Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Monday, May 24, 2004

City of Ashland

City of Ashland





Present: Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Gies; City Council Liaison Hartzell

Absent: Chair Gardiner


Vice-Chair Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.


Regular Meeting – April 26 Under Sub-Committee and Staff Reports item "Quarterly Project Update," Vice-Chair Eggers asked that the second sentence start with the word "Projects" instead of "Quarterly projects." Under Items from Commissioners, in which it was written that "Vice-Chair Eggers asked Staff to discourage Lithia Park patrons from parking on lawns [during Fourth of July activities]), she asked that the statement be clarified to indicate her concern about concession stand workers parking in the vegetation.

MOTION Commissioner Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Commissioner Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no


Open Forum

Phil Selby, Idaho Street, voiced concerns about several unresolved matters he brought to Staff’s attention over a period of months, including lack of follow-up on: the subcommittee study session regarding cross country running in Lithia Park; a March 17 email concerning a Lithia Park cleanup with the aid of Stop Oregon Littering and Vandalism (SOLV); a question about the reinstallation of the plaque on the "McDonald boys" bridge; and when Lithia Park picnic tables would be repaired. Director Robertson assured Mr. Selby that he would call him the following day to discuss the issues.





Director Robertson referenced the packet memo regarding the plan for the Meadowbrook Park II Development. The park is located on the north side of Bear Creek, where Nevada Street crosses Bear Creek, to the north of Mountain Avenue. This project is the first phase in the fulfillment of the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan, which was adopted on March 18, 1997. The park will offer open space, protect stream resources, and add park lands to the community.

John McLaughlin, Planning Director for the City of Ashland, spoke about the history of the project, stating that the subdivision’s property owners offered to dedicate a portion of the land to the City for parkland development. The land is in the floodplain corridor and not developable. The developers received approval from the City for the overall development plan; however, one of the conditions for approval was the development of open space and Greenway space. Mr. McLaughlin asked the Commission to provide direction to the developers in their efforts with the park area.

Don Grove (Meadowbrook Park Developer), Kevin Nearing (Associate), and Bob Foster (Landscape Architect) made a presentation to the Commission, referencing posted maps. The 2-acre park would be closely accessible to the Mountain Meadows subdivision and other N. Mountain Park neighborhoods. It would include wetlands, islands under tree groups, and a grassy area on which people could actively recreate. Developers would install an irrigation system with soil sensors and a weather station to monitor rainfall so as not to over-irrigate. Subdivision homeowners would be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the park. Mr. Grove asked the Commission for approval to proceed with the development of the park.

Public Comment

Paul Kay, 1234 Strawberry Lane, asked that the proposal be placed before the Bear Creek Watershed Council for evaluation, since the project could environmentally impact Bear Creek, especially in terms of fish and wildlife. Mr. Kay is a member of that council, and he stated that its purpose is to protect, enhance, and restore the watershed. He asked that public benefits be derived from the private development. Finally, he asked the Parks Commission and Staff to do a financial projection on the lifetime cost of the park’s maintenance.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed a number of issues about the park. Commissioners Rosenthal and Lewis asked questions about maintenance responsibilities, and Director Robertson clarified that Staff and the Commission would want the homeowner’s association to maintain the area between the lawn area and the wetlands. Vice-Chair Eggers expressed concerns about the park, including: 1) riparian protection and reparation; 2) a desire to see sensitive accesses to the creek; 3) building a neighborhood park with minimal play area; 4) avoiding the use of fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides in the maintenance of the grounds; and 5) a desire to see native plants installed that would require a minimal amount of water. She voiced her desire for the Parks Commission to aid in the creation of the park, since the land will be dedicated park property. City Council Liaison Hartzell outlined three main concerns, including: 1) ecosystem values around both the wetland and the creek; 2) economics associated with the maintenance of the park, including the dredging frequency and interval costs; and 3) social uses of the park, including the importance of providing play areas for children. Commissioners Rosenthal and Lewis expressed favor with the overall plan but asserted the need for more information before rendering a decision. Director Robertson asked the Commission to allow the developers to move forward with the wetland portion of the project.

