ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
June 26, 2002
CALL TO ORDER - Chairperson Susan Reid called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Council Chambers. In addition to Reid, members present included Joanne Krippaehne, Darcy Davis, Mort Smith, Russ Chapman and Paige Prewett. Staff present was Sonja Akerman. Green Business Coordinator Ross Finney was also in attendance. Members unable to attend the meeting were Jim Hartman, Bruce Moats and Charles Bennett.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Reid stated that on page 2 of the May 22, 2002 minutes under Commission Items Not on Agenda, Northwest Energy Coalition is trying to evaluate (not coordinate) demonstration projects in the northwest. Krippaehne stated she would like the wording slightly changed regarding her work with the Building Appeals Board on recycling plans for demolition permits. The first sentence in that paragraph will be changed to "Krippaehne stated she had been attending meetings of and working with the Building Appeals Board while it has been considering recycling plans for demotion permits." Also, the 9th sentence in that paragraph will be amended to include "and she will be working with the Board on this issue." Krippaehne then moved and Chapman seconded to accept the minutes of the May 22, 2002 meeting as corrected. (The April 24, 2002 minutes will be approved at the July 24 meeting.)
PUBLIC FORUM - There was no one present who wished to speak.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE - Chapman stated the only update he had was that discount day was held at the transfer station on June 15. He didn't have the figures on the number of people nor the donation to the food bank but will bring them to the July meeting.
At the request of Reid, Chapman updated the Commission on how close we are to having commingling of curbside recyclables. He reported the issue started out as having recyclable materials separated on the routes. Because there are so many commodities involved and the trucks keep getting longer and longer with drivers having to sort everything, it has reached a point of being inefficient. Therefore, the industry is now going toward a commingled recycling system, where all fibers, plastics, aluminum and tin cans will be picked up - only motor oil will need to be kept out. He said there are three outfits in the Portland area that are now accepting commingled recycling. Portland still has some hand sorting, but hundreds of tons can move through the huge automated systems as it is. Another issue has to do with the glass. Only one outfit near Portland takes the commingled materials with glass. Chapman further explained Ashland Sanitary will be giving out 65 gallon carts for commingled recycling once it starts. These will be picked up every other week. The opposite weeks will have the green waste pick up. At this point, Chapman said a decision on how the program will be run has not been made. Reid asked if glass and cardboard had value in the market and Chapman responded that the cardboard market is largely dependent on China, and right now, China is in the market for cardboard. Davis asked if materials like cereal boxes would be accepted again and Chapman replied it is his understanding that all fiber, all plastics, phone books and magazines will be accepted. He reminded the Commission that at this time, everything is still speculation. Chapman assured the members that prior to making a final decision, this will all come before the Conservation Commission. Finney added that in speaking with Don Cordell from Rogue Disposal & Recycling, he was told that it would be between 12-18 months before all of Medford would be on a curbside commingled program. Chapman added that theoretically, it would be possible for Ashland Sanitary to buy enough 40-yarders to store the recyclable materials in order to fill a trailer, then ship it up north independently, but again stressed nothing has been decided for sure yet. He did note, however, that one decision that has been made deals with the fact that it is not ergonomically correct to have the employees in the field bending over and picking up the recycle tubs so that will be changed for certain.
Smith asked about recycling fluorescent bulbs. Chapman informed him that Ashland Sanitary will take two per residence and four per commercial dumpster. After that, the fee is 30 cents per foot. There is an outfit that picks them up from the transfer station and has the means to dispose of them and capture the mercury. Smith said he had spoken with State Representative Alan Bates a couple months ago who indicated there might be something coming up in the state legislature regarding elimination of the cost. He noted it should be important to the state to have the source of mercury that would otherwise contaminate the soil and water. Reid stated that the Oregon Environmental Council is pushing this also and Governor Kitzhaber has signed a bill concerning mercury. There is a drive to get mercury out of the waystream, but there is a cost. Reid forewarned the members, however, that although legislation has been passed for various environmental issues, they are not necessarily being funded.
SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT: Krippaehne reported the marketing subcommittee met and discussed the Green Business Program (Ross Finney will be reporting on this) and recycling tips for the Tidings. She noted Chapman had volunteered to take the tips idea to Marketing Director Ann Seltzer, who coordinates all City related articles, ads, etc. Krippaehne said she would like to see the recycling tips go in on a weekly basis (the Tidings had agreed to provide free space for this) but indicated it will be necessary to get clarification if this is still a possibility. Reid suggested taking a list of tips (with the sources cited) to Seltzer so she can coordinate them and move ahead. Krippaehne will write a memo outlining the Commission's goal with this, circulate it to all members for review, then get it to Seltzer, who will be asked to either attend a Conservation Commission meeting or meet with a subcommittee member and Reid.
Krippaehne also reported the subcommittee had talked about the Adopt-A-Street Program. She said the members decided to defer pushing the program at this time until more staff support can be acquired. When she talked to Wanderscheid about this, he indicated he intends to bring the program under the Conservation Department, but there has been no decision made yet. This will be discussed in more detail when the time comes closer to hiring another person in the Conservation Department. Then Energy Analyst Cathy Cartmill and Water Analyst Robbin Pearce will be asked to attend a subcommittee meeting to brainstorm what the members would like to see as far as responsibilities are concerned to improve the level of attention would be given to coordinate Adopt-A-Street.
Green Business - Finney reported recruiting new business into the Green Business Program was his primary focus this past month. He contacted businesses, received some responses, went on to other leads and has ended up happy with the diverse group that has expressed interest in participating. Finney passed around New Business Recruit Profiles for Golden-Fields Construction, ProTool, Kinesis, Pangea and Ashland Springs Hotel. Also included on this sheet were development recommendations to move the program forward. Krippaehne asked what the next step would be for the five businesses and Finney replied all now have guidelines, which are self-assessment driven. Most still need to schedule audits with the City. He also informed the Commission the City has a new program that it subsidizes for engineering audits - the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP). Finney also passed around a draft partnership agreement that includes a section of understanding the goals, a section on what the program agrees to do for the business and one on what the business agrees to do to be part of the program. Krippaehne related that although not a private enterprise, it would be worthwhile to check out Ashland Community Hospital because such entities are being driven to reduce resource consumption already. Finney said that thus far, only for-profit commercial businesses have been focused upon. After discussing this with the Commission, Finney stated that after the new position in the Conservation Department is filled, more time should be available for one of the three analysts to devote to the Green Business Program. Cross benefits can also be looked at through businesses that have already taken advantage of energy programs the City has offered.
Sustainable Housing/Earth Advantage - Reid reported that the City now has a much better offer from Portland General Electric (PGE) to purchase the Earth Advantage Program. The first offer was based on a $48,000 fee for the City to buy in and the new one will cost $19,200. Wanderscheid has indicated, however, that there are still a few questions that need to be answered by PGE before the City makes a commitment. Once the questions are answered and the contract is signed, the City can start implementing the program and customize it accordingly. Reid stated this issue will best be represented by Wanderscheid at the next meeting. In addition, she related she is hoping the Council will also see the need to buy in to this program since Sustainable Housing has been one of its goals for the past several years.
Addition of Youth Liaison Member - Reid reported the City Council is currently holding off on this because it hasn't been decided whether the youths should be voting or non-voting members. If it were decided they should be voting members, it would be necessary to change several ordinances and resolutions.
Northwest Climate Response- Reid stated Northwest Climate Response is still under reorganization and noted that KC Golden (brother of Ashland's Jeff) is the temporary director.
Conservation Commission Display - Since Bennett was not in attendance, this was delayed until next month.
Budget - The current balance is $343.05. Because there is still money that can be spent prior to July 1, the Commission conferred with Finney about talking to Ashland Community Hospital about the Green Business Program. Other recruiting possibilities include Southern Oregon University, Mountain Meadows, Bloomsbury Books, Plaza Inn & Suites, Ashland Sanitary & Recycling and Darex. Smith moved and Krippaehne seconded to authorize Finney to spend not more than four hours on recruiting efforts before the end of the fiscal year. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
COMMISSION ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA:
Smith commended the City Conservation Department and Chamber of Commerce for the production and distribution of the Earth Smart Money Wise Guide, noting it is a marvelous booklet.
Krippaehne mentioned she found some information on wave power and gave what she printed to Reid. This was briefly discussed last month.
There were 15 people who attended the June 8 compost class.
Reid noted the next meeting will be on July 24, 2002.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.