Our new Compliance Officer, Lisa Evans, will start her new position on March 20, 2023. Currently, Aaron Anderson is addressing code compliance issues that relate to public health and safety as a priority. Our new Climate Analyst, Chad Woodward, started his new position the first week of March 2023.
The monitoring of the plastic bag ban has historically been a function of the Conservation Division and the Climate Analyst position. If a business was in violation, the Climate Analyst would contact the business and seek compliance. If after verbal, written request, and repeated written warnings, a business willfully remained out of compliance then the Legal Department could direct our Code Compliance officer to issue a citation of the Ashland Municipal Code.
Both projects are part of an ODOT project for compliance to install updated curb access ramps within ODOT’s jurisdiction. Read more. The contractor is Granite Construction. The work is slated for completion in June. Church St will not have a signal, just the ramps.
Snowplowing is done according to pre-established priority routes. For example, routes to the Ashland Hospital and major arterials will take precedence over collector streets and neighborhoods. (The more traveled roads are the highest priority, followed by less traveled neighborhood street.) View the Snowplow Route Map.
Chemical HazMat railway loads do not travel south of Phoenix, thus do not come through Ashland. However, any train derailment could be disruptive and impact the environment and the community.
If a derailment were to take place in Ashland, our immediate response would be initial assessment by Ashland firefighters, notification (and possible response) of the local HazMat Team (located in Medford, and run by Medford Fire Department), response by ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) and the railroad corporation, CORP (Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad). Other actions would include assessment of weather (where is the wind going to carry fumes/smoke, and who, if anyone should evacuate?) and waterways (if spilling in the water, where will it go and how can we minimize the downstream damage?), DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) and OERS (Oregon Emergency Response System) would also be contacted in the event of a spill over 50 gallons, and would provide more response guidance and be useful in coordinating more resources in the event of a large spill.
What are actions to take to lower the risk? It is important to make sure our railway crossings in our area are well marked and signaled. And that we continue the good work being done by the Ashland Fire Department to enforce weed-abatement along the railroad right-of-way (CORP now comes through annually to clear and reduce vegetation along the tracks).
Council seats are intentionally numbered and staggered so new councilors join at different times. The staggering is to avoid having an elected body comprised of all new councilors. It is beneficial to have seasoned councilors in place who are up to date on complex City issues. Recently, the City received 19 applications for the vacant seats for Position No. 2 and Position No. 3. The applicants were asked to choose between which seats they wished to be considered for: Position No. 2, Position No. 3 or both. Sixteen of the 19 applicants chose, “both,” while two chose, “Position No. 2” and one applicant chose, “Position No. 3.” Both appointed seats will be up for election at the next possible election, which is November 2024. In keeping with the staggered positions, Position No. 2 will be for a two-year term, while Position No. 3 will be for a four-year term.
Oregon State Law and the Ashland Municipal Code both specify that 72-hours notice be given to those camping in public spaces before relocating/removing campers
As a practice, APD (Ashland Police Department) enforces state law and camping ordinances when complaints are made, or a situation becomes unmanageable
Some of the individuals engaging in the current camping protest have participated in previous advocacy actions similar in nature to their current camping in public ROW or parks. Their request appears to be that they want to occupy public right of ways for their personal use without interruption
APD has been posting the camp sites for 72-hour removal and the occupants have abided by this, moving locations every two to three days
Most participants in the protest have been offered housing and have declined services, citing instead their belief that they have a right to exclusively occupy public spaces
APD does not believe those currently camping in public spaces pose a public safety issue and will continue posting for 72-hour removal and monitoring the camp sites
The City provides an Emergency Warming shelter as needed for those without permanent housing
A shelter was authorized last week and another shelter has been authorized this week through the morning of Friday, February 24
The shelters are available for anyone to use
In December 2022, Council authorized a budget amendment of $100,000 for the severe weather shelter services, for the remaining winter months, January through March
From the City home page, ashland.or.us, click to Subscribe for daily City updates. Subscribers can tailor the information they would like to receive from City; for example, City News, Agendas & Minutes, Calendar and more.
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The City is currently looking into a new feature on the website that will allow citizens to report issues online and see what others in the community have reported on. In the interim, feel free to submit questions with the online curiosity form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first 100K collected in Marijuana Tax is dedicated to the Affordable Housing Trust and is offered through a Request for Proposals process every other year. Learn more about the City's Affordable Trust Fund.
Since 2015, when the City Council approved the transfer of The Grove to the sites and facilities inventory of APRC, rent has not been paid. APRC paid rent to the City when the building was managed by the City’s facility management division, which then had responsibility for upkeep and utilities. Once the transfer to APRC took place, the City no longer had the responsibility for the building and those expenses were taken on by APRC. Just as with all of APRC’s other sites and facilities, APRC’s budget is responsible for all expenses, including upkeep and utilities.
