July 23, 2024

Ashland City Council to consider promoting deputy city manager to top slot on interim basis

Ashland Deputy City Manager Sabrina Cotta in March 2022. photo by Bob Palermini
November 6, 2023

Bike lane, homelessness plan, shelter contract, Croman Mill project, watershed work also on packed Tuesday evening agenda

By Morgan Rothborne,

Ashland Deputy City Manager Sabrina Cotta may become acting city manager after the Tuesday, Nov. 7, City Council business meeting. 

Councilors are expected to vote on an employment agreement to promote Cotta at Tuesday’s meeting. The City Council also asked Cotta to “put forth a proposal to meet the needs of the City during the transitional time between October 27, 2023 and January 31, 2024 to include salary, benefits and capacity needs for the City Manager’s Office,” according to meeting materials. 

The proposal would expire after the stipulated three month agreement and come with a “reworking of staff priorities,” to keep the city working while City Council pursues finding a permanent city manager. The proposed agreement will cost the city $9,934.93. 

Tuesday night the council will also be asked to vote to direct the city’s Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee to create a “homelessness master plan.” The plan would examine gaps in services for the homeless community in Ashland and existing resources in the city, including community groups. 

Council will vote to reject or approve a contract with Options for Housing and Rental Assistance to allow the nonprofit to operate the city’s severe weather shelter at 2200 Ashland St.  According to the contract attached to the agenda item, OHRA will operate the severe weather shelter from Nov. 10, 2023, through April 1, 2024, and will not cost the city more than $100,000. OHRA will provide additional resources to shelter residents and the shelter would then rely on a mixture of paid staff and volunteers, according to the contract. 

Townmakers LLC — a development team hired by the owners of the Croman Mill property — will share a presentation of a new conceptual work plan during the meeting. The 61-acre parcel of land in Ashland requires substantial clean-up before it can be developed. The proposal will undergo later public hearings before implementation, according to meeting materials. 

North Mountain Avenue may see a new protected bike lane and the elimination of curbside parking on the west side between East Main Street and 100 feet south of the Avista Gas regulator station. An estimated 43 parking spaces would be lost if the change were to take place. The project would be folded into existing roadwork in the area and — through the procurement of markings and delineators — would add an estimated $150,000 to $200,000 to the project cost, according to meeting materials. Council will be asked to vote on the project Tuesday evening. 

Council will also vote on a first reading of two ordinance changes for city parks: a proposed curfew for all parks and the limited sale or service of alcohol in parks. Both ordinance changes have been unanimously approved by Ashland Parks & Recreation Commissioners, according to meeting materials. 

Council will also review contracts for nonprofit organization Lomakatsi Restoration Project to conduct “climate change adaptation work” in the Ashland watershed and for the company Calix to provide new equipment and services for Ashland Fiber Network

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the City Council chamber at 1175 E Main St. The meeting can be attended in person or watched remotely through Channel 9 or Channels 180 and 181 (Charter Communications) or live stream via select RVTV Prime. Public testimony will be accepted for the meeting and can be delivered either via Zoom, in person, or as written comment. To sign up for public comment, fill out the public testimony form

Email reporter Morgan Rothborne at

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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