MOTION Commissioner Lewis moved to accept the wetland portion of the conceptual park plan and to proceed with the other parts at a later time. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no


Director Robertson reported on the extensive discussion that took place at the May 17 Parks Commission study session regarding ducks and water quality in Lithia Park ponds. He stated that the source of the problem is an overpopulation of ducks in Lithia Park, which is due to overfeeding and a resulting disturbance in migratory patterns. At the May 17 meeting, various solutions were discussed, and the Commission considered asking park patrons to not feed the ducks so that they might seek food elsewhere.

Public Comment

Jim Young, 1102 Talent Avenue in Talent. As Chair of the Lithia Arts Guild, he stated that the guild is willing to collaborate with the Parks Commission in finding a solution to the Lithia Park ponds water quality problem. He suggested placing special "flow form" sculptures into the ponds to help purify the water, and stated that the guild would be interested in raising funds for that purpose.

Paul Kay, 1234 Strawberry Lane, spoke about the Lithia Park duck population in terms of pond water quality. He reported that he has worked for years to clean the water in the ponds and has observed that the duck crowding creates an overabundance of waste that smells unpleasant and dirties the water, and that the ducks ultimately treat each other badly. He also emphasized the importance of the human/duck relationship.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Director Robertson reported on the various discussions Staff and vendors conducted about solutions for the water quality problem. The Commission considered the possibility of posting signage educating the public about the hazards of feeding ducks, then removing the duck feeders from the ponds and subsequently assessing the success or failure of the plan and adjusting it as necessary.

MOTION Commissioner Rosenthal moved to direct Staff to begin a phase-out of the duck pond feeders and to begin an educational program to inform the public about the plan for the water quality problem in Lithia Park ponds. Commissioner Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no


Director Robertson reported that 3AM Events LLC requested from the City the use of a quarry off Granite Street for the purpose of staging a mountain bike event on Saturday, August 21, 2004. The quarry lies on City-owned property and the City asked the Parks Commission to make any pertinent recommendations about the event.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Vice-Chair Eggers noted a number of concerns about the event, including protection of the existing erosion control measures and soil conditions in the area, and a desire for event organizers to assume responsibility for educating and directing their riders to use appropriate trails. Commissioner Rosenthal expressed his support of the event while City Council Liaison Hartzell voiced a question about parking and appropriate monitoring of the area for damage. Director Robertson volunteered to forward the Commissioners’ comments and concerns to the City Administrator’s office.


Trail Master Plan Committee Report

Commissioner Lewis reported on the May 20 Trail Master Plan Committee meeting, at which the group discussed the Public Trails Meeting set for June 7 at 6:30 PM at The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street. Committee members discussed organizational and logistical details around the event, including publicity, map preparation, breakout table topics, and staffing. Commissioner Lewis urged Commissioners to attend and support the meeting.

Forest Lands Committee Meeting Announcement

Vice-Chair Eggers announced a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, from 6-7:30 PM, at the Community Development Building, 51 Winburn Way, to discuss community alternatives to the Forest Service’s proposed action for fire hazard reduction in the Ashland Watershed. She encouraged anyone interested to attend.


    • City Council Liaison Hartzell asked Director Robertson for an update on plans for The Grove.
    • City Council Liaison Hartzell updated the Commission on the status of the Charter Review Committee.
    • Vice-Chair Eggers again expressed her desire to see the Briscoe School playground retained as a property within the Ashland parks system.
    • Commissioner Rosenthal suggested holding a study session in July in which Commissioners would walk through Lithia Park noting areas of interest or concern.


    • Public meeting of the Trail Master Plan Committee set for 6:30 PM June 7, 2004, The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street.
    • Study session set for 7:00 PM June 14, 2004, Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Discussion to include a continuation of the signs, memorials, and plaques review followed by an executive session relating to personnel matters.
    • Trail Master Plan Committee meeting set for 1:00 PM June 24, 2004, Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.
    • Regular meeting set for 7:00 PM June 28, 2004, Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Vice-Chair Eggers adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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