Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Monday, January 23, 2017

City of Ashland
January 23, 2017

Present:  Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Miller; Director Black; Superintendent Dials; Interim Superintendent McFarland; Executive Assistant Dyssegard; Assistant Manuel
Absent:  Commissioner Heller; City Council Liaison Mayor Stromberg
Chair Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
Regular Session—December 19, 2016
Motion: Landt moved to approve the December 19, 2016, Regular Meeting Minutes as amended:
Page 6 Paragraph One Original: “Landt suggested that rather than establishing market rates and increases based upon the Consumer Price Index, using an aggregate of local restaurant revenue data might reflect actual economic impacts on the ground. Once established, fees could be adjusted annually based on that assessment.”
Amended as: 
“Landt suggested that rather than establishing annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index, the Commissioners could use an aggregate of local increases (or decreases) based on an aggregate of local revenue as extracted from meals tax records."
Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was all yes


  • Open Forum
Rik Burns of 77 California Street #12 Ashland was called forward.
Burns presented a written request to consider the establishment of “Book Barns” in APRC Parks. He stated that neighborhood libraries throughout Ashland were maintained by community members and the system seemed to work well. Additional libraries throughout the parks system would provide a community service at no or low cost.
Burns noted that the book shelters could be constructed by local artists or volunteers as part of a competition. He outlined a program that would facilitate the construction and placement of the book barns, creating an avenue for creators of the shelters to receive recognition. The shelters themselves would house books that could be shared or swapped, available to all comers.
Gardiner suggested that Burns contact Director Black to discuss the matter further.
There were none.
Gardiner explained that each calendar year, new Parks Commission officers were chosen.  
Motion: Lewis moved to nominate Michael Gardiner as the 2017 Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Chair. Landt seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Motion: Miller moved to nominate Rick Landt as the 2017 Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Vice-Chair. Lewis seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Gardiner stated that he looked forward to working with the Commissioners and promoting APRC goals and objectives. Landt noted appreciation of the staff and the Commissioners, highlighting the work to be addressed.   
There was none.
  • 2017 Subcommittee Assignments (Action)
Gardiner reviewed the 2016 Subcommittee assignments and recommended that Commissioner Heller fill assignments formerly held by Commissioner Shaw [whose term expired December 31, 2016]. He suggested that Heller serve as the Public Arts Commission liaison from Parks, a role currently held by Commissioner Lewis. After some discussion, Gardiner proposed that Heller additionally serve on the Bee City USA Subcommittee. He noted that Heller would find the associations helpful in getting acquainted with the APRC organization.
Gardiner stated that the majority of Subcommittee assignments held by Commissioners Landt, Lewis, Miller and himself would most likely remain the same. In addition, he reviewed a discussion with Landt regarding the need for connectivity between the Real Estate Subcommittee and the Trail Master Plan Update Committee. He suggested that he, Gardiner, serve on the Real Estate Subcommittee as he was already slated for the Trail Master Plan Update Committee.
Landt noted discussion regarding combining the Trail Master Plan Update Committee with the Real Estate Subcommittee and/or creating an Open Space Acquisition Update Subcommittee. He expressed a concern about overlapping priorities.
There followed considerable discussion about the need for connectivity between the Real Estate Subcommittee, the Trail Master Plan Update Committee and a possible Open Space Acquisition Update Subcommittee. Landt commented that 2015-17 APRC goals called for an Open Space update and a Lithia Park Master Plan. Lewis emphasized three important categories: a Real Estate Acquisition Committee, a Trail Master Plan Update Committee and a Lithia Park Master Plan. He stated that all three were significant and he advocated for good communication between the groups, with more rather than two Commissioners participating. He relayed an interest in real estate acquisitions.
Black noted that APRC goals linked trails and open spaces together but when the actual Trail Master Plan Update Committee formed, it focused on trails only. He highlighted the need to integrate a focus on evaluating current open spaces and recommendations that would provide an updated Open Space Plan. Black stated that currently the Real Estate Subcommittee used the Open Space Plan as a guide; therefore, there was already considerable overlap.
Black stated that an Open Space Plan update would be intensive, requiring more attention than if combined with a trails update. He also expressed a concern about the timing if a separate subcommittee were organized for that purpose, noting the large projects already in place and the need for a public process for each topic.  
