ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
March 21, 2002
CALL TO ORDER Chairperson Susan Reid called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. at the Nature Center in North Mountain Park. In addition to Reid, members present were Bruce Moats, Russ Chapman, Mort Smith, Joanne Krippaehne, Jim Hartman, Charles Bennett, Howard Braham and Paige Prewett. Staff present included Dick Wanderscheid and Sonja Akerman. No members were absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES Chapman noted that the household hazardous waste event will be on May 3 and 4, not April 3 and 4. Krippaehne then moved and Prewett seconded to approve the minutes of the February 27, 2002 meeting as corrected. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
PUBLIC FORUM Prewett introduced Liz Crosson, who has applied to be a new member of the Conservation Commission.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE Chapman stated there was nothing new to report.
Marketing Krippaehne reported she had talked with Ross Finney about why the Ashland Green Business Program seems to have stagnated. Her perception is that there is not enough oomph to keep it going right now and she asked what it might take to jump-start the program. Finney said he thought it would help to go back to the original six businesses in the program. He also stated it might take three to four hours in order to get a new business started in the program. This would include starting the energy and water audit and a follow-up meeting to get the action plan prioritized and on track. He said he charges $35/hour and it would probably take $120-200 per business. Krippaehne said she thinks the Commission can afford this and it would reinvigorate the program. Smith suggested the possibility of articles in the paper and having a general meeting of all businesses that are interested. Finney, however, said that there have been articles in both the Tidings and Tribune and no inquiries resulted. Although he is not opposed to the idea, he said It is a challenge to get business representatives in one place at one time. He suggested doing heavy promotion in a concentrated time period, then working with businesses when they are most interested in the program.
Reid recalled the biggest carrot she received in becoming a Green Business was the ad in the Shakespeare Playbill paid by the Conservation Commission. Being a bed & breakfast owner, this was especially enticing. She suggested using this sort of incentive to draw more businesses. Finney agreed this type of strategy would be good to use again. He also said that by going back to the original businesses, he may be able to find out if they know of other businesses that are interested. Bennett asked how long the program has been in existence. Finney responded he first started talking to businesses in 1999 and the City Council approved the program in 2000. Hartman asked if the businesses might start with the obvious things they already do or can do right away, then get them certified before other measures are completed. Finney said the first step in becoming a Green Business is to find out what they have already done, then get started on an action list of items they still need to do. Hartman said the schools are now in the process of doing audits. He wondered if statistics of what is being saved by some of the Green Businesses might help attract other businesses to the Program. Finney said that is part of the process. Reid reported that in her business, however, she has not saved money because it costs more to use some of the recycled products that are available. Bennett said an incentive would be to get the Green Business seal that can be displayed in the business window. Prewett noted that some businesses might need a nudge, since they are already doing many things already and they just need guidance. Finney said that guidance is a selling point and that word-of-mouth is a good place to start at recruiting. What is currently needed is a follow-up visit to the original businesses. Bennett stated he would like to give money to Finney so he can go back to the pilot businesses. Braham agreed the follow-up is necessary and observed it would be good to have some measure of success. Smith said he would like to get testimonials from the original businesses how do they feel about being in the Green Business Program and what have they saved? When asked, Finney replied it would probably take a total of 12 hours worth of consulting to get this going. He could have a report ready for the April or May Conservation Commission meeting. Wanderscheid also felt it would be worth having Finney go back to the businesses in order to find out where the program is. He agreed the Playbill is a good carrot, not only for tourists but also for local residents. All Commissioners agreed it would be helpful to have Finney get feedback on how the current Green Businesses are doing. Finney said he would 1) revisit the six pilot businesses, 2) find out where they are on their action lists and if they have implemented new actions, 3) find out if there have been savings, 3) ask what level of benefit they received from the Playbill, 4) find out if they know of any other businesses that may have expressed an interest in the program, 5) find out if they are happy with being a Green Business, and 6) find out if they would be willing to come to a presentation. All Commission members agreed to allocate up to $425.00 to Finney for getting the Green Business Program back on track. Wanderscheid reminded the Commission that the Conservation Division should have another staff person to help with this program by next fall and that the City Council has already approved the Green Business Program.
