Restore the Beautiful Ashland Plaza
  • Petitioning Carol Voisin

This petition will be delivered to:

City Councilor
Carol Voisin
City Councilor
Greg Lemhouse
City Councilor
Dennis Slattery
City Councilor
Michael Morris
City Councilor
Rich Rosenthal
City Councilor
Pam Marsh
Mayor
John Stromberg
City Administrator
Dave Kanner
Ashland City Council
Ashland City Council

Restore the Beautiful Ashland Plaza

    1. Petition by

      Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza

Overview:

The Ashland Plaza was recently transformed into a stark gray morass of pavers and angular concrete ledges. It lacks the historical ambience characteristic of our beautiful city, especially its downtown, and consequently is a blot on the image, perception and experience of Ashland as a beautiful and charming destination. Our goal is to restore the Plaza through public discussions so that it fully reflects Ashland's historic qualities, which are desired by residents, business people, and visitors alike. We want a Citizens' Plaza, not a Council's Plaza!

Background:

The public process for the Plaza redesign began in June, 2012 and ended in July, 2012, with council voting on the final concept in August, 2012 mandating that the plaza redesign be completed by the end of March, 2013. Three city commissions were consulted: the Historic Commission, the Tree Commission, & the Public Arts Commission. There was considerable criticism of the design expressed by commissioners that was not taken into consideration or acknowledged as being relevant to the goal of redesigning the Plaza. The Historic Commission actually had an alternative design that never saw the light of day. The process was not open. Councilor Voisin repeatedly asked why a simple refurbishing of the Plaza had turned into a major redesign with little public input. Moreover, she was adamant that the cost of the redesign would greatly exceed the budget allotted for the originally intended refurbishment. The rush to "get this done now" led to a small sub-committee making decisions about charcoal pavers and other details. The result is a barren, gray, and lifeless Plaza, uncharacteristic of Ashland's rich history and tradition, which has left many Ashland residents and business people upset and even disgusted with the result.

We feel a decision of this magnitude should have had much more public discussion, with alternative designs and refurbishment being considered, not just one design being implemented via a process hurriedly overseen by a few public employees.

There was genuine confusion in the Ashland City government about the color of the pavers intended for the Plaza. Various staff and council members have reported to many citizens of Ashland that they thought salmon color pavers were ordered. This was due to the salmon color of the pavers shown on the architect's renderings supplied to the Ashland Council, staff people, and to the general public of Ashland. Everyone but a few thought the salmon color they were seeing online and in print was what was being planned, but "Charcoal Gray" pavers were on the order form to Willamette Graystone, who supplied the pavers. It is known for certain that at least four members of the council were not even told by the sub-committee, or other council members who knew, that gray was the final choice for the pavers! This confusion about the paver color, and the failure to recognize and address it when the pavers arrived, needs to be fully explained by the council.

To see the Architect's salmon paver renderings, please click here.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Daily Tidings: GUEST OPINION: 
City still ignores Plaza suggestions

      Many good suggestions for improving the redesigned Plaza have been made by hundreds of residents in Ashland, yet the council majority’s spokespersons’ recent comments make it clear the city is intent on ignoring them:


      “Everyone on the Beautification Committee likes the Plaza; they don't want any major change to it.” — Dave Kanner, city administrator.
“

      All the downtown businesses we’ve talked to like the Plaza” — Dennis Slattery, councilor.


      Yet 65 percent polled in a Sneak Preview readers poll expressed dislike of the current Plaza. (Apparently the city has not talked with all the downtown businesses, because Umi Sushi, Alex’s at the time, and Thread Hysteria, among others, expressed strong dislike of the Plaza and have championed Petitions to Restore the Plaza in their stores.) Clearly there is a huge disconnect between majority public opinion and the official policies of our city government.


      One possible explanation: The council majority is much more sensitive and responsive to the views of some downtown businesses than it is to the sentiments of the general public. And despite all the talk from commissioners and councilors about the Plaza being “our living room,” the Plaza is officially classified only as a "wide sidewalk" by the Planning Commission, not as the heart of our downtown, as it should be. It is this overview which cast the direction for the entire Plaza redesign.


