Ashland City Council Meeting: Income From Timber Sales, Rehabilitation of Pioneer Hall, and Master Plan for Homeless Shelter

ASHLAND, Ore. — The first check, ‘one of many’ derived from the sale of timber related to the Ashland helicopter logging project, was unanimously approved and accepted by the City Council at its meeting earlier this week.

Ashland Finance Director, Marianne Berry, told the city council the check amounting to $159,293 is expected to be the first of many derived from the sale of timber. The money will swell the coffers of the city’s Wildlife Division, which has set an estimate of $600,000 in revenue from the project.

Last month we reported that a helicopter was lifting hundreds of dead Douglas fir trees from the Siskiyou Mountains. The project was launched and coordinated by the Ashland Fire and Rescue Department to thin 5,000 acres of timber before the start of the wildfire season.

Criticism has been voiced by many residents of Rogue Valley who believe that the City of Ashland and the Bureau of Land Management are more motivated by the income derived from the sale of timber than the health of the forest.


Rehabilitation of Historic Pioneer Hall Approved

The rehabilitation of the historic Pioneer Hall and Community Center amounting to $1,722,490   has been approved by the council. The building fell into disuse in 2021 because of its continued aging and the council’s updated building code requirements.

Public Works Director, Scott Fleury, told the council meeting that the lowest bid was received from Outlier Construction and resolves all major structural issues. These include the roof and floor, improvements to internal access, including restrooms and the ramp at the front of the building, meeting code set by the American Disabilities Act.

The rest of the money will be spent on beautification and improvements, HVAC upgrades, and a new concrete walkway between the hall and the community center. Fleury said construction will begin July/August, with a completion date set for early 2025.


Master Plan to House the City’s Homeless People

Mayor Tonya Graham asked the meeting to adopt a master plan for the homeless, including the emergency shelter at 2200 Ashland Street. Her request was approved.

Goals set in the master plan are to provide an immediate place of safety for homeless people, as well as to provide a pathway to their long-term housing needs.

Also on the council agenda was the first reading of ordinances allowing the city to relinquish or vacate right of way at Fern Street and Meadows Drive. The proposal was unanimously approved.



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