the order of business for an APRC meeting and encouraged Dileo to send an email regarding the issue, directed to the Commission.  
Study Session:              July 20, 2015 @ The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street - 7:00 p.m.
Regular Meeting:           July 27, 2015 @ Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street - 7:00 p.m.
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned into executive session at 8:12 p.m.
Executive session: Real Property Acquisition ORS 192.660(2) (e)
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of executive session at 8:52 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Betsy Manuel, Assistant

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