      Recently, our mayor's hand-picked Downtown Beautification Committee unanimously voted to retain the current Plaza’s form, keeping the existing layout and the bulk of the gray pavers. (1) It reaffirmed a Plaza that is viewed by many as hot, off-putting and barren, one which attempts, albeit unsuccessfully, to discourage the homeless, and “vagrants” from loitering. A committee comprising those of similar viewpoint is a recipe for biased public policy. There are sufficient statements of record to support these allegations:

      
One Conservation Commission member was quoted as saying during an early 2012 commission meeting:

      
"... There's a concern — and I'm not going to speak for anybody else, that (inaudible) downtown public safety with people being accosted, beat up,and run out of town, whether they're vagrant or not vagrant (inaudible) They're saying this plan, this item, what they're trying to do is clean up the Plaza and make it a safe place for people to use their parks again whether they are being vagrant or not being vagrant, and the council wants it done. Or certain people want it completed and finished ..."


      On the face of it, these are positive goals. However, taken in context with the Plaza's "wide sidewalk" classification, it suggests the primary intent of the redesign was not to beautify the Plaza or make it welcoming, but to remake it into a utilitarian thoroughfare. Looking at today's Plaza, it’s obvious the foremost goal was to create a negative space to discourage loitering and disorderly conduct, and maximize visibility for the police, not to create a positive space for the entire community to enjoy. A sizable number of our community is still mourning the destruction of several perfectly healthy trees and what is seen as the disfigurement and deconstruction of our slightly run-down but charming Plaza.
(2)

      The downtown Plaza is not the sole proprietary interest of a select few in the downtown business community, or of the council — It belongs to all the people of Ashland. Good people are on our council and DBC, yes, absolutely. But there have been systemic glitches and biases in the underlying process that first created the Plaza and later advocated its enhancement, and a tendency by many of those directly responsible to remain unresponsive when questioned.


      I believe there exists a meeting point to marry the legitimate concerns of some in the downtown business community and the Chamber, which are heavily represented on the DBC, with the desires of the broader community for a more esthetically pleasing Plaza, one which reinforces the feeling and form of our Downtown Historic District and reflects the values of our small-town artistic community. These two goals are not mutually incompatible. The Calle walkway is a perfect example of this marriage of form and function.


      But for the 65 percent of local citizens, including over 565 Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza, who wish to improve our Plaza and see it beautified in a way that is meaningful to the majority of Ashlanders, it’s becoming increasingly apparent the council majority and DBC are not responsive to our concerns. We must therefore create our own designs, raise our own funds, muster the political will, and do it ourselves, just as the Mount Shasta community did with their lovely Parker Plaza. Hopefully the city, some of the downtown businesses, the DBC and the Chamber will soon wake up and join us in this effort.


      David Sherr
      Ashland, Oregon

      - See more at: http://www.dailytidings.com/article/20141003/OPINION/141009974/2011/OPINION#ReaderReaction

      Note: The following information was omitted from the above article due to space limitations:

      1. Despite the stated intent to select members with no predispositions for the outcome, the majority of DBC members had expressed favorable preferences for retaining the Plaza’s form (blueprint) long before they were selected for the DBC committee by the mayor. 



      2. Original Plaza Arborist’s report:
      https://ashland.or.us/Files/8%2017%2012%20Plaza%20Tree%20Report%20(2).pdf

      - See more at: http://www.dailytidings.com/article/20141003/OPINION/141009974/2011/OPINION#ReaderReaction

      City still ignores Plaza suggestions

      Many good suggestions for improving the redesigned Plaza have been made by hundreds of residents in Ashland, yet the council majority's spokespersons' recent comments make it clear the city is intent on ignoring them:"Everyone on the Beautification Committee likes the Plaza; they don't want any major change to it."

    2. Marea Claassen, Ashland: Tidings letter to the Editor, 9/17/2014

      'Error-correcting errors'

      The process surrounding the issue of the Ashland Plaza and the recommendations of the Downtown Beautification Committee are a perfect example of what Joseph Chilton Pearce called “error-correcting errors.” That is, a major mistake is made and then many attempts are made to correct the mistake while leaving the major mistake intact.

      The major mistake is this case is obviously the gray pavers used in renewal of the Ashland Plaza. No small “fixes” will change the fact that the dark-gray pavers are ugly and make the entire area look like a large swath of blacktop.