There followed further discussion about overlapping subcommittee priorities and processes and the importance of involvement by more than two Commissioners in the three critical areas. Possible solutions to conflicts and timing issues were considered. Black suggested that the Real Estate Subcommittee look at the process of updating the 2002 Open Space Plan to ascertain the structure and timing. He stated that because of the public process, the update would function more like a master plan and could require the assistance of a professional consultant.    
It was agreed that the Real Estate Subcommittee would look into preparing for an updated Open Space Plan process and how the process would go. A new ad hoc committee would be established for that purpose when appropriate. In the meantime, the title of the Real Estate Subcommittee was changed to “Real Estate / Open Space Subcommittee.” Gardiner indicated that while he would like to be on the Real Estate / Open Space Subcommittee, he was willing to shift positions if necessary when the new committee was created.
Gardiner summarized the changes beginning with Heller’s assignments to Bee City USA Subcommittee, the Public Arts Commission, the Sign, Plaques, & Memorials Subcommittee and the Dogs Subcommittee.   
Miller will serve on the Dogs Subcommittee, the Ashland Parks Foundation, Forest Lands Commission and the Lithia Park Master Plan Committee.
Lewis will work with the Golf Course Subcommittee, the Guidelines for Park Design and Maintenance Standards Subcommittee, the Signs, Plaques and Memorials Subcommittee, the Senior Center Subcommittee and the Trails Master Plan Update Committee.
Landt’s assignments will include the Guidelines for Park Design and Maintenance Standards Subcommittee, Lithia Park Master Plan Committee and the Real Estate / Open Space Subcommittee.    
Gardiner himself will represent the Golf Course Subcommittee, the Joint Powers Committee, the Real Estate / Open Space Subcommittee, the Senior Center Subcommittee and the Trail Master Plan Update Committee.  
  • Forest Lands Commission Update (Information)
McFarland introduced Frank Betlejewski, Chair of the Ashland Forest Lands Commission. He stated that Betlejewski would report on the proposed Ashland Pond and Ashland Creek Restoration project.
Betlejewski highlighted the 2016 Ashland Forest Lands Plan, stating that it had been approved by the City Council in May 2016. The plan document describes a revitalized riparian management system that is proposed for the Ashland Pond parcel – a unit of land in the Ashland Watershed. He noted that the area had the potential for fish habitat improvements that would include stream shading through plantings, repairing off-channel rearing habitat designed to attract the steelhead and Coho salmon, and improvements to stabilize stream banks. Plans also call for placing instream infrastructure and reconnecting Ashland Creek with its flood plain.
Betlejewski explained that one of the goals would provide a solution for directing the water flow during a high water event so that small off-channels were created. Controlling the water flow would prevent fish from washing into Ashland Pond, where they would become trapped. Re-contouring the site would also allow fish to get out of the higher flows. Boulders or wood strategically placed in the streambeds would strengthen the habitat.
Heavy equipment would be needed to re-contour the area. Care would be taken to minimize the movement of invasive species and excavate unwanted vegetation. Other possibilities for the site included multiple plantings and creating a Ponderosa Pine corridor that would assist wildfire management. There was also a potential for several Monarch butterfly way stations. 
Betlejewski stated that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had shown an interest in the project by providing assistance with funding, guidance through the permit process and obtainment of grants. The Forest Lands Commission would be asked to support the project as well and approve the proposal to treat the entire Ashland Pond site as one large project. Revitalization of the area would become a multi-year project with multiple facets. Once completed, community outreach would introduce riparian management.     
Betlejewski called for APRC support to pursue the project, highlighting the preliminary first steps to secure funding, apply for grants and other tasks that would move the project forward.  
Discussion among Commissioners
Lewis commented that a similar project had been proposed by Pubic Works several years prior. He stated that Public Works was looking at the potential for temperature reduction of wastewater effluent. Plans called to a side-channel to be used for that purpose. Infrastructure would include tree shading along Bear Creek as well as Ashland Creek.    
Lewis noted that the project was intended to address the temperature in a natural way and enhance riparian management in the area. Consideration was given to construct a fish ladder at the pond area so fish had a way to come and go.
Lewis recommended researching the project because of its many similarities and because the project had engaged the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lomakatsi and other significant players with vested interests.
Landt noted that in his memory of the project, APRC declined to approve the plan because re-contouring the upstream side of the pond would require a major reconstruction to accomplish what was needed. 
There followed further discussion regarding the Public Works project. Lewis commented that he remembered that DEQ was concerned about the project because the existing wetlands could not be incorporated into cooling ponds.

