MINUTES FOR THE CONSERVATION AND CLIMATE OUTREACH COMMISSION
Wednesday, April 28, 2021; Held Electronically
1. Call to Order (item starts at approximately 00:03 on the video)
Chair Becs Walker called the meeting to order on 3:02 p.m. Commissioners Risa Buck, Marni Koopman, Jamie Rosenthal, and Bryan Sohl were present. Staff members Bridgette Bottinelli and Stu Green and Council liaison Tonya Graham were also present. Commissioner Larry Cooper was absent and James McGinnis arrived later in the meeting.
2. Consent Agenda (00:10)
2.1. March 24, 2021 Meeting Minutes
Buck/Koopman moved/seconded to approve the minutes from the March meeting. Further discussion: none. Ayes: Buck, Koopman, Rosenthal, Sohl, and Walker. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
3.1. Next Regular Meeting: May 26, 2021
3.2. Other Announcements from Commissioners (00:53)
Buck stated that the process to go all electric should be documented and promoted to help encourage others to make the switch. Green suggested that Buck write an article on the subject and Buck agreed to outline the steps and work with someone else on the article.
Rosenthal updated the Commission on the following upcoming events:
- Rethinking Waste Webinar on April 29 from 1 to 2 p.m.
- Annual Green Debris Drop Off Day on May 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Jackson County Household Hazardous Waste Event on May 8 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A grant was also received to deploy 25-yard debris boxes for neighborhoods. Those interested can apply and get reduced pricing by using this link
3.3. Reports from Members of Other Commissions
4. Public Forum
5.1. Council Update (9:42)
Graham announced that the Council will hold an upcoming study session on water issues as the County has recently declared a drought. water study session coming up and related to County declaring drought. Council will also discuss the upgrade to the Water Treatment Plant.
Sohl asked if the Water Conservation Analyst would be replaced. Green answered that the City is currently contracting with the Medford Water Commission to have Julie Smitherman continue to help with water conservation. Graham mentioned that Council and the City is considering regionalization as the City goes through the budget process.
5.2. Staff Update (15:23)
Green gave an update on the following:
- The Water Conservation webinar is now online. The Rethinking Waste webinar will be held the day after this meeting.
- The electric bike incentive program has spent nearly half of the allocated money. Seventeen electric vehicle incentives have been given this year.
- Four new electric vehicle chargers are installed at the Grove.
- A grant was awarded to Forth Mobility to create self-serve electric vehicle ride and drive programs with local non-profits. This upcoming program would allow for any Ashland Electric customer to reserve an electric vehicle to test drive.
- The inauguration for the Ashland Food Co-op's solar installation is coming up. The installation will be the largest in Ashland at just below 200kW.
- There are possible new incentive programs for induction cooking and small yard electric tools.
- The USDA loan to expand the City's home energy retrofit loan program might still be available after a letter of intent was approved by the USDA. This program would focus on electrifying homes, allow for multiple projects to be funded at once, and opportunities for working in conjunction with the wildfire mitigation lending programs. Graham stated that she and the Wildfire Safety Commission Chair are meeting with Umpqua Bank to discuss financing options for homeowner's wildfire mitigation.
James McGinnis arrived at 3:25 p.m.
6.1. Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview (24:02)
Walker asked to add on the step by step electrification article by Buck and Bottinelli to September. Sohl asked if having another water article in the summer would work. Buck suggested he reach out to Ciara Marshall, Water Resources Technician, for information to include in the article.
6.2. Update on Different Channels for Articles and Future Outreach (30:40)
Bottinelli said this has been running smoothly and she is keeping track of how people are finding out of the events. There are also outreach post cards which can be used for outreach. If anyone has ideas or content for Facebook, please email Bottinelli.
6.3. CEAP Project Update
- Responsible Consumption and Single Use (32:14)
Buck gave an update on the single use alternatives list which highlights different local and State initiatives reducing single use and suggests what consumers can do. Green reviewed the list and Bottinelli had incorporated some of the list on the website. Buck will talk with Bottinelli about what to do next for outreach with the list.
- Climate Resilience (34:27)
Koopman updated that the letter was sent out Council since the last meeting. The group is now focusing on priorities for their climate resilience work including renewable energy equity, impacts of smoke, and water conservation. Sohl mentioned that he has met with a local solar cooperative and there will be a role for clean energy projects and education that the Commission could help on. Buck asked if an article should be written about the solar cooperative. Koopman answered that an article in the future would work.
- Water Use and Conservation (40:54)
None, but Walker reminded the Commission of expectations for online meeting participation.
6.4. Chair and Vice Chair Nominations for June (43:08)
Walker asked for the Commission to think of members to nominate at the May meeting to serve as Chair and Vice Chair in June. Koopman asked about the current vacancies and Commissioner recruitment. Green stated that the vacancy for the Ashland School District Representative might continue to be unfilled since the District is busy with the facility bond improvements.
Members had individuals in mind including some high school and a SOU student. Walker asked everyone to follow up with those mentioned. Those who apply can follow up with the City Recorder.
6.5. Project Requests Lists (1:02:48)
Walker mentioned one update that she added to the list in the packet. Buck stated that the Ashland Hardware electric yard tool demo day would be delayed until the Fall due to COVID-19 restrictions. Walker received a request for the Commission to review the draft Urban, Land Use, and Transportation CEAP update and implementation plan and will include that on the next agenda. Sohl volunteered to work on the task to align CCOC with CPC's work program. Buck asked for an update on 20's plenty status. Sohl will follow-up with the 20's plenty group and give an update at the next meeting.
6.6. Coordinated Campaign (1:09:50)
Graham and Green met with the Chairs of the four involved Commissions (CCOC, CPC, Transportation and Wildfire Safety) regarding the integrated engagement and outreach campaign. Graham hopes to bring back the monthly details back to each Commission for feedback and approval. Graham stated that the campaign is being conceptualized and will need input from the Commissions on what programs or areas of engagement they will want to work on with staff. This could begin as soon as August of this year.
Sohl also wanted the Commission to focus on making recommendations on policies and actions as stated in the Commission's charge. Walker said that this would lead into the next agenda item. Buck said it would be helpful to see examples of integration to make it seem more realistic. Graham will share the document reviewed by the Chairs to Commission at the May meeting.
6.7. CPC Interaction (1:25:47)
Walker has spoken with the Chair of CPC to figure out how to work together and integrate CEAP across all commissions in the future. CCOC has planned projects linked to CEAP and economic resilience and diversity that were previously voted. There was a strong mitigation focus on CPC and CCOC's projects focus on water conservation, climate resilience, single use consumption.
Walker emphasized that a coordinated approach with CPC would be beneficial especially on their phase out of natural gas. This approach should focus on how each Commission's charge can benefit the other. Working on the coordinated campaign and interaction with CPC are the two most important items to work on now. Walker mentioned the upcoming item to review the urban, land use, and transportation plan from CPC to see what outreach role there might be and its impacts.
McGinnis suggested a work plan with outreach milestones and policy development be used to help interact with the public. Graham said that was a possibility, but it would need to be determined how it would be presented to Council.
7. Wrap Up
7.1. Items to be added to future agendas (1:38:33)
Koopman asked to add Solar Cooperative Presentation to a future meeting. Chair Walker adjourned the meeting at 4:44 p.m.