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April 6, 2021 City Manager's Report
Posted: Tuesday, April 06, 2021

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April 6, 2021
The City Manager’s Report showcases current events facing the City externally and internally since the last Council meeting, while highlighting City accomplishments. 

600 Air Purifiers Provided for Ashland Community Members Most in Need Since July 2020

In a team effort lead by Ashland Fire & Rescue and with extensive partnerships in the community, the Wildfire Division has distributed 600 air purifiers to date for community members most in need of relief from smoke. The Residential Air Purifier Program funded by a grant from the Oregon DEQ is the largest purifier program of its kind in the country. Addressing smoke education and providing the needed technology was an opportunity for community cooperation and partnerships during a challenging time for everyone. Several different departments across the City helped in the effort:
  • Thank you to the electric department for storing the purifiers!
  • The Senior Center staff reached out to adults over 65 who are vulnerable to smoke, thank you!
  • CERT Volunteers and Terri Stewart were available to distribute the purifiers during COVID safe curbside pickups and the Fire Union delivered air purifiers – you are amazing!
  • Chamber of Commerce, Ashland YMCA, Ashland School District, Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA), Asante Community Hospital, local childcare centers, retirement communities and many more made the program successful, thank you!
For our community members over 65, under 15 years old and for some who have life threatening heart and lung problems, COPD or asthma – receiving the free air purifier through the program has been a relief they otherwise could not afford.

Affordable Housing Development – Columbia Care
The Community Development Department just issued a building permit for Columbia Care’s “Rogue Ridge”. This affordable housing project will comprise 30 multi-family dwelling units including one resident manager’s unit, and 29 affordable housing units in a 26,000 square foot, three-story building in two connected wings. Rogue Ridge is consistent with Columbia Care’s goals as an agency to provide safe and stable affordable housing with the necessary services and support that assist individuals to live successfully in the community.

In 2018, the project received $300,000 from the City’s affordable housing trust fund to assist with land purchasing costs. Additionally, the City waived an additional $470,000 in permit fees to assist with the construction of the needed affordable housing. The building will be constructed off Ashland Street on the property behind Rogue Credit Union.
Sketch of Proposed Columbia Care Affordable Housing Units on Ashland Street

Housing Survey
The City of Ashland is undertaking a Housing Capacity Analysis (HCA) to better understand and address the community's housing needs. This study will look at what housing types are needed to meet the needs of residents at all income levels over a 20-year period (2021 to 2041). Information about the Housing Capacity Analysis and public meeting announcements can be found online at www.ashland.or.us/HCA2021.

Due to limitations on public gatherings, Community Development staff and EcoNorthwest, the State funded consultant for undertaking the HCA, are presenting information about Ashland's housing market, how it has changed, and how it will continue to evolve, through an online virtual open house.  This online forum includes a series of questions allowing participants to provide input on their housing preferences and on potential strategies to address Ashland's unmet housing needs. This feedback will assist elected and appointed officials in identifying strategies and actions that are supported by the community.  The Virtual Open House will run from April 1 through April 16, 2021 and can be accessed by going to ashland.or.us/engage and selecting The Future of Housing in Ashland: Virtual Open House topic. 

2020 Certificate of Excellence in Electric Reliability
Our Electric Utility has received national recognition for achieving exceptional electric reliability in 2020. The recognition comes from the American Public Power Association (APPA), a trade group that represents more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities. The Electric Utility has received this recognition in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. 

According to a national comparison by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), City of Ashland Electric Utility is in the top quartile (25%) of utilities for System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) based on the EIA data in 2015 - 2019, thereby qualifying for the 2020 Certificate of Excellence in Reliability. 

APPA helps electric utilities track power outage and restoration data through its subscription-based eReliability Tracker service. Once per year, APPA’s Reliability Team compares this data to national statistics tracked by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for all types of electric utilities.

Looking Ahead
This is a draft of the next Council meetings agenda and is subject to change.
 
April 19 - Study Session
  • Water Treatment Plant Envision Program Update
April 6 - Business Meeting
  • Annual Commission Reappointments
  • Approval of Public Art in Railroad Park
  • Acceptance of a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Plan for the Ashland Municipal Airport
  • Public Hearing for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Awards 
  • Approval of a Professional Services Contract for Improvements to the Community Center and Pioneer Hall 
  • Social Equity and Racial Justice Resolution Council Discussion and Action Identification
  • First Reading of Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission Ordinance 
  • First Reading of the Food & Beverage Tax Allocation Ordinance
For the full look ahead and descriptions of each item, go to ashland.or.us/lookahead.

This month's edition of the City Source includes an article on the recommended budget, information on the COVID-19 pandemic, a reminder to prevent digging accidents by calling 811, how to keep Ashland safe with weed abatement, the APRC Summer Community Playguide, the Wildfire Safety Campaign, controlled burn information, the Adapt Your Home Campaign and call for climate action stories, events, and the City Calendar for May. 

Go to ashland.or.us/citysource for the latest and past editions. 

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