      There is no delineation, no character, no color to distinguish it from the roads on either side. It is a matter of scale; tiny “improvements” with mosaics, planters and the like do nothing to change the effect of large areas of dark-gray ground.

      The original error needs to be addressed first: The gray pavers must be removed and replaced with pavers of a terracotta color that match and complement the colors of the older buildings in our downtown. It’s the only “fix” that will really make a difference and restore the sense of a true plaza.

      Will you please take the lead in this rectification? Eschew the “error-correcting errors”; be bold in confronting the scale of the original mistake and its simple, obvious resolution.

      I’m sure there are many citizen volunteers to willing to support and assist in this action.

      Marea Claassen, Ashland

      PROP: Many good suggestions to improve the Plaza have been made by hundreds of folks in Ashland. The current council majority's position on the Plaza design does not reflect the will of the majority of people in Ashland - 65% polled by the Sneak Preview dislike the look and feel of the Plaza. Neither has the council been willing to answer many questions, or enact new suggestions for Plaza improvements from the public. The council and the mayor's hand-picked DBC have demonstrated they represent only a small cabal of downtown business owners, and the Chamber of Commerce, who consciously created a Plaza that is hot, off-putting and barren, one which attempts, unsuccessfully, to discourage homeless, and transients’ loitering. There are sufficient statements on record to support these allegations.*

      *Conservation commissioner Tom Beam, early 2012 commission meeting:

      "...There's a concern - and I'm not going to speak for anybody else, that (inaudible) downtown public safety with people being accosted, beat up,and run out of town, whether they're vagrant or not vagrant (inaudible) They're saying this plan, this item, what they're trying to do is clean up the plaza and make it a safe place for people to use their parks again whether they are being vagrant or not being vagrant, and the Council wants it done. Or certain people want it completed and finished..."

      * Plaza Architect Greg Covey 8-21-12 commission meeting:

      “Heat retention (of pavers) is directly affected by the color of the material, the darker the material the more heat it will absorb.”

      The Plaza is officially classified only as a "wide sidewalk" by the Planning Commission, not as the heart of our town, as it should be. City officials have offered many false, and misleading explanations to the public in the face of widespread dissatisfaction, discontent, and questions about the Plaza's creation. It's an officially sanctioned farce, really.

      If we citizens really want to improve the Plaza, and see substantive changes, we are going to have to create our own designs, raise funds and do it ourselves, just as the Mt. Shasta community has done.

    3. Neil Stewart, local designer's recent Tidings letter to the Editor:

      Real changes needed

      Changing the gray pavers is a good idea, but it's still pretty much a surface embellishment. The Plaza needs some real changes to put it back in order.

      I would like to make it clear that the old trees in the Plaza were not sick or dying; they were perfectly healthy. I saw the stump of the large, hundred-year-old, sugar gum tree that was cut down; the stump was perfectly clean of disease of any kind. Others who saw the downed tree also agree the tree was healthy.

      I saw a very scary artist's representation of what might be done to the Plaza in the Daily Tidings. The historic statue of a pioneer gazing toward Pilot Rock was gone, Lithia water fountains, gone, no information booth, more barriers and a lot of wasted space.

      A beautiful fountain can be built in the center of the Plaza for less than $30,000. Let's do something that really makes a difference.

      Neil Stewart, Ashland

      Neil - Here's the Plaza Tree Report prepared for Anne Thayer of Parks & Recreation Dept 8/17/12, courtesy of Colin Swales.:

      https://ashland.or.us/Files/8%2017%2012%20Plaza%20Tree%20Report%20(2).pdf

      It appears all but two of the tree's could have been spared. Why were the rest cut down?

      PROP: The first Arborist retained by the city made several suggestions for preserving the sweetgum and liquidambar trees. This did not fit in with the covert plans of the council majority, the Chamber and several influential Plaza businesses to denude and sterilize the Plaza to make it unattractive for the homeless and transients. It was thought those types detracted from the business climate downtown. The city then found another arborist who pronounced the sweetgum and liquidambar trees "diseased" and recommended their removal. The council's formula: Less trees = less homeless. The Plaza was redesigned and intentionally sterilized in what many here feel was a totally misdirected attempt to rid the Plaza of such types. Turns out it did not work, plenty of homeless still found downtown. We can all thank councilors Greg Lemhouse and Dennis Slattery, who spearheaded this debacle, and continue to distort past events and refuse to discuss what really happened.

