MINUTES FOR THE CONSERVATION AND CLIMATE OUTREACH COMMISSION
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Held Electronically via Zoom
1. Call to Order (item starts at 00:15 on the video)
The meeting was called to order by Chair Rebecca Walker at 3:01 p.m. Commissioners Risa Buck, Larry Cooper, Marni Koopman, Jamie Rosenthal, Bryan Sohl, and staff members Bridgette Bottinelli and Stu Green were present. Commissioner James McGinnis arrived later in the meeting. Council liaison Stefani Seffinger was absent.
2. Consent Agenda (00:35)
2.1. December 16, 2020 Meeting Minutes
Buck/Sohl moved/seconded to approve the minutes. Further discussion: none. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, Rosenthal, Sohl, and Walker. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
3. Announcements (00:57)
3.1. Next Regular Meeting: February 24, 2021
3.2. Other Announcements from Commissioners (1:14)
Buck stated that former Commissioner Marion Moore passed away in December. Buck will forward a memorial video for Moore to the Commission. Rosenthal announced that the Annual Household Hazardous Waste event will be held on Saturday, May 8. The regular $5 fee will be waived and COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.
James McGinnis arrived at 3:06 p.m.
3.3. Reports from Members of Other Commissions
4. Public Forum (6:22)
Walker stated that two written testimonies were received (see attached
). One was regarding the climate focus topics and requests from the Ashland Climate Action group and the other was on transportation equity.
Walker asked the Commission to discuss making a recommendation to the City Council regarding the job description for the City Manager as requested in one of the testimonies. Koopman mentioned that the job description should not require climate plan development on the same scale as implementation experience as many applicants may not have plan development experience. Sohl recommended this could be a part of the interview process as a discussion of opinions and experience on climate change. Cooper said the search committee could make the applicants aware of the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) before the interview process.
Green suggested a motion to approve a letter to Council. Buck/Cooper moved/seconded that Walker draft a letter of recommendation based on the input received at this meeting that would eventually go to Council. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, McGinnis, Rosenthal, Sohl, and Walker. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
Walker will draft a letter based on the discussion and send the letter to the City Council. Koopman asked if Green could also be a part of the search committee. Walker will add the recommendation that Green be included in the hiring process to the letter.
Walker moved agenda item 6.1 Commission Monthly Colum to Sneak Preview to before agenda item 5. Reports/Presentations.
6.1 Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview (21:42)
Green asked if the article schedule should shift to allow for the hazardous waste event to be published in April. Cooper said the water conservation article is specific to the winter months and would need to be published earlier on. Walker commented if the section on mulch needed to be included. Cooper explained he added that section in because mulch can be detrimental to fire resiliency. McGinnis suggested a reference to the Almeda Fire could be added to the mulch section. Cooper asked if the links could be vetted by Green or Public Works. Green stated that Public Works staff would be the ones to ask. Walker recommended shortening the section on mulch and adding in a reference to climate change as for reasons to conserve water.
Buck/Koopman moved/seconded to approve Cooper's article on water in light of the changes the Commission has suggested. Ayes: Buck, Cooper, Koopman, McGinnis, Rosenthal, Sohl, and Walker. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
Larry Cooper left at 3:31 p.m.
5.1. Council Update
5.2. Staff Update (30:19)
Green and Bottinelli gave an update on the following items:
- The electric vehicle and electric bike incentive programs were going well and some changes would be made to streamline the process.
- The Climate Policy Commission is working on program offerings with staff for next year as well as utility master planning.
- The CEAP website is getting ready to be launched and the core content was shown. A Climate and Energy Action Facebook page has also been created.
- There will be an Adapt Your Home campaign starting this Spring and staff asked for Commissioners to help with outreach.
Sohl asked if the Commission would be getting a new Council liaison. Green stated that Council was still determining those appointments. Sohl asked if the electric bike incentive would be expanding. Green stated that if more funding becomes available the program will expand.
6. Old Business
6.1. Decision: Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview (41:00)
This item was revisited to discuss the timing of the articles to be published as follows:
- February – Koopman's electric bike and vehicles incentive programs article (approved)
- March – Cooper's water conservation article (approved)
- April – Rosenthal's hazardous waste event article (to be approved at the February meeting)
- Rosenthal's already approved recycling and waste article will be scheduled later.
- Walker's article on the pandemic and sustainability will be approved and scheduled later.
6.2. Update on Different Channels for Articles and Future Outreach (50:25)
The Commission discussed the following channels to post articles in addition to the publication in the Sneak Preview:
- Ashland Action Now's Spotlight section of the Ashland Tidings
- The new Climate and Energy Action Facebook page
6.3. CEAP Project Update
- Responsible Consumption and Single Use (54:43)
Walker stated that the group is planning an outreach campaign instead of trying to enact an ordinance as was discussed a year ago. The goal of the campaign will be to educate the community on a package of alternative behaviors to avoid using single use items and what materials are recyclable for Ashland. The group plans to create a list of initiatives with a baseline determining goals and actions. Some examples include promoting Rogue To Go, surveying local coffee shops on using reusable coffee cups to see if there is interest in having a transparent charge, and raising awareness on current ordinances in place.
