Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


November 3, 2015
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, Rosenthal and Marsh were present.
Mayor announced that the City is taking applications for the Annual Appointments to the Citizen Budget Committee and Municipal Audit Commission.  The deadline for applications is November 13.
The minutes of the Study Session of October 19, 2015 and Business Meeting of October 20, 2015 were approved as presented.
General Manager Robert Colvin representing Central Oregon Railroad (CORP) announced that the line through Ashland will reopen to establish a freight line between Medford, Oregon and Weed, California.  Train movements will begin tomorrow and will run in the afternoon.  He explained that there are no set train schedules at this time for the next couple of years. In 2016, the line will be operated at a minimum of 5 days a week, two trains a day through Ashland.  No exact timelines are known at this time other than one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Signals and low blown horns will be used for safety reasons and these are being tested currently and for the next couple of months.  He stated that the standard speed is set at 25mph and that historically the speed through Ashland has been 20mph and he anticipates that in the beginning the speed will be closer to 10mph.
Trina Sanford/640 Tolman Creek Rd/Spoke as a property owner on Tolman Creek and that the transient problem is not just a Plaza issue.  She shared her concern that council will not give this area equal attention.  She was aware of a homeless camp in our watershed and would not allow her children in the area for safety reasons.  There are many reasons for concern including human defecation and fire issues.
Daniel Gregg/195 Mobile Drive/Spoke regarding the cleanup of the railroad property and suggests that the council create a conference site in this area and park area.  He would like to speak to someone about the property and what procedures would be necessary to bring a proposal forward.
Zach Brombacher/640 Tolman Creek Rd/Commented about the problems he has had with the transient population and asked that something be done.  He feels that citizens have “had enough” and that this issue has gotten out of hand.  Asks that all abide by the law in order for all to enjoy our community.  Suggested that this be put to a vote by the electorates that all abide by the law.
Ellen Campbell/120 Gresham Street/Appreciates that the council is taking this seriously and that there are many stakeholders involved.  Suggested employing ambassadors that will help to education and provide guidance to those that need assistance.  She stated that citizens should be allowed to enjoy their community and they should not have to put up with those that will not abide to the law. 
JC Romero/Stated that he is a member of the community and does what he can to help by volunteering and cleaning up after others.  He felt that the focus should not be on how to exclude members of the community but how to help them.  He stated any further ordinances are not necessary.
Alice Mallory/438 Taylor Street/Spoke regarding those human beings that are not “travelers.”  She comments on the previous testimony about sexual harassment, intimidation, and other actions that affect our quality of life.  She does not understand how civil liberties for those that violate take precedence over those that do not violate our quality of life.  She suggested that our community take a lead to petition our legislators that they provide protection and civil liberties to law-abiding citizens in order to walk in a safe environment on our city streets.
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Stated his appreciation for affordable housing but does not understand the aggressive nature of some of the homeless currently in our community. 
1.   Minutes of boards, commissions, and committees
2.   Appointment of Stephen Jensen to the Forest Lands Commission
3.   Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution adopting a supplemental budget increasing appropriations within the 2015-17 Biennium budget”
       Document Submitted at Meeting

4.   Approval of a change order in excess of 25% for the oxidation ditch wetland delineation
Consent agenda item 3 was pulled for discussion and minor amendment.
City Administrator Dave Kanner stated that under Section 1, Equipment Fund, the appropriation for Public Works should be $440,000, which also changes the total all funds to $563,588.
Administrative Services/Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained that there is no bottom line impact associated with the transfer of appropriations.
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to approve Consent Agenda items with amendment to item #3 correcting the appropriated amount. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Biennium 2015-2017 first quarterly financial report     
City Administrator Dave Kanner conveyed to the council that the first quarter financial report is not usually very revealing but that staff looks for deviations within the report.  He stated that he reviews the major revenue streams, which include utility billing revenue and suggested that in the future staff could flag certain items and report on those.
Administrative Services/Finance Director Lee Tuneberg stated that this is a straightforward report and it does not show any particular issues, as this is the first quarter financial report.  He explained that the biennial budget makes financial reporting more complex and has caused some confusion, but he is comfortable with the change to biennial.
  1. First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 9.16 to require dog licensing and declare certain dog behaviors to be public nuisances” and move on to second reading
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained that the proposed ordinance is a result of prior discussion by council and concern with the increase of dogs in the downtown area.  Mr. Lohman went over the proposed changes within the ordinance.  He explained that the ordinance is less lenient that the county licensing law and provided examples of what dog behaviors would constitute a public nuisance.