APRC does not pay the City to rent the Grove since it is part of our sites and facilities inventory.
The City of Ashland has a biennium budget. The City of Ashland’s municipal budget is the projected financial operating plan for a two-year period. The City’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The budget accounts for expected revenues and allocates resources to particular expenditures. Revenues are projected into the future based on historical revenues and current or projected impacts, such as a pandemic, that are estimated to potentially affect those projections. The same is done for expenditures. Expenditure allocations are based on historical needs but also current and projected impacts, such as high inflation, that may impact needed funds. Oregon State Budget law requires the budget to be balanced. This means that the City’s revenues must be equal or greater than total expenses. The budget is often referred to as a living thing or document as supplemental budgets occur regularly as events unfold during the biennium to align with unforeseen circumstances or changes that were not known when the original budget estimations and planning occurred. The supplemental budgets realign allocated funds to appropriate departments or programs as needed to ensure needed expenditures can occur.
The City of Ashland produces an annual comprehensive financial report, which includes a municipal audit done by an independent audit firm comprised of certified public accountants. Oregon State Law requires local government file annual financial reports and due to the size of our City, the City of Ashland is required to be audited annually. The annual comprehensive financial report is a report of actual revenues collected and expenditures and, unlike the budget, which are estimates and projections, the audit reviews how much revenue was actually collected and how funds were actually spent as well as the condition of the City’s assets. The audit is not of the City budget. The audit is conducted by reviewing actual revenue and expenditure financial statements that provide an overview of how all financial activity. The audit also reviews internal controls to ensure the proper fiduciary care is taken to deter errors or fraud from occurring. The audit also provides a comprehensive look at the City’s assets and liabilities to provide insight to the City’s current financial position in the Management Discussion and Analysis section of the annual comprehensive financial report.
Budget = estimate of needed $
Audit = review of how $ was actually spent
In the case of the Grand Terrace project, the entirety of the proposed development is a rental apartment complex. No units are to be bought and sold individually, they are not condos or townhomes. It is designed as ten, 23-unit apartment complexes, totaling 230 units. As such the requisite affordable units are to also be rental housing units that are the exact same size as the market rate rental units, and these affordable units will remain affordable for 30 or more years.
In other projects recently approved such as the 43-unit Beach Creak Subdivision, eight of the units in that development are being developed by Habitat for Humanity and are to be affordable ownership housing. Four of those new affordable units will include the land and are not part of a land trust model.
The reason many regulated affordable units in Ashland are part of an affordable housing land trust is that such land trusts are specifically designed to provide affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. To achieve this goal, the land trust owns the land under the housing units and partners with affordable housing developers to build the units, which help subsidize the cost of the housing development. By keeping the housing units affordable by removing the substantial cost of the land from the equation, the land trust can help to reduce the burden on low-income households and provide a more stable and secure housing environment for those in need.
The City of Ashland is interested in reopening City Hall to the public and is on working to develop a Facility Plan. One key issue in the planning process will look at how to use City Hall for office space that includes public access. When complete, the Facility Plan will go to City Council for review and implementation approval.
The Audit Commission, and various City Council advisory bodies, were restructured by the City Manager and approved by the City Council at the October 18, 2022, Council Business meeting. The Audit Commission was eliminated in the restructure. Learn more
The policy for surplus vehicles states that if a vehicle is valued at less than a $10,000, the City Finance Director and City Manager can approve the donation or sale to another government agency or nonprofit organization. If the value is over $10,000, council approval is required. If a local agency is not identified as benefiting from the donation or sale of a decommissioned vehicle, agencies outside of the area are considered.
If a public body, its officers, agencies, departments, divisions, bureaus, boards or commissions are using social media or their personal phones and computers to conduct business (not limited to informing citizens, initiating or seeking opinions, interacting with citizens or other public officials, etc.), then they are subject to Oregon public records laws and such interactions could also implicate public meetings law.
The original intent for The Grove was to serve as a Youth Recreation Center that would be managed by Community Works, a Medford social service agency. The Youth Rec Center was the vision of the late Steve Groveman, an administrator for Community Works who garnered community support for a teen center in Ashland.
In the late 90s, the City offered land for the future youth rec center. This donation assisted in making the low-income teen center viable. Funding for the actual building came from a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) award from the City of Ashland’s HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) funds and private donors. The final construction cost for the building was nearly $900,000, and in March 2000, the 8,000 square foot center was completed.
A requirement of the HUD funding to build and support The Grove, was for Community Works to meet the low-income beneficiary HUD requirements. Sadly, Groveman passed in 1999, and Community Works struggled to attract youth to the center. This combined with budget cuts and a sluggish economy eventually led Community Works to expand the use of the building to activities beyond youth recreation in an effort to offset operational costs for the building.In late 2003, Community Works closed the doors on The Grove and the ownership of the building reverted to the City. HUD then required the City to pay back the CDBG contribution for the building. Once this happened there were no requirements on the use of the building.
