MINUTES FOR THE CONSERVATION AND CLIMATE OUTREACH COMMISSION
Wednesday, July 28, 2021; Held Electronically
1. Call to Order (item starts at approximately 00:09 on the meeting video)
Chair Marni Koopman called the meeting to order at 3 p.m. Commissioners Risa Buck, Larry Cooper, Jamie Rosenthal, and Bryan Sohl were present along with staff liaison Stu Green. Commissioners James McGinnis, Becs Walker, and Council liaison Tonya Graham were absent.
2. Consent Agenda
2.1. June 23, 2021 Meeting Minutes (3:35)
Buck/Rosenthal moved/seconded to approve the minutes. Further discussion: none. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, Rosenthal, and Sohl. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
3.1. Next Regular Meeting: August 25, 2021 (4:00)
Koopman announced the next meeting would be online. Sohl will be absent, and Cooper might be absent. Sohl requested to discuss rescheduling the November and December meetings. Present Commissioners were in favor of moving both meetings up by one week. An official vote will be taken at the next meeting to include the absent members.
3.2. Other Announcements from Commissioners (5:59)
Sohl announced that he and Koopman have been working with the Ashland Solar Cooperative, but there is also a different group called Solarize Ashland. The City had a campaign to electrify Ashland. Now a non-profit separate from the City called Electrify Ashland has been created to help encourage residential electrification. There was concern that this could confuse residents.
Koopman announced that Anya Moore applied to the Commission and Koopman submitted a letter to the Mayor supporting her application. Koopman also asked the Mayor to help initiate the change needed to allow for members under 18 to be voting.
3.3. Reports from Members of Other Commissions
4. Public Forum
5.1. Council Update
5.2. Staff Update (14:31)
Green gave an update on the following items:
- The USDA on-bill financing loan was submitted. Both the Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission (CCOC) and the Climate Policy Commission (CPC) will be involved with the program set up if approved.
- Bridgette Bottinelli’s internship ended, and she will be going off to graduate school. Green was thankful for all of her work and help with outreach for the Climate and Energy Action Plan and conservation programs. Green was not able to get another RARE Intern.
- Induction cooktops are available to check out through the Jackson County Library of Things.
- All Conservation incentives are available on the new website.
- Green applied for a grant with Fourth Mobility to potentially host an electric vehicle (EV) share program to let residents test drive an EV.
- The Climate Policy Commission is working on some interesting long-term planning items including submitting feedback on the State’s Department of Land Conservation and Development regarding the climate-friendly communities rulemaking.
Cooper emphasized that the Commission could help Green with outreach. Green stated that the best way to help was to spread the word about the current incentive programs. Sohl asked if the e-bike incentives were still available and what the rules of the USDA loan since there was concern from Council regarding the loan. Green answered that the e-bike incentive has become permanent, and all local shops are participating. The USDA loan is a zero interest loan to the City that the City will use to loan out to utility customers with a small interest fee to cover operational costs. The USDA will have regulations that the City program will need to meet, but this will allow the City to give away more money. It was noted that the City applied and is still waiting to hear if they will be awarded the USDA loan.
5.3. SOU Update
5.4. Recology Update (31:20)
Rosenthal presented to Humboldt County Waste Authority on the low recycling contamination of Ashland which is around four to five percent. A Tidings article will be released on the presentation.
6.1. Annual Report to Council on August 17 (34:17)
The Commission reviewed last year’s presentation and created this year’s list with the following items:
- Conservation Corner monthly articles and increasing outreach channels beyond the Sneak Preview;
- Climate Resilient Ashland Coordinated Campaign;
- Waste Prevention Webinar and tackling single use waste by researching other communities actions;
- Coordination with CPC including a meet and greet;
- Distribution of outreach materials from CEAP intern Bottinelli who’s work was beneficial to the Conservation Program;
- Review of new CEAP website;
- 20’s plenty and transportation plan collaboration;
- Rogue to Go is now independently operated by a local non-profit;
- Changes incorporated from the COVID-19 pandemic to continue, such as increased pedestrian areas, more cyclists, virtual meetings, etc.; and
- The Ashland Solar Cooperative.