      Letters to the Editor, Sept. 11

      A conversationThis is the gist of the conversation I had with a friend while walking near the Ashland Plaza.

    4. Councilman Slattery and Petitioners agree! - On one point...

      Despite Councilman Greg Lemhouse's recent, and totally false assertions to the Petitioners and the public that: “You know very well all questions about the Plaza have been answered, many times,” Dennis Slattery is on record last September 5th, 2013, as telling one citizen petitioner, in a public email, concerning the Plaza creation process:

      “….I have said from the very beginning I have no interest in your (the Petitioners') issues with how this was done, the process and your characterization of the work…”

      PROP: Finally, at least this is one point on which Dennis Slattery and the Petitioners can finally agree: The council majority and Mr. Kanner have all refused to answer many questions about “the process" of the Plaza creation.

      Ever since the Plaza's creation over a period of months in 2012 and early 2013, many questions surrounding the creation of the Plaza from hundreds of Ashland citizens have been meet with a stonewall of silence from the council majority, meaning Dennis Slattery, Greg Lemhouse, Pam Marsh, Rich Rosenthal, and Mike Morris. As if taking a cue from Dennis, the council majority have all flatly refused, to address Plaza creation issues, and to respond to the following questions:

      • Why does the council majority maintain that 13 public meetings were held to create the Plaza’s form, when the blueprint for the Plaza, CoveePardee “Plan B,” was only shown for the first time to the public on June 21st, 2012? People in attendance say it was announced on July 9th, at the start of the second, and last, Public Access meeting, that “Plan B” was the chosen Plaza plan.

      PROP: Therefore only one public access meeting was held before the basic Plaza's form we see today was chosen. The three plans shown to the public on July 21st, were very similar. And most all suggestions for improvements to the plan, were ignored. The form of the Plaza was foisted upon the public, there were no substantial choices about the look and feel of the Plaza offered to us.

      • On what date did each of councilor become aware that dark gray pavers were slated for the Plaza? Some of you councilors must have known well in advance of the date they were seen on the Plaza. Yet you kept silent, or have given evasive answers.** Why?

      • Why did the council majority allow salmon pavers to be shown to the public and press in official online renderings and printed documents, labeled: “OFFICIAL PLAZA COLOR RENDERINGS,” for 9 months, even after it was decided on Sept 26, 2012, that gray pavers were the color of choice for the Plaza, Mr. Kanner's explanations of "software limitations" for the default salmon paver color, have been discredited by a hired CAD expert. Gray was assigned to many areas of that CAD drawing, just look at the renderings."

      http://www.ashland.or.us/Files/color%20renderings%20Plaza%20design.pdf

      PROP: There were no "software limitations" preventing this according to our expert, Travis Scott.* Gray color could have easily been assigned to the pavers as well. Mr. Scott's comments were posted here months ago.

      Mr. Lemhouse and Mr. Slattery appear to be at direct odds with each others' comments. Calls for clarification have gone unanswered by both of them.

      Citizens have a right to expect and receive honest, straightforward answers from their elected representatives concerning all Public Works projects. The council majority's silence on these issues is troubling.

      PROP: Councilors, will you answer our questions?
      ____________________________________________________

      *Travis Scott, CGFM, CGAP, MM, CM, (ICPM Certified Manager), CGFM (Certified Government Financial Manager),
      CGAP (Certified Government Auditing Professional,
      MM (Master in Management), Certified Mediator

      Travis Scott on Plaza CAD renderings:
      Note over 14 colors are shown. Gray, or any color, not just salmon, could easily have been used for pavers. Therefore Mr. Kanner's comment that software limitations forced the use of Salmon for pavers, is false.

      PROP: Then City staffers claimed Plaza rendering didn't show the actual colors. But we plainly see: Gray for street, Green for Plants and Salmon for pavers. For over 9 months, these official color renderings were shown to the public and press as representations of what the Plaza would look like. Showing renderings of salmon pavers to the public for 9 months is the same as promising them.

      **When asked when he first became aware of the gray pavers, Dennis Slattery commented: "I never would have chosen that color gray."

      PROP: That is an evasive answer, not a direct answer.

      A similiar question to councilman Lemhouse evoked: "I always assumed the pavers would be gray."

