Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes October 27, 2016
Chair Boettiger called the meeting to order at 4:30 pm in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development and Engineering Offices located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland OR 97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Gina DuQuenne Pam Marsh
Rich Rohde  
Joshua Boettiger SOU Liaison
Tom Gunderson Megan Mercier, absent
Sharon Harris  
Tom Buechele Staff Present:
Heidi Parker Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Michelle Linley  
Commissionrs Absent: Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Sue Crader  
Harris/Rohde m/s to approve the minutes of the September 22, 2016 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting.  Voice Vote: All Ayes, minutes were approved as presented.
No one was present to speak.
The Commissioners who attended the joint meeting gave an overview of what they took away from that meeting.  Commissioner Buechele remarked the meeting was very helpful acknowledging he especially like reviewing the report from Guy Tauer, the Regional Economist from the Employment Department.  Linley also said how much she learned from that report.  She appreciated the breakdown of the demographics in the Rogue Valley including the income levels in Ashland.  Rohde said the best thing the meeting accomplished was a good working relationship with the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission seemed very positive about the issues addressed by this Commission, i.e.; Tiny houses and Accessory Residential Units. 
City staff would like the Planning and HHS Commissions to select two representatives to serve on a public participation advisory group to advise on the development and implementation of a citizen engagement plan as part of the Comprehensive Plan Element update process.
City Senior Planner, Brandon Goldman, gave a background report on the Comprehensive Plan Element Update Housing Element.  Goldman explained the City is getting ready to update the Comprehensive Plan Housing element.  Both the HHS Commission and the Planning Commission will have an active role in making recommendations to the City Council.  Another component of that is Citizen Participation to engage everyone affected by housing to see what they think are the priority goals. An advisory group composed of both Commissions will help staff develop an engagement plan to take before the Planning Commission then start the process of the Citizen Engagement part, explained Goldman.  The Planning Commission has identified two members of that group and it was encouraged that this group choose two volunteers.
Goldman went on to explain what the Comprehensive Plan is.  The Comprehensive Planning is an attempt to establish guidelines for the future growth of a Community.  The document is official in nature meaning that it is designed to be adopted into law by some form of local government.  The document then serves as a policy guide to decisions about community development.
Throughout the entire Comprehensive Planning process, citizen input should be obtained, stated Goldman.  Some suggested ways of doing this were;
  • Hold a series of open forums or meetings
  • Distribute news releases explaining what is being worked on and inviting written comments.
  • Public adoption process citizen input helps to determine the goals and objective of the plan.
    After a discussion Commissioners Harris and Linley volunteered to be on the advisory committee.
    Councilor Marsh explained that she is concerned the Council is lacking an understanding of what various funding levels for the Housing Trust Fund could produce.  Marsh expressed the importance of making extremely tangible recommendations to the Council.  Marsh proposed the question, What are the various levels of funding and how would we use those to produce housing? It’s important to show the Council what they could actually attain.  One concern is that when affordable housing is offered how can it be reassured it will remain affordable.  Marijuana and potentially the excise tax are two opportunities for funding.  Marsh explained this Commission’s job is to give a clear blue print of what they can accomplish.  It was suggested to engage some housing developers and see what would attract them to Ashland. 
    Commissioners Buechele, Gunderson and Rohde agreed to be part of a subcommittee to put together a menu of funding levels and projects.  The subcommittee will work with Reid. 
    Evan Lasley, Regional organizer for the Oregon AFL-CIO and prior Housing Commission liaison spoke.  Mr. Lasley shared he was here today to talk about the campaign to establish the ninety day notice for no cause evictions for rent increases.  As the housing rental crisis worsens it affects everyone from workers to lower income workers, stated Lasley.  Families are on the edge of homelessness due to the cost of housing which is pricing them out of their community.  This is not a problem specific to Ashland but a state wide crisis, said Lasley.
    It was inquired as to why landlords might give a no cause eviction to their tenants.  Linley commented in her experience a history of bad behavior can often be the reason a landlord wants to evict especially if they are disrupting the peaceful enjoyment of the other residences. Parker mentioned she had been a mediator for landlord tenant disputes in the courts.   She explained there is a legal mechanism that can be used.  If a tenant is misbehaving for any reason a landlord can file an eviction for cause.  If the tenant disputes the right of the landlord to evict them it goes to mediation.  The mediator sits with the tenant and landlord and develops very specific language on how the tenant has to behave.  The document is totally and legally enforceable.  It is clearly written and a judge must sign it.  Some of the commissioners stated that though this process is well intention, it does not always work as designed.
    In conclusion Lasley would like to move the notification from thirty days to ninety days for the vast majority facing the situation when it occurs through no fault of their own.  Lasley distributed an ordinance adopted by the City of Milwaukee relating to renters protection.  See exhibit A at end of minutes.  For working families this is the compassionate thing to do, said Lasley. 
    The commissioners agreed to support this as a direction and leave the development of it to those who are currently working on it. 
    Rohde/Buechele m/s that the Housing Commission supports the development of a ninety day notice to address the critical rental issues we have in Ashland.  Voice Vote:  All ayes, motion passed. 
    Porta Potty Sub-committee update – DeQuenne and Harris met with Jason from the Parks and Recreation Department and spoke with Mike Morrison on the phone regarding the placement of the porta potty. They will be meeting with Mr. Morrison tomorrow at 1:00 pm to discuss some possible sites.  Possible locations are Ace Hardware or the railroad park at the north end of town and Bimart/Shop-N-Kart at the south end.  Harris said they need to do the ground work and come up with possible sites before presenting to the Council. Funding also needs to be addressed. 
    Reid reminded the Commission that Mr. Morris does not have the authority to authorize the funding for the porta potties.  She encouraged the Commission to seek direction from the Council before moving forward, put together proposal to bring before the council. 
    Quorum Check – Everyone should be present
    Next Housing Commission Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; October 17, 2016 in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way.
    The meeting was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.
    Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener



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