Black stated that Public Works approached APRC about acquiring some of the surrounding parkland. He indicated that to his knowledge, the project had not moved forward.   
Betlejewski reiterated his request for direction to proceed with the riparian restoration idea as proposed. 
Additional discussion focused on the purview of the Forest Lands Commission in riparian management. Betlejewski explained that a general approach to forest management included aquatic habitat, water quality, sedimentation and more. He stated that the Forest Lands Commission had created areas of riparian management along Bear Creek and Ashland Creek as well as at Ashland Pond. In each area, a preliminary plan was identified for specific improvements.
McFarland relayed the challenges involving high water events when stream and pond water combine. He stated that Ashland Creek was steeply channelized in the Ashland Pond area and fish were corralled in the ponds without an exit. In an effort to forestall that, sandbags were used to direct the stream away from the ponds.
McFarland noted that APRC has the water rights in that area. One suggestion for preventing fish from entering the ponds would be to place a screened underground pipe where the channeled waters tend to overflow. Landt suggested that other options be pursued as well, given that while the pipe might solve the problem in the short term, it could become problematic in the long term, requiring ongoing maintenance           
Lewis pointed to Ashland Creek Park where a portion was set aside as a riparian area. It was understood that side channels in the creek might be created during high water events.      
Betlejewski noted that planning for specific projects would be dependent upon funding. Black agreed, stating that support for the general idea was needed to facilitate planning. Once permission to move forward was received, ideas would be generated depending upon available funding and other elements.   
Black commented that the project should be taken into consideration when the new CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) was developed. If the project received funding, for example, in the form of a grant, then matching funds would need to be identified and built into the CIP and earmarked in the corresponding budget.    
Lewis suggested that more information be obtained about the similarities with the Public Works initiative. He stated that the extensive effort by Public Works had engaged the State in various capacities and there might be a potential for collaboration.    
  • Joint Commission/Council Meeting Discussion (Information)
Black proposed a joint meeting with the Ashland City Council, noting that updating the Council would be appropriate at this time. He explained that there had been progress toward an indoor community pool with support from the Ashland School District and others. In addition, once the development of the 2017-2019 biennial goals was complete, APRC could discuss the priorities with Council. Black noted that outlining the strategic plan would provide background for the APRC budget toward funding the plan.   
After a brief discussion, it was agreed that the Ashland City Council would be invited to participate in a joint session. March 20 or March 27, 2017 were identified as potential dates for the meeting.
  • Monthly Daily Tidings Article Assignments (Information)
Gardiner announced that APRC Director Black wrote and submitted the second article for APRC’s monthly Daily Tidings column entitled “Park Views.” The topic was Garfield Park improvements, currently underway.
It was agreed that Commissioner Miller would prepare the February article on the topic of the 2016 Forest Management Plan. Miller and Landt would team up for the March article about the Lithia Park Master Plan. Various topics of interest were identified for additional future articles.
  • State of the City
Black highlighted an invitation to a “State of the City” event to be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. He encouraged the Commissioners to attend. He noted that Nature Center volunteer Lyn Levin would be the recipient of the annual Ragland Award for exceptional volunteer service.   
  • Eclipse of the Sun
Landt noted that a total eclipse of the sun would occur on August 21, 2017, and best observed in northern Oregon. He asked the Commissioners to consider changing the date of the scheduled August 21 Study Session so Commissioners could view the event.  
  • Greenway Extension
Gardiner relayed that the Greenway Foundation Board would be focusing on extending the Greenway from Ashland’s Dog Park to North Mountain Park. He stated that he and Director Black were participating in the project, as the extension would be a valuable addition to the Ashland trails system.
Lewis asked whether the Nevada Street Bridge would be a part of the planned extension. Black noted that it was one of several options available.  
  • Tree Plantings
Landt asked about placement of a Dawn Redwood tree in Ashland Creek Park, stating that it was a non-native species. Black stated his intention to research the question.
  • Lithia Park Update
McFarland reported on the ad hoc Million Women’s March that was conducted over the weekend. He stated that the event attracted large numbers of people. McFarland characterized damage to the Lithia Park grounds as light, with few trouble spots. He said some re-seeding of the lawn in the bandshell area would be needed.      
  • Graffiti
Black stated that there had been some vandalism in the parks, along with associated graffiti. He stated that APRC staff was tasked with removing the graffiti as soon as possible – if not on the same day, then shortly thereafter. He encouraged the Commissioners to email or call if graffiti was sighted.    
  • Study Session, February 13, 2017—The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street—5:30 p.m.
  • Goal Setting Session, February 14, 2017—The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street—9:00 a.m.  
  • Regular Meeting, February 27, 2017—Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street—7:00 p.m
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned into executive session at 8:20 p.m.
Executive Session: Real Estate Discussion and Disposition, ORS 192.660 (2)(e)
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of executive session at 8:50 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m. 
Respectfully submitted,
Betsy Manuel, Assistant  
The Minutes are not a verbatim record. The narrative has been condensed and paraphrased to reflect the discussions and decisions made. Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Study Sessions and Regular meetings are being digitally recorded and are available upon request. 

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