      PROP: Again, an evasive answer, not a direct answer.

      NO other member of the council majority would comment, except for Mike Morris, who simply said: "They were supposed to have been salmon color."

    5. The ethical integrity of the council majority is at stake!

      Mr. Lemhouse's recent assertions in an email to the Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza, to the city and the public that: “…you know very well that all of (the Petitioner’s) questions have been answered many times and that no information has been kept from (them),” have put councilors Pam, Rich, Mike, and now even Dennis Slattery in a very awkward position - Will they acknowledge their past, and well documented refusal to discuss past details of the Plaza planning and creation with the public, many of which are listed in the “Unanswered Questions,” below, or will they now do an about-face, deny that they denied answering specific questions from Petitioners, and back Mr. Lemhouse's new assertions?

      Not only have many questions about the Plaza been asked of, and ignored by, the council, but now Mr. Lemhouse has put the council majority in an untenable position, by falsely stating that they have previously answered all questions put to them about the Plaza. This is a blatantly false statement from Mr. Lemhouse, and is an attempt to change the public’s perception of past events. Pam, Rich, and Mike must know this (as does Dennis), and must now decide whether to come forward to the public with the whole truth.

      The ethical integrity of the council majority is at stake! Will they come forward, or remain silent?

    6. Roy Sutton: "We could forgive...and unite together as a total community..."

      When I looked at the Plaza for the first time after the makeover had begun, I had trouble realizing where the asphalt street ended and the gray Plaza began. The result of the makeover is unfortunate, and makes me less proud of our downtown. On a positive note, the sad outcome should wake up the city powers to the need to get more citizen input and feedback on projects such as this. On the negative side, the proposed $30,000 fix sounds like a patchwork attempt that doesn't go far enough. $30,000 is only a little over $1 per resident. I'll donate $100 to a fund to reassess the whole project and fix the Plaza to make us all proud. I'm sure that many citizens and businesses would also donate generously. Mistakes were made, but that's life. It would be so refreshing if the city leaders would admit that mistakes were made. We could then forgive them and unite together as a total community to get it fixed properly.

      Roy Sutton

      PROP:
      Roy,
      Thanks for your donation offer! We hope others will follow suit. $500 was pledged by another petitioner for specific Plaza improvements.

      We agree with you, much more needs to be done on the Plaza, it's a gray, misfitting mess. It needs a complete redesign from top to bottom. But this council's position is fairly well entrenched, and they are not willing to make significantly more improvements at present.

      There is growing body of evidence that there was a covert agenda by the council in the redesign of this Plaza, working with select businesses downtown, and the Chamber of Commerce, to rid the downtown Plaza of the homeless, and transients, who were thought to be bad for business. In so doing, the council embarked on a rushed, often obscured, and many feel very misguided attempt to make the Plaza an undesirable stopping point for transients. Hence the hot gray pavers, hard bench seating, lack of shade, and the angular, unappealing layout. It failed, because the homeless don't seem to be bothered in the least. It succeed in bringing more people to the Plaza during planned events, and that is the only plus of the current Plaza. Most here agree, the design, which fights the feeling and spirit of our lovely and special town, is a complete failure.

      Unfortunately, two councilors have further ventured into a Plaza disinformation campaign, that will be detailed in an upcoming post.

      If this scenario seem a bit far-fetched, you have to review past statements of record, made by commissioner Beem, other past statements made by commission members at commission meetings, to get a sense of what the council and commissioners saw as an unstated (and unstateable) goal - Imagine if the ACLU got interested in this!

      Even if you disagree with the above scenario, the fact remains that the Plaza was done in a rushed and often obscure manner, which surprised and dismayed much of the public, and left most of us dissatisfied with the outcome. The Plaza needs way more than a facelift. It's people like you who will make a difference in restoring the feeling and flow of our beloved Plaza!

