Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Quiet Spring Break

It's Spring Break week here in Ashland, which means quiet, quiet, and more quiet. Honestly, it's been nice to get some of the filing and desk cleaning jobs done that have been put off since, well, last spring break. There are a few bits of information you might find interesting:

Jackson County Waste Diversion Days
Properly dispose of household paints and chemicals

Free Latex Paint Drop-off Event
April 30 & May 1, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Drop off your household latex paints for proper disposal. Remember: household latex paints only; this event is not open to business waste or oil based paints. Need some paint? Check out the free re-use table. Jackson County Drop-off sites:
Rogue Disposal & Recycling transfer station, 8001 Table Rock Road, White City, 779-4161,
Recology Ashland Sanitary Service transfer station, 3000 N. Valley View Road, Ashland, 482-1471,

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Event
May 7-8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bring your household hazardous waste to Rogue Disposal Transfer Station, 8001 Table Rock Road. Cost is $5.00 per vehicle. Trade in your mercury thermometer for a digital one at no charge. Acceptable items include: cleaning supplies, batteries, pool and spa chemicals, lead and oil-based paint, paint removers, wood preservatives and light ballasts.
Do NOT bring: fluorescent bulbs, medical or biological waste, explosives, radioactive materials, ammunition, commercial or industrial waste, asbestos, 55 gallon drums, propane tanks, fire extinguishers or other metal tanks. For more information, contact Rogue Disposal at 541-779-4161 or

Thanks to Paige Prewett of the Jackson County SMARTWorks & Jackson County Recycling Partnership for the Waste Diversion Days information.

Did you know you can now follow the City of Ashland on Facebook? If your Facebook homepage is how you get your daily dose of news, you can find City of Ashland news there too. Just search for 'City of Ashland' while on Facebook, or use the link on the City's homepage. We'll soon have Twitter up and running too!

Economic Development
I've had the pleasure of participating in the Economic Development Strategy work, specifically with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). I must say this has been an interesting process thus far. Both the TAC and the Policy Committee have worked very hard to honestly understand both the good and the bad in Ashland's economy. Currently, both groups are working in tandem on creating a definition of Economic Development for Ashland and a Vision Statement for the future of Ashland's economy. They are also just beginning to figure out how to take the leap between what the vision Ashland's future economy and what we (community members, city government, and regional partners) need to do (or not do) to get to that vision. If you have any interest in learning more about the project, check out the economic strategy webpage and all the links on the left-side of the page. If you've got comments or questions on the process contact Councilor Russ Silbiger,, Councilor Kate Jackson or staff member Adam Hanks,

Hope your Spring Break is wonderful!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010

Let Us Know. We've just activated a new feature on our website, called, "Let Us Know." If you spot things the City needs to be aware of like; clogged storm drains, flickering street lights, graffiti, or damaged playground equipment just go to the link on our website ( or click here to let us know!

Food Bank 2009 Report. A few days ago we received a copy of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank (AEFB) 2009 President's Report. It had some interesting facts I think you should know about. From January 2007 to January 2009, the number of individuals served increased by 145% and from January 2009 to December 2009 that number increased another 46%. By December of 2009, the AEFB has provided a 5-7 day supply of food to a record high 1,479 children and adults.

Many thanks to the people and organizations who donated this year, including, but not certainly not limited to, numerous local churches, The Olde Bagley Orchard in Talent, the Ashland Rotary Club (who created gardens to provide fresh vegetables), the Ashland Food Project, the Ashland Community Food Store (Co-Op), the Ashland Daily Tidings, Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation, City of Ashland Employees, and the Chaney Family Foundations. In 2009, the AEFB received a total of 188,565 pounds of food. There were over 395 individual volunteers who provided 6,906 hours of community service to the AEFB.

Personally, I think these are amazing statistics. I see both that this recession is an especially challenging time for many people and that, in quite an amazing way, Ashland (and the Rogue Valley) is a very generous community. If you want to volunteer or donate either cash or food to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, call them at 541-488-9544 or stop by the food bank itself at 2200 Ashland Street.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekly Update March 8 - 12, 2010

In addition to some unusually prominent law enforcement issues this week, Ashland is busier with OSF's opening last weekend. There are more visitors in town, including a number of school groups. Here are some other happenings:

Ruling on Park Street Condominium Conversion Case. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of Judge Harris on the Park Street Condominium Case without opinion. When the Court does this (called an "AWOP" for short), they do not issue a written opinion. Click here for a copy of the decision and a copy of Judge Harris's original ruling for your information.

Media on Flashing Beacons. I am sure you have all noticed that the television and radio stations have picked up the story about the failure of two of the flashing beacons on Siskiyou Boulevard. Public Works staff are working on a solution for these beacons, which currently are solar powered. The short answer for why they don't function is that the sun doesn't shine long enough on a winter day to charge the battery. While we had hoped not to have to hard wire these beacons (so they could be moved in the future if that was appropriate), public works staff are working on wiring them in directly. We are going to install them as soon as we can and then try to get the manufacturer to share the costs of the wiring (as the solar panels are supposed to work). If you have any questions, please contact Mike Faught, 541-488-5587, directly.

