ashland.news
June 14, 2024

Parks commissioners to vote Wednesday on changes in herbicide use, Lithia Park master plan

The median on Siskiyou Boulevard as photographed in 2021. A parks policy change would allow limited herbicide use on the median. Ashland.news photo by Bert Etling
June 10, 2024

Parks staff: Fewer weeds means less need for weed whacking hazardous median strips

By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commissioners will vote Wednesday to approve or reject a proposal from Interim Director Leslie Eldridge to slightly increase the use of herbicides in street medians for reasons of staff safety, according to the meeting agenda

In the last six months, APRC staff have had eight incidents while using weed whackers to maintain street medians and other areas. Some were close calls with cars nearly hitting staff while they worked on the median strips. Weed whackers also lob rocks into the air, sometimes doing as such damage as cracking the windshield of a passing car. Eldrige described these issues during an APRC study session Wednesday, June 5. 

By increasing the use of herbicides in these specifically dangerous and seldom human-entered areas, staff would need to spend less time in the medians using the weed whackers, she said. 

If commissioners vote to approve the proposal, it would modify the APRC Integrated Pest Management Policy (IPM) to exempt only the boulevard areas from the policy, according to an APRC agenda item from the study session. 

The IPM was developed by APRC in 2010 to create a “decision-making and action process that uses the most appropriate pest control methods and strategies in an environmentally and economically sound manner,” according to the agenda item. 

The entrance to Lithia Park, as photographed in 2022. A revised master plan for the park is up for adoption at a meeting Wednesday. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

In other APRC business Wednesday, commissioners will vote on the lightly revised and updated Lithia Park Master Plan. 

“The Plan was created as a living document to guide the development and protection of Lithia Park for the next 100 years,” according to a staff memorandum by Commissioner Rick Landt included in the Wednesday, June 5, study session meeting materials. 

The final approval of the master plan has had a five year delay and some alterations and addendums in that time, the memo said. The alterations to the 2019 plan are largely adding nuance or more options to fulfill recommendations created by contractors and public input in the creation of the plan with additional typo fixes, according to the agenda item. 

The meeting will be held in-person at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St at 6 p.m. The meeting can also be viewed on Channel 9 or Channels 180 and 181 (for Charter Communications) or live stream via rvtv.sou.edu select RVTV Prime. 

Public testimony will be accepted in person for those who fill out a speaker request card in the Ashland City Council chamber. Written testimony will be accepted via email sent to nancy.mero@ashlandoregon.gov. Include “Public Testimony” in the subject line and send before 11 a.m. the Tuesday before the meeting to ensure it will be made available to the Parks Commissioners before the meeting. 

Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at morganr@ashland.news.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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