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Plaza and homeless hot topics

City Council to consider new homeless center and next step for new Plaza
 Posted: 2:00 AM January 14, 2013

During meetings tonight and Tuesday night, the Ashland City Council will discuss the next steps on a stalled plan to create a homeless resources day center in town, a proposal to use part of the downtown Plaza for an artisans market and whether to approve a bid for Plaza reconstruction work.

Tonight's study session starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Development Department and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way.

Study sessions are open to the public, but councilors don't usually take public comment.

Councilors will discuss a request from the Lithia Artisans Market to use a part of the downtown Plaza for part of the market.

Artisans, who are tucked behind Plaza businesses when the market operates, have said they need to expand into a more visible location.

City Administrator Dave Kanner has recommended that the artisans go through the city's planning process to try and win approval for the expansion.

That would cost $1,100 and would take two to four months to complete, but it would give community members and neighboring businesses a chance to weigh in on the decision, Kanner told councilors in a memo.

Also tonight, councilors will discuss what the next steps should be, if any, after a proposal to open a day use resource center for homeless people stalled.

In late 2012, the council offered a grant of up to $50,000 over two years to cover lease and facility costs for a nonprofit group to launch such a center.

No groups stepped forward with proposals to try and win the funding.

The council's Tuesday meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

Among other agenda items, councilors will decide whether to approve a $139,700 contract for Ausland Group to lay pavers and pour concrete as part of a redesign of the downtown Plaza that is under way.

For more details on the agenda items for tonight's and Tuesday's meetings, visit

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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