Parks Integrated Pest Management Policy. During the week of March 8, Parks & Recreation Staff will be reviewing a draft of a new Integrated Pesticide Management Policy with the committee that the Parks and Recreation Commission appointed to work on this issue. If the committee approves, Parks & Recreation will release this draft and they plan to hold a public meeting to receive comment on March 31. Once the draft is generally available, I'll get it to you, and I'll get you details on the meeting time and location.

Mount Ashland Ski Area Expansion Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. On Friday, I got an email that said the Notice of Intent on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) was actually published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, instead of on March 9, 2010 as I was originally told by the Forest Service. I attempted to search the Federal Register today, but couldn't find the notice. I will keep you posted, and staff will evaluate the information once it's available to develop a recommendation about whether we should comment. Remember that this will address only three issues (The Pacific Fisher and two mapping issues).

I think that's about all of the exceptional news there is to report. I will post a Project Report during the week.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Exciting Time of Year

I don't know about you, but this is my favorite time of the year in Ashland. With OSF opening (to rave reviews, I might add) the sidewalks are beginning to fill once again with the extra energy of visitors and friends. I also love that all the early flowers and blooming trees are bright reminders that Spring is just around the corner. Thank you to the Parks Department and all the residents and business owners who have added colorful splashes of living color to our already beautiful city.

It really is an exciting time of year.

This weekend Ashland will be celebrating International Women's Day (thanks to the Daily Tidings for the great article.) Mayor Stromberg has been a strong supporter of this event for the past couple of years, and he encourages all women, and the men who know they are incredible, to attend.

The City currently has quite a few vacancies or terms which are set to expire for board, commission, and committee positions. If you are interested in becoming a member of one of our exciting groups, we encourage you to apply. The full vacancy list as well as application forms can be found here. The deadline for our annual process is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 19, 2010.

Application forms for the City's Economic and Cultural Development Grants for FY 2010-11 are currently available. Click here for more information and the application forms. Completed applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 22, 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekly Update, March 1 - 7

There has been a lot going on around the City this week. Here are some of the projects.

New Classes at Middle School. The Police Department has begun a couple of classes at Ashland Middle School in the health department. One class is on binge drinking generally. The other one is on sexual assault. The class has been put together by officers Carrie Hull, Terri DiSilva, and Mike Vanderlip. We have had a tremendous amount of help as well from the nurses from SANE in developing the curriculum. (I believe the classes are split by gender) According to Police Chief Terry Holderness, "the kids were really interested and wanted more time on each subject. Due to the subject matter flyers went home to all of the parents who were told their child did not have to attend and could and leave at any time. So far we have not had anyone pulled from or leave the class. As we expected we did get two reports of problematic sexual touching that we are looking into." If you have any questions about these classes or if you hear any feedback from parents and citizens, please let Terry know so we can learn as we develop this program.

More from the Police Department. Sergeant Josh Moulin and Detective Brandon Bloomfield from the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force are presenting an Internet Safety presentation at the Ashland Middle School on Thursday, March 11th at 6:30 pm. Everyone is encouraged to attend as they will be providing info you may find helpful on investigations and/or be able to pass on to parents when responding to calls. The flyer that is going out to All Ashland Middle School parents can be found here. Please contact Chief Holderness if you have any questions.

Lithia Fountains. Our Water Crew will be working on the Lithia Fountain this week starting Monday. We continue to have drainage problems with the fountain. The maintenance work isn't expensive, but you may get some questions about why the fountain isn't working. It will probably need to be an annual occurance.

Parking Limits Begin Again. You may have seen an email from the Street Department, but the 4 hour time limits on parking in the City's surface parking lots are in place again. When the ice rink is re-converted to a parking lot, the four-hour time limits will be re-imposed on Winburn Way as well.

Update on RPS. The RPS Policy Committee will hold a special meeting to talk with Richard Whitman, the DLCD Director on March 11 at 9:30 at RVCOG offices in Central Point. He wishes to address issues that may become important to this last public hearings phase of the RPS process, and to answer any local concerns he can. Additionally, staff is working on scheduling a time for Council to provide feedback to Jackson County as itit conducts hearings on RPS. This will likely be in April or early May and will likely happen at a regular City Council meeting.

Fire Department Ride Alongs. Chief Karns has invited all Councilors to Ride along with the Fire Department for all or part of a regular work shift. Councilor Voisin has already taken him up on the offer and will be spending time with the crews on July 4. If any of the rest of the Council want to work all or part of a shift, please talk to John Karns directly. It's a great experience even if you are somewhat bleary eyed the next day.