    7. Bryan Holley and George Kramer weigh in on Ashland Open Forum

      Reposted from Ashland Open City Hall:

      Bryan Holley inside Ashland

      August 26, 2014, 4:33 PM

      Ever since a few decision-makers, carrying the water for 'concerned Plaza businesses', decided to "Beautify" our formerly beautiful historic Plaza, Ashland citizens have witnessed the unfolding of the worst public project in the last quarter century. Instead of a Plaza Reconstruction, we have seen a Plaza Destruction. I stood one cold December morning while perfectly healthy trees were cut down and now the Plaza is too hot in the summertime. Duh! Since we are a Shakespearean town, I see this municipal event as similar to one of the Master's tragedies -- perhaps Macbeth or King Lear, where humans with hubris think they are different from other humans and can "do what they want" and then suffer the tragic consequences. What our City has done is not "Beautify" the Plaza, but instead make it less human-friendly and less tree-friendly. Thanks to certain of you city councilors (you know who you are) and our senior city staff and the compliance of the Mayor, we now have a new committee trying to "beautify" the mess the decision-makers made. Is this the kind of public involvement in planning that our various Plans envisioned in the 70s, 80s, and 90s? Or is this another example of political power gone overboard? You decide and I recommend you think about it standing in the 120 degree-plus temperatures in the middle of the ugly grey skateboard park that our "leaders" have visited upon us. While there, think about what it is like being a tree and having to live in all that radiated heat. Ashland is no longer a Tree City, it is a Profit City. --Bryan Holley

      George Kramer inside Ashland

      August 26, 2014, 6:44 AM

      IMHO, Ashland needs to fight the well-intended impulse to pound every nail, buff every rough edge, smooth every corner, and decorate every surface. We are on a path to entirely sanitize, and normalize, what makes this town what it is. We should take a breath.

      PROP: Bryan Holley is former Tree Commissioner of Ashland, OR.
      George Kramer is Chairman at Oregon Heritage Commission, an Advisor at National Trust for Historic Preservation, and on the Board of Directors at Historic Preservation League of Oregon.

    8. This Post Tells the Whole Story!

      Goly Ostovar ASHLAND, OR

      Please restore our plaza with creativity and thoughtful planning. I have live in Ashland since the 70's. I love our city. this is the worst thing that has happened to our city so far. The current plaza redesign is totally unacceptable at every level. The Ashland Plaza is the heart of our city. It was recently covered with some grey pavers and concrete ledges. It has no warmth or sense of design. This is a historic and artistic town. It now lacks character. I don't even think to replace it with salmon colored pavers would improve things very much. There needs to be a committee of landscape architects, artists, and planners who can create a beautiful design for our charming city. It needs some plants and trees. It is not a skate park! it needs a sense of rhythm in the way that the pavers are laid down. Take a look the entrance to the SOU Library, Now that is a piece of art work worthy of being in the city center. We want the citizens and the visitors to hold a warm and charming image of our gathering place. I think our goal should be to restore the Plaza so that it reflects our historic significance as well as being beautiful. Right now it looks like thoughtless rows of grey asphalt just laid down in haste. It should be something that makes the residents, businesses, and visitors happy and proud. Please restore our plaza thoughtfully and creatively.

      PROP - Goly, you have stated this so beautifully. So far, our city council appears to be far removed from the pulse of our city on Plaza issues. Hopefully someday, they will start to listen to the people who have elected them! Letters like yours do make a difference and inspire us all!

    9. Councilmen Slattery and Lemhouse Offer Contrary Accounts

      On Sep 5, 2013, councilman Dennis Slattery responded to questions from hundreds of Ashland Plaza Petitioners demanding he and the council majority explain to the public how the council "arrived at its decision to implement the drab, gray non-historic renovation of the Ashland Plaza in the original planning and redesign."

      Dennis Slattery:

      “….I have said from the very beginning I have no interest in your issues with how this was done, the process and your characterization of the work…”

      Time after time, the Petitioner’s got the same message from the rest of the council majority, meaning Greg Lemhouse, Pam Marsh, Rich Rosenthal, and Mike Morris. No one, except councilor Voisin, wanted to discuss the "how" of the creation of the Plaza - The council majority all flatly refused to address these issues.

      Dennis and the council majority were only willing to discuss what could be done to improve the Plaza, not the details or the process of how it was done.

      Yet just this week, Greg Lemhouse stated to the council, the DBC and the public:

      “…you know very well that all of (the Petitioner’s) questions have been answered many times and that no information has been kept from (them)."

      Mr. Lemhouse - Your new assertions fly in the face of Mr. Slattery's past statement, and the experience of many petitioners who have asked the council majority the "Unanswered Questions" (listed on the Petitioners' website). Mr. Slattery and the council majority, including you, have continually refused to even consider these questions.