Prewett informed the Commission that the street sweeper art had all been turned in to her, then showed some of them. The Commission was impressed. She said the marketing committee and Public Works would whittle the number down so the public will be able to vote on Earth Day. Seven members will be in town and volunteered to help on April 20. Finney stated he would have a Green Business table and promote the Ashland program.
Smith said he will find out how much space will be allowed for the tips in the Tidings. The tips will be in the Thursday editions. Prewett added the committee is looking for enough tips for three months at a time. In discussing what artwork should be included with the tips, the Commission agreed it should be the Sustainable Ashland/Conservation Commission logo. Smith said the first tip will be printed before Earth Day.
Goal Setting Referring to the Draft Goals included in the packet, Bennett said he would like to see the web site included under Marketing of Resource Efficiency. In discussing this, Prewett asked the members to go to the City of Ashland web site and search for the Conservation Division. She found it difficult to locate and had no idea it would be under the Community Development Department. Finney suggested putting the Commission logo on the site for a link to the Conservation Department. Wanderscheid said he will make sure it will be easier to find, and since he is now the Director of the Electric Department and still in charge of the Conservation Division, he will have a link between the two departments also. Krippaehne said that as she looks at the Draft Goals, she sees topics. She would like the topics to become achievements or action items to turn into goals. Chapman said he wanted to add storm drain stenciling to the Adopt-A-Street Program and Krippaehne wanted to add construction waste as a goal. After discussing each item, Wanderscheid said he will write up the list of goals for adoption at the next meeting.
(Regarding construction waste, Krippaehne stated she was at the Demolition Review Committee meeting earlier in the day and volunteered to attend a study session with the Committee on April 23. Finney stated that at the most recent Natural Step meeting, contractor/Planning Commissioner/Demolition Review Committee member John Fields said that even though the City has a process, there is no basis for denial of demolition requests.)
Sustainable Housing/Earth Advantage Wanderscheid went over the memo he had written regarding the Earth Advantage Program listing positive aspects and disadvantages. He concluded it would be a good program for the City. He has talked with Portland General Electric (PGE) representatives about adopting elements on the points worksheet that would work best for Ashland and was told this was permissible. By buying the program, we would get the specs, logo, ads, staff training, etc. We would also have the ability to make some of the elements more stringent. Wanderscheid stated the Commission will be involved in the process and noted this may be accomplished by the end of the year.
Northwest Climate Response Endorsement After explaining this program is in its infancy and relating the advantages of the City of Ashland becoming a member, Krippaehne moved and Chapman seconded to direct staff to develop a memo to be sent to the City Council to this effect. After further discussion of the Northwest Climate Response and the Oregon Environmental Council, the motion was unanimously passed.
Youth Liaison Appointment Wanderscheid stated that since the Conservation Commission was created by a Resolution, a Resolution would have to be approved by the City Council in order to have two more members. Hartman recommended making both the high school and university students voting members of the Commission. This would give them some power and make it worth their participating. The members thought this was a good idea.
Community Action Meeting Report Prewett reported she had attended the meeting. There were between 50-60 people in attendance representing a lot of different interests. She would be interested in attending more meetings if the focus is on sustainable housing and affordable housing. Reid added Malena Marvin had told her they use rotating facilitators, this is an open process, and everything is by consensus. Prewett will report after the next meeting.
Budget The current balance is $2,688.05.
Request from Ashland Middle School Prewett moved and Braham seconded to allocate $50 for art supplies used by Ashland Middle School for the street sweeper mural design. The motion was unanimously passed.
COMMISSION ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA:
Wanderscheid informed the Commission the City of Ashland will be holding a volunteer recognition function on Thursday May 2nd from 4:00-5:30 at the Old Ashland Armory.
Prewett noted the next worm composting class will be on May 5 at the Nature Center from 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Reid stated she would not be at the April meeting so Chapman will chair.
Chapman reminded the Commissioners the landfill tour will be on April 4 and that those attending need to meet at Ashland Sanitary at 9:00 a.m. There will be no tour of BioMass.
Braham said this would be his last meeting. He thanked everyone and said he enjoyed his tenure as a member. He also said he will help if needed.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.