Bottinelli mentioned that this outreach could compliment the Adapt Your Home campaign which will have themes for each month in the Spring. March will start with preparedness, April will be about responsible consumption, May will focus on switching from fossil fuels, and June will focus on renewable energy.
- Climate Resilience (1:01:40)
Koopman stated that the group is moving forward on an educational component for staff and City Council. This educational component will focus on the history of CEAP, key terminology, the context of climate change, equity, CEAP progress, and links to resources. The group plans on holding a workshop with a handout and presentation that will be recorded for later use.
Sohl wanted the group to focus on more than climate resilience as the Commission is charged with broad outreach. McGinnis agreed with changing the focus of the group. Walker stated that if the group would like to change their focus and projects the Commission can revisit and vote on the matter. Since the Commission previously voted on specific projects for each group, she would like to see progress made on those already approved. Koopman wanted to focus on climate resilience. The first project for the group would be broader as climate resilience is only one part of CEAP. Buck wanted the groups to focus on their current projects to not get overwhelmed with trying to take on too much, while being open to discussing changing the focus in the future.
Koopman asked for feedback on if the educational component is the right direction and if any parts are overlapping with current staff work. Green stated that reaching out to Council would be fine, but the group should stay focused on their approved projects versus broader outreach. If the group still wants to change the focus, a written proposal should be submitted to the Commission with specifics on the new focus and projects for approval. Green also stated that the outreach proposed to Council is fine and could be compatible with the Adapt Your Home campaign which is focused on outreach to the community not staff or elected officials. Green is willing to review the handout to help move forward.
Larry Cooper arrived at 4:22 p.m.
Koopman asked if a Council study session could be held for this educational component. Green stated that there would probably not be any available study sessions until after the next budget was adopted. Cooper suggested to hold a community forum instead. Koopman said she will check with Green and CPC regarding the outreach. Sohl and McGinnis were fine moving forward on this project and would discuss changing the groups focus with Koopman.
- Water Use and Conservation (1:28:45)
Cooper gave an update regarding the current City water system, capital projects, and costs. He suggested the Commission give input on the proposed capital projects. The input could focus on resiliency especially for the backup water supply from the Talent Ashland Phoenix Intertie (TAP) system. Community forums will be held in the future to discuss costs and effects on water rates for implementing the capital improvement projects.
Buck wanted to clarify that this section of the agenda would be about the projects each group is working on. Cooper stated that he has been talking with staff and Council and giving a report on those discussions. Walker suggested that some outreach actions could be developed based on Cooper's report and brought back at the next meeting to outline the project goals and scope.
6.4. Decision: Reduced Maximum Speeds Report (1:34:44)
Sohl along with Gary Shaff from CPC and Mark Brouillard from the Transportation Commission gave a presentation on the benefits of lower maximum speeds (see attached
Buck acknowledged that the report budgeted $100,000 for new signage but asked if the Ashland Police Department was consulted about how to enforce the change. Brouillard stated that the Transportation Commission had talked to Police Chief Tighe O'Meara and Officer McClennan regarding enforcement. Officer McClennan stated that he did not see an issue with changing the residential streets to 20 mph but could see traffic issues happening on main streets like Siskiyou Boulevard. Brouillard also clarified that $18,000 of the proposed budget was for updating signs and the other $82,000 was for education. Buck was still concerned and was reluctant to vote in favor without seeing more support for enforcement. The presenters mentioned that enforcement techniques like speed cameras and other traffic calming elements could be researched and discussed by City staff after the recommendation is made.
Walker recognized that this recommendation from the three Commissions would be a first step to moving towards creating safer, lower carbon emissions transportation within Ashland. Due to the meeting time running out, Walker suggested to either vote on the matter or have it moved to the next meeting for more discussion. Sohl/Cooper moved/seconded that the CCOC recommends that the City Council directs the Public Works Department to pursue reducing maximum speeds within the City to the maximum extent allowed by Oregon Revised Statute 810.180. Further discussion: Buck supports the recommendation but was concerned that enforcement was not addressed enough. Walker asked if those details could be researched and implemented later on in the process. Sohl expressed interest in moving forward with the recommendation allowing for the Public Works Department to explore implementation. Koopman agreed with Buck and wanted more time to discuss this issue at the next meeting. Koopman was interested in knowing where the accidents within Ashland most occurred and if this plan would be an effective tool to reduce those accidents. McGinnis also wanted to discuss this matter at the next meeting to focus on if this plan would work in Ashland or if alternatives could be considered.
Larry Cooper left at 5:00 p.m.
Walker reminded everyone that Sohl, as a representative of CCOC, was involved with the report and presentation and that CCOC was being asked to support the principal idea not to research the implementation. Ayes: Rosenthal, Sohl, and Walker. Nays: Buck, Koopman, and McGinnis. Motion failed for lack of majority.
Chair Walker adjourned the meeting at 5:04 p.m.
The following agenda items will be move to the next meeting.
6.5 Compost Recommendation Update
7.2 Outreach to New City Council
8.2 Items to be added to future agendas