The initial CDBG funds granted to Community Works to build The Grove totaled $249,850. In early 2004 the City was able to get credit from HUD for the time that the building was used in accordance with the HUD guidelines as a low-income youth recreation center, and consequently the amount required to pay back had deflated to $214,887. The repaid funds were credited to the City’s HUD line of credit, which were then reused for another CDBG eligible project. Ultimately these funds were used to purchase land for six affordable housing units.
The Grove is located at 1195 E Main St in Ashland.
More information on The Grove…
The Grove is currently used as a Recreation Facility for all ages. Many programs are operated out of the building including Ballroom Dance, Community Folk Dancing, Tai Chi, Line Dancing, Tap Classes, Garden Club meetings, Dog Training classes, AARP Tax Aide, and more to come since folks are feeling more comfortable returning to the inside.
The building also is home to operation “bike program,” refurbishing bikes to be used for the bicycle safety education program in the schools as well as donation of bikes to community members in need. It is also the location for the annual Rogue Valley Bike Swap.
The Grove front office is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; however, the building is used seven (7) days a week for programs. The Recreation Division staff also have office space at The Grove. The Division houses the Volunteer Program, operates the Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink, North Mountain Park Nature Center, Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool and various other general recreation programming opened up to the entire community. Staff and local community meetings often take place at The Grove.
The OHRA (Options for Helping Residents of Ashland) shower trailer is temporarily housed behind the Grove on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m until their permanent home at OHRA facility on Washington St is ready.
In the event of a disaster, The Grove will be used as an Emergency Operations Command Center.
Ashland’s primary water source is Reeder Reservoir, located in the mountains above Lithia Park.Reeder Reservoir receives its water from the Ashland watershed which begin at the peaks of Mt Ashland and Wagner Butte and flow into the East and West Forks of Ashland creek before entering the reservoir.
In addition to Ashland’s primary water source, the City has two secondary supplies. These include supply from the Talent Irrigation District (TID) delivered through their canal system to the City that can be treated at the water treatment plant, and delivery of treated water from the Medford Water Commission through the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix (TAP) intertie.
The inspection process for fire hydrants is ongoing and rotates between four (4) zones in the City. Crews focus on one (1) zone at a time to ensure that all hydrants are functioning properly. (All hydrants are inspected at least once during a one-year period.) Hydrants are also reviewed when a request is made for a flow test for a new project, such as a new home.
The City would use a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) as a tool of last resort, only after consultation with Ashland Fire & Rescue and local weather forecasters. The likelihood that a PSPS would be required is minimal.
The Electric Utility completed, and City Council adopted, a Wildfire Mitigation Plan in 2022.The plan emphasizes many of the things the City is already doing to reduce wildfire risk and makes some suggestions for things the City can do to be better prepared.
The Climate Energy Action Plan (CEAP) and water conservation are supported by two (2) City Climate Commissions, the Climate Policy Commission and the Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission. This is in addition to a growing number of residents who volunteer their time to educate other community members on the benefits of water conservation and climate adaptation improvements. The Ashland Climate Collaborative is continuously working to message the community on these subjects. For more information visit AshlandClimate.org.
The Intergovernmental Agreement with the Medford Water Commission for water conservation services is working well and the City does not expect to make any changes in the future.
Currently, the City has a staff position that is functioning parttime, working on the CEAP. This position will be posted as a fulltime position by the end of 2022/first part of 2023.
The Siskiyou Fire in 2009 was investigated by ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry). They can be reached at Oregon.gov/ODF for more information. The Almeda Fire investigation remains open and ongoing with detectives from APD (Ashland Police Department) and JCSO (Jackson County Sheriff’s Office) following new leads, exhausting old ones and remaining dedicated to solving the case – Learn more.
The Ashland Japanese Garden design includes a tea house; however, the funding for a tea house is not in place for Phase I, which will be complete in October 2022. An Opening Celebration of the Ashland Japanese Garden will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Stay abreast and find more information at AshlandJapaneseGarden.org.
A: The current Look Ahead can be found under Council Business, ashland.or.us/CouncilBusiness, or by viewing the City Council page and clicking on Council Business. From here you may view the following:
Due to the drought, limited TID (Talent Irrigation District) water and budget restraints, it has been necessary to reduce irrigation in many City Parks, and that includes the Oak Knoll Golf Course. The reduction in TID water has had the biggest impact on the Oak Knoll Golf Course. For more information on Irrigation during a Drought, please visit ashland.or.us/irrigation-drought-aprc.
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