City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION MINUTES
April 18, 2016
Present: Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Miller, Shaw; Director Black; Superintendents Dickens; Executive Assistant Dyssegard
Also Present: Supervisor of Forestry, Trails and Open Space Properties, Jeffrey McFarland
Absent: City Council Liaison Mayor Stromberg; Superintendent Dials
ITEM #1 CALL TO ORDER
Gardiner called the Study Session to order at 5:30 p.m. at The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street.
ITEM #2 PUBLIC INPUT
There was none.
ITEM #3 TOUR OF IMPERATRICE PROPERTY
Michael Black and Jeff McFarland led a tour of the 846-acre Imperatrice property, adjacent to Ashland City limits. The property was purchased by the City in 1996 and water rights were obtained from the Talent Irrigation District (TID) at that time. The land purchase, made possible through City of Ashland Food and Beverages taxes, was recorded as $950,288. An old homestead formerly located on the property had only one remaining item: a cistern from the former structure.
The majority of the property was zoned EFU (exclusive farm use), with a portion zoned as higher value farmland and rented by a local business for farm use. Irrigation water was obtained from a TID ditch spanning the property.
A former geotechnical study characterized the soil as unstable and the composition as predominately clay, rendering the property unsuitable for bicycle trails or other pedestrian uses other than hiking trails.
The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy (SOLC) expressed interest in the property because of its desirable vegetation and bird nesting sites. No rare plants had been identified and SOLC would support a trails system. Other possible uses for the property included approximately 100 acres for a solar farm, an interest expressed by the City of Ashland.
The group discussed a possible trail or series of trails leading to Grizzly Peak. It was noted that no connecting trail easements had been established to date. Challenges to obtaining the easements included access through private property and coordination with applicable agencies. TID would most likely call for fencing to shield the public from the ditch. Crossing the waterway would require the cooperation of TID and permits from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. The Grizzly Peak area was managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Black recommended procuring trail easements for future connectivity with BLM’s trail to Grizzly Peak. He indicated that a survey would be needed once the trail easements were tentatively identified. Black highlighted potential changes to Oregon’s laws granting recreational immunity. He stated that more work would be needed to determine potential liabilities with regard to the property. The tour was then concluded.
ITEM #8 2016 SUBCOMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS REVIEW
Bee City USA
Gardiner reported briefly about the recent Pesticides, People, Pollinators and the Planet Conference. He noted that a wealth of information was disseminated about cutting-edge, environmentally sound techniques related to the workshop’s theme.
Clay Street Dog Park
Black updated Commissioners on staff’s progress in soliciting public input regarding the proposed Clay Street dog park. Signs had been placed at key locations and public input was coming in by email and other methods.
ITEM #10 ADJOURNMENT
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:49 pm.
Betsy Manuel, Assistant
The Minutes are not a verbatim record. The narrative has been condensed and paraphrased to reflect the discussions and decisions made. Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Study Sessions, Special Meetings and Regular Meetings are digitally recorded and available upon request.