Mr. Lohman stated that there was a change by staff under 9.16.005 Definitions (F) language should be changed to be consistent with State Law by removing “domestic” and replacing with “companion dog or livestock.” Staff will make this change for the second reading of the ordinance.
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained that enforcement for a dog without a license would be complaint driven as there was no practical way to stop anyone with a dog to determine if they are licenses or not.  He stated that there was a compelling reason for an officer to stop an individual with a dog this could be part of the investigation.  He clarified that dogs are not allowed on the Plaza and that would fall within the compelling reason to inquire if the dog was licensed and he understood that the ordinance stated that proof of vaccination could be used in lieu of a license. 
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary clarified that Jackson County requires that all dogs be licensed. They do allow a 30-day window for licensing of dogs.  The proposed ordinance only pertains to vaccination of dogs and it was noted that there are several agencies in the area that offer free vaccinations.  He further stated that the proposed ordinance does provide for automatic dismissal of citation if proof of vaccination can be provided.  This could be done either in person at the Court or by mail.
Sandra Slattery/Ashland Chamber of Commerce/Spoke for a collective group that supports all the proposed ordinances, as they will protect our citizens and our businesses.  She offered thanks to the council for listening and understands that this is a behavioral problem and a community issue.  She offered the help and assistance of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
Staff will provide a definition for “vicious dogs” at second reading for council to consider.
Councilor Marsh/Seffinger m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh understands that this is an appropriate ordinance and believes that our officers will use it appropriately.  Councilor Seffinger stated that vaccination is important and that this protects our citizens.
Roll Call Vote: Lemhouse, Morris, Rosenthal, Marsh and Seffinger, YES; Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
2.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Chapter 10.120.020 to add two offenses as possible elements of the crime of persistent violation” and move on to second reading
City Attorney Dave Lohman presented staff report, which included an explanation on the current ordinance in place involving persistent violation.  The proposed ordinance adds two additional elements that would qualify under persistent violation within a six-month period.  The two elements are failing to have a dog licensed and smoking marijuana in public. 
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara stated that he does not have current numbers of citations issued for smoking marijuana in public, but does confirm that it has increased significantly since it became legal in the state…
Staff will look at how misdemeanors are listed and will bring change back any changes at second reading if needed for council consideration.
Deb Van Peelen/321 N Mountain/Commented on questions brought forward by the mayor on the behavior of certain individuals.  She stated that she is more concerned by global issues than individual behavior and that Ashland businesses are not a good business model for a friendly and respectful atmosphere.  She spoke regarding her concern on consumption of fossil fuels and would like to see our city challenged more in a global way.
Debbie Miller/160 Normal Street/Spoke in support of proposed ordinances and stated that she does not condone disruptive behavior in her own home and that we should not condone this type of behavior our community.  She felt that all residents and visitors are being affected by this obnoxious behavior including the danger of having unvaccinated dogs and that rabies is a serious public health issue.  She thought that officers should be able to confirm licensing via the website and that tags are not necessarily proof of licensing as these could have been stolen. She urged the council to adopt all proposed ordinances that people could either abide by the city polices or leave.  She felt there should be juridical consequences.
Councilor Seffinger/Lemhouse m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Seffinger emphasized the importance of moving forward and making our city safer. Councilor Lemhouse supported the motion and that adding the dog issue to persistent violations is appropriate. He felt that it is fair to apply this to all equally and the smoking of marijuana in public is an obvious violation to add.
Councilor Voisin motion to split motion between the two offences. Motion died due to lack of second.
Continued discussion on motion: Councilor Morris stated that including the dog violation is important but is concerned with moving the smoking of marijuana in public as it could affect the outer areas of downtown. Councilor Voisin could not support the motion if it included the dog violations because she felt there would be enforcement issues. She did support including smoking of marijuana in public as a violation.
Roll Call Vote: Lemhouse, Voisin, Marsh, Rosenthal, Morris and Seffinger, YES. Motion passed.
3.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 10.120.010 to add Bill Patton Garden to existing enhanced law enforcement area” and move on to second reading
City Attorney Dave Lohman presented staff report and explained the additional areas that have been experiencing increased behavior issues.  Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained that there is a long history of problems in this area and that it should have been included initially.  This would correct the omission. 
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary explained that the original map omitted this area and it had been problematic for officers to determine the enhancement area.
Chief O’Meara clarified that park patrol has the ability to cite if anyone is found to violate park rules.  He stated that Park Rules are stricter and do apply to all city parks.  He also stated that there had not been any significant calls for service at the library or the bus stop at this location.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading.