Koopman will review the minutes and reach out to Walker and McGinnis to see if additions need to be made. Buck/Rosenthal moved/seconded that the Commission vote on adopting the gist of listings we have discussed and that we feel comfortable Marni using her discretion as she gets additional possible input from James and Becs to be presented to Council for our annual report on August 17. Further discussion: none. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, Rosenthal, and Sohl. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously. Green will get the Recycling and Waste Webinar presentation for the annual report.
6.2. Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview (1:06:01)
Sohl suggested including solar water heating in addition to electric. Green stated that many installers or incentives do not usually involve switches to solar heating. Rosenthal wanted to emphasize how low income or marginalized residents can utilize a program to help get funding. Buck will emphasize that she did this as a landlord. Koopman wanted the natural gas drilling emissions included to show that natural gas pollutes more than coal. Green suggested removing the chart, but keeping the website link. Cooper/Rosenthal moved/seconded that we approve the article as commented on and that we’ll presume that those are the changes that will be made as we’ve discussed them and reviewed it. Further discussion: none. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, Rosenthal, and Sohl. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
Buck asked for another member to be responsible for organizing the articles and Rosenthal volunteered. Rosenthal asked for the recycling article to be published in December since the Tidings will be doing a recycling article soon. Sohl will write an article on the solar cooperative for November with Koopman. Cooper will write and Sohl will review an article on water for publication in October. Buck suggested to include a reminder about the Recology leaf drop off days to help keep the storm drains clear of leaves.
6.3. Update on Different Channels for Articles and Future Outreach (1:27:00)
Buck wanted Jim Hartman from the Ashland Solar Cooperative next month.
6.4. CEAP Project Update
- Responsible Consumption and Single Use (1:28:08)
Rosenthal said there will be a Sneak Preview ad prompting readers to circle all items that are recyclable. The trick is there is no recyclable materials on the ad and most are single use.
- Climate Resilience (1:29:54)
Koopman and Sohl have still been working with the Ashland Solar Cooperative. Sohl stated that Lorrie Kaplan of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN) is trying to create an Ashland Climate Resilient group with participants of CCOC, CPC, and the Transportation Commission.
- Water Use and Conservation (1:33:09)
Cooper gets updates from the Public Works Director on water updates and presented the Water Usage Dashboard. Mandatory curtailment is not expected unless there is an unusually warm August and September. The City received State funding for updating the TAP with regional partners to purchase and install backup systems for the pumps.
6.5. Outreach on CEAP & Conservation Programs (requested by Cooper)
6.6. Nuclear Energy Presentation Discussion (requested by Sohl) (1:38:38)
Sohl stated that there is a local group trying to help move nuclear energy sources forward and wants to present to the Commission. Buck was concerned with mitigating nuclear waste. With present members interested in a 15 minute presentation, Sohl will invite the group to the September meeting.
6.7. Climate Resilient Ashland (1:46:25)
SOCAN asked for CCOC to officially join the Ashland Climate Coalition. Buck/Sohl moved/seconded that the CCOC join the Ashland Climate Coalition with representatives from our Commission in the form of our chair or vice chair. Further discussion: none. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, Rosenthal, and Sohl. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
7. Wrap Up (1:53:15)
7.1. Items to be added to future agendas
- Solar Cooperative Presentation (August)
- Nuclear Energy Presentation (September)
Sohl mentioned the current vacancies and recruitment. The Ashland School District position is still vacant due to the District’s lack of staff. Anya Moore a high school student has applied for the Commission and Koopman followed up with an email to the Mayor. Buck will try to reach out to Kate Kennedy who might be interested in joining. Koopman wanted to see more diversity in age, gender, and race on the appointments. This discussion will be continued at the next meeting.
Chair Koopman adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.