      Mr. Lemhouse, please explain the apparent contradiction in your and Mr. Slattery's two statements to the public.

      And what of the councilor majority that is now caught-up in the midst of these contradictory statements? They are faced with a dilemma: Who’s account will they support, Dennis’s or Greg’s?

      I have talked with each of the council majority extensively in the past, and my and other's experience is: They all refused at the outset to discuss the details of the Plaza's creation. The Petitioners, as the petition states, feel that it is always incumbent upon elected officials to fully address the questions of their constituency. Yet details of the Plaza's creation have been consistently treated by the council majority as if they were "TOP SECRET."

      Mr. Lemhouse's recent public assertions have put councilors Pam, Rich, Mike, and now Dennis Slattery in a bit of an awkward position - Will they acknowledge their past, and well documented refusal to discuss the "Unanswered Questions" and the Plaza formation process with Petitioners and the rest of the public, or will they now do an about face, and back Mr. Lemhouse's new assertions that "all questions about the Plaza have been answered many times." The ethical integrity of the council majority is at stake here.

      If Mr. Lemhouse, Mr. Slattery, the council majority, and Mr. Kanner have indeed made direct responses to Petitioners questions recently re-posted on the Petitioners website (below), and if they have answered all questions of the Petitioners, as Mr. Lemhouse states, let them all now show evidence of such prior answers, in writing, to the public.

      The list of "Unanswered Questions," are posted on the Petitioner's website. Additional questions have been asked about the circumstances surrounding the Plaza's creation, and have also been ignored by the council majority.

      Dennis, Greg, council majority - When will you all finally address and answer all the “Unanswered Questions” about the Plaza? You have not done so to date, despite Mr. Lemhouse’s assertions.

    10. Unanswered Questions Department, cont:

      Unanswered Questions Department, cont:

      by Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza
      The following was sent by Petitioners to city administrator Dave Kanner, and to the Ashland city council earlier this year. To date: NO RESPONSE.

      After this letter was sent, Petitioners hired a CAD consultant, Travis Scott, who is mentioned earlier in these pages. He confirmed our assertions: Salmon colored pavers on renderings were deliberately assigned, and could have been gray or any color. Mr. Kanner and the Council, please address the following questions asked of you previously.

      January 2014

      City of Ashland, Oregon
      City Administrator
      Dave Kanner

      Dear Mr. Kanner,

      We ask that you give a full and detailed explanation to the public on the gray pavers that were selected for the Ashland Plaza. To date your explanations have been incomplete and inaccurate. In your response, please address the following:

      1. You have stated that Covey Pardee had a CAD system with only 5 colors available, yet looking at the official Ashland City Plaza Color renderings:

      http://www.ashland.or.us/Files/color%20renderings%20Plaza%20design.pdf

      Clearly 14+ colors: 4 shades of green, 3 shades of tan, 2 shades of blue, 1 shade of red and 4 shades of gray are evident on the official Plaza website of the city of Ashland. Please explain this inconsistency in your public and official explanations, with what is seen on the Renderings.

      2. You have stated (to the public and press) that the CAD system of Covey Pardee produced a default "salmon" color on the Color Renderings shown to the council and public. Yet it is clear by looking at the drawings on the website, that a gray color paver area strip was assigned to the semi-circle near the stage area. How can it be that gray was assigned only to a portion of the pavers, and not to all of it? Isn't this proof positive of a deliberate color assignment to at least some of the pavers? Why were the rest of the pavers left salmon color if not to show that salmon was the paver color of choice? Looking at the salmon pavers, and the other colors assignments on the renderings, and judging from what CAD consultants have commented to us, it is inconceivable that the salmon pavers shown on the Final Plaza Color renderings were not deliberately assigned that color by Covey. The explanation by you of a "default" salmon color for the pavers on the Renderings therefore is not plausible.

      3. Ann Seltzer attended the Sept 26th, 2012 meeting called by Covey to specifically decide the Plaza paver color. Yet she claims she did not get back to you, nor did you claim to have inquired of her what went on in the meeting. It is known that several contractors associated with the Plaza knew full well of the Gray Paver color selection color at the time soon after the Sept 26th meeting. Apparently, the paver color info was known to just a select few. All councilors, except for Greg Lemhouse, and perhaps Dennis Slattery, have expressed surprise at the selection of gray pavers. Why did you not receive the paver color information from the staff liaison, who was specifically at that meeting for that purpose? Why didn't you inquire about the paver color after the Sept 26th Arts Commission meeting?