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse that is an evolution and that a larger area could be considered if it were a reasonable addition.  Councilor Marsh felt that was a good step forward and that it would provide good tools for our officers to use.  She stated that there is a larger comprehensive issue for the downtown area.  That we should reclaim our public space so that we all feel safe.  She does not feel that this will solve the problem but is a helpful tool.  Councilor Voisin supports the ordinance but felt there needed to be better control of violations.  She voiced her concern with the enhancement area and does not feel that this will change behavior issues. She felt that this was a societal problem and that it is not just downtown but the whole community.
Roll Call Vote: Morris, Seffinger, Voisin, Marsh, Lemhouse and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
4.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC 9.08.010 and 9.08.040 concerning keeping of animals” and move on to second reading
City Attorney Dave Lohman presented staff report that included language about bringing livestock to the downtown area. The purpose of this ordinance is to clarify that large farm animals, without a permit, is not appropriate in the city.
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained that there have been circumstances that warrant this proposed amendment. He stated that horses do not have a place in the downtown area unless there is a parade happening as this could be a dangerous and legitimate public safety issue.
Mr. Lohman stated that it would be difficult to exclude horses and staff will bring back language for the council to consider that may help on enforcement.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin supported the ordinance and understands that livestock does not belong in the downtown area. Councilor Rosenthal stated that this is meaningful action that protects the community and supports health and safety.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to amend motion to exclude horses from the list of excluded animals.
DISCUSSON: Councilor Lemhouse explained that there still rural areas within our community and that it may be a generation issue.  Horses could be considered an alternative transportation and that it is important to protect the rural history of Ashland.  Staff was directed to bring back a proposal that would allow horses but keep them out of areas that would be considered a safety issue. Councilor Marsh agreed that only in certain areas that are appropriate. Councilor Voisin did not support removing horses from the last as she felt that it would be safety issue and that the city should be consistent.  Councilor Morris supported the amendment but voiced concern with excluding horses.  He did understand that there are still areas surrounding the city that are rural and there may need to be an exemption for these types of situations.
Roll Call Vote: Lemhouse, Morris, Rosenthal, Marsh and Seffinger, YES; Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Lemhouse, Morris, Rosenthal, Marsh and Seffinger, YES; Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
5.   First reading by title only on an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC 9.18.020 to include additional definitions of behavior constituting elements of chronic nuisance” and move on to second reading
Fire Division Chief Margueritte Hickman presented the staff report and shared her experience involving the dangers of pyrotechnics.  She felt strongly that we should prevent this from happening in our community.  She explained that inspections have found safety issues in our local bars and nightclubs.  She felt that it was appropriate to include these types of violations in the chronic nuisance ordinance, as the impact to business would be more than just a cost of doing business for those that are found in violation.  The proposed ordinance would add two fire violations to the chronic nuisance ordinance and would provide greater incentive to owners to comply as failure to comply could prevent them from operating their business on site.
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara stated that this past Halloween night was quiet and Ms. Hickman stated that there were no incidents of overcrowding.  It was clarified that all incidents, including Fire Department incidents would be included with Police incidents when considering violations.  It was felt that this is an enhanced tool to help deal with problematic businesses in the downtown area.
Councilor Lemhouse/Seffinger m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse stated that the addition of fire violations was important and would   help with chronic nuisance offenders. Councilor Marsh agreed that this would provide more tools for law enforcement and sends a message to business owners that the city is serious about enforcement Councilor Voisin voiced her support for the ordinance.
Roll Call Vote: Voisin, Seffinger, Morris, Lemhouse, Rosenthal and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse announced Ashland High School (AHS) Grizzly activities including past AHS student Jeremy Guthrie whose team won the Baseball World Series.  The girl’s soccer team will be in Hood River, girl’s volleyball in Portland, boy’s football this Friday playing Bend High School, which will be held at the Southern Oregon University field.  It was noted that Councilor Rosenthal would be the guest announcer for this game.
Councilor Voisin announced the ORS annual sleep out in tents this coming Saturday at Lincoln School field.  The evening of Saturday the Peace House will hold a celebration for Ruth Couthart recognizing her community involvement.
Councilor Rosenthal announced that the Ad Hoc Climate and Energy Committee would be meeting tomorrow at 2 p.m. to finalize their kick-off event scheduled for November 15 at 4 p.m. at the Ashland Historic Armory.  More information can be found at
City Administrator Dave Kanner announced that electric utility discussion scheduled for the November 16 Study Session would be postponed until February.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:33 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                             John Stromberg, Mayor

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