Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18 Weekly Update

Council -

I am sure you have noticed, but it appears summer is mostly here at last. Ashland High School Graduation and the opening of the Elizabethan Theater both went well last week. There is lots of activity in town, and the City is moving into the things that keep us busy in the summer - such as construction projects and lots of activity in the parks.

Utility Boxes. The Public Arts Commission has begun work on a second round of painting electrical boxes. They recently received proposals to paint one transformer box on the plaza and two on Helman Street near DreamSacks's new location. The two on Helman are sponsored by DreamSacks. The Commission is appointing a selection panel, which includes a few artists, plaza merchants, and neighbors on Helman. The Public Arts Commission plans to make a recommendation to the City Council on July 20. Please let Ann know if you have any questions

Independence Day Preparation. I am sure you have all decided whether you will be walking in the parade. You should also plan to visit the bandshell after the parade to hear an official welcome from Mayor Stromberg and the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence. There are a couple of things you should know about on July 2. First, the City will host the official breakfast to welcome the dignitaries from Guanajuato that morning. All members of the City Council are invited, and you will receive more information from Diana Shiplet soon. Second, the Amigo Club will be dedicating a park bench to Senora Chela Kocks to recognize her role as the lynchpin in the sister city relationship. That bench will be in Lithia Park, and the ceremony will be at 4 p.m. Hope you can all make it.

The City is also working with the Chamber of Commerce to ask Ashland residents to plan to attend and support the official fireworks display at SOU on Independence Day. Both Ashland Fire and Rescue and the Chamber are educating folks about the new fireworks ban. We will be doing additional enforcement in the days leading up to the 4th this year (especially because the 4th is on Sunday).

We are also doing our standard work of preparing for the thousands of people who come for the parade and the festivities of the park. It's a big day in Ashland, and I'll keep you posted as things get closer.

There are two Public Works Projects you may want to know about. The Liberty Street LID will commence on June 22. The pre-construction meeting was held this week and the notice to proceed has been issued to the contractor (Visar Construction), letters have been sent to all property owners and the information has been posted on the City web. Morgan Wayman will be managing this project and will be on the site on a daily basis. He is prepared to handle all issues whether they be property owner concerns, utility problems or contractor issues.

Jefferson Street Project. Back in 2006, the Council worked with Brammo Motorsports on a grant/loan from the State to build the extension of Jefferson Street. While there were some hiccups along the way, the City has now received permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and will soon receive permits from Oregon Division of State Lands for the portion of the project that crosses the creek. Once those permits are on hand, the City will go out to bid for construction, and that project will begin later this summer (at last!)

Chamber Board Meeting. Mayor Stromberg, Councilor Voisin, Adam Hanks and I all attended the monthly meeting of the Chamber of Commerce Board last week. As you would expect, the Chamber is very focused on the 4th of July right now. Meiwen Richards also reported on the recent visit of a delegation from Fujin province in China. Finally, the Chamber's annual dinner will be on October 7 this year, so please mark your calendars if you plan to attend.

I think this is the major news of the week. Please let me know if you have questions.


Friday, June 4, 2010

May 31 - June 4

June 4, 2010

It's been a short week, and many of the key topics were covered at Tuesday night's Council meeting. So, there are a couple of things I need to get off my chest this week before I give you an update.

First, congratulations to all of the students of Southern Oregon University who are graduating this weekend. Graduation ceremonies are tomorrow.

Second, good luck to the Ashland High School Boys Baseball team who face North Eugene in the State 5A playoffs tomorrow. Go Griz!

Regional Problem Solving. Council has begun receiving public input for your June 15 discussion of Regional Problem Solving. We will put the letters and emails we've received into the Council packet. At that meeting, you will be discussing the comments the City will send to the Jackson County Planning Commission. Also, it is not a formal "public hearing." Council can still take public comment as you normally do on agenda items, but you are not bound by public hearing rules. Hope this is clear, but please let me know if it isn't.

Good Work By Public Works Staff. I know that you have read about the recent issue we've had with paint in Ashland Creek, and you have seen press about the resolution to the investigation. While I wish the incident hadn't happened, the fact that we were able to find the origins of the spilled paint is due to the good work of the public works crews who used the cameras the City uses to televise sewer lines (to identify maintenance issues) to follow the paint to its source. Next time you see John Peterson or a member of the Street/Stormwater crew, please thank them for their work.

More on Storm Drains. The incident with the storm drains is an opportunity for the City to increase our education efforts about stormwater. As you know, Conservation Commission volunteers and City crews have been installing "Drains to Stream" markers on the catch basins in the community. We will also be stepping up efforts to let people that everything that goes into stormwater goes directly into our community's creeks and wetlands.

Big Week Next week. Next Friday night is high school graduation, the opening of the outdoor season for OSF, and the last day of school. So, even though it might not seem like summer yet, it's here.

Please let me know if you have questions.