      4. During the paver selection process in 2012, as City Administrator, you may have been asked by city councilors what color the pavers were going to be. Were you asked this question by anyone with the city at the time, and if so, by whom? If so, how did you respond?

      5. You have stated that no "actual colors" are shown on the drawings and those that say salmon color was shown on the pavers are missing the point. However the relevant colors in the drawing: Green colors for foliage, gray colors for the street, and Salmon color for the pavers are shown throughout the drawing, are supposedly representing the real colors intended for the Plaza. Since the public and council were told that these color renderings were the "Final Color Renderings of the Plaza," Councilors Mike Morris and Carol Voison, and perhaps other councilors, as did all of the public, assumed the pavers would be Salmon Color, as stated and shown on those "Final Plaza Color Renderings." It's not difficult to see why people were misled about the paver color. The very point of the renderings was to show the final relevant color selections. This document was shown to me by Councilor Rich Rosenthal during our conference. We further ask that you explain your position on these Renderings, and the fact that the paver color was switched, unbeknownst to almost everyone, at the last minute, and why this switch was not communicated to the council or the public at large, by you, city staff, or the councilors who knew.

      6. If councilor Greg Lemhouse assumed all along, as he has stated, that the pavers would be gray, why did he allow other councilors and the public to be misled that the pavers were salmon color, as shown on the Renderings? We suggest you ask him this.

      The paver selection process clearly was done in an obscure and covert manner. Mr. Kanner, it is never acceptable to make a public design decision of this magnitude without full public transparency.

      Please fully explain to the public all the apparent inconsistencies in your official positions and explanations.

      Sincerely,

      David Sherr
      Doug Burns
      Rik Burns
      Cici Brown
      Mark Brown
      Isabeau Vollhardt
      Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza

    11. The Goals of the Petitioners

      Since its inception, the first goal of the Petitioners has been to have the Plaza restored to a state which reflects the true qualities of Ashland and the vibrant and beautiful downtown historic district. The second goal of the Petitioners, is to ask the city council to explain to the public the process of "how" the Plaza redesign resulted in the Plaza looking so cold and gray.

      It’s been a while since the Petitioner’s goals for Plaza redesign have been restated. So here they are, again:

      First: The council should consult an historical architect and color consultant to make recommendations on how to bring the Plaza back into the context of the beautiful downtown historic district.

      Second: The dark gray, and very hot in the summertime pavers, should be replaced, in toto, with lighter pavers in complementary colors and patterns to the downtown district.

      Third: The Calle Walkway design team should be consulted to assist with the entire project. The Calle walkway is smashing - we could use their help!

      Fourth. Much more ever-greenery should be added to the Plaza and the green areas expanded significantly. This is one suggestion that has been adopted by the DBC, and will be implemented when the drought eases.

      Fifth: Reduce the amount of, or replace the concrete seat walls with benches.

      Sixth: An Arbor or fountain, as a central focal and theme point should be added to the northern Plaza's side (towards Siskiyou).

      The Plaza has taken on a helter-skelter appearance with all the random additions currently made, and this will only get worse with the 12 tables and 24 chairs soon to be added by the DBC and the city Administrator, who's stated purpose is simply to hide the ugly, hot gray pavers.

      For the sake of revitalizing our beautiful historic downtown Ashland, we urge the council and the DBC to adopt our suggestions.

    12. Pavergate: The Unanswered Questions - Part 1

      For many months, the following questions have repeatedly been asked of all Ashland City Councilors, and of City Administrator, Dave Kanner. To date, only very sketchy, inconsistent, or no answers have been forthcoming from any of them, except councilor Voisin. The public has been understandably frustrated with the responses coming from the council and Mr. Kanner.

      Consider this excerpt from an earlier email to a petitioner from councilman Dennis Slattery:

      On Sep 5, 2013, Dennis Slattery wrote to a petitioner:

      ”I have said from the very beginning I have no interest in your issues with how this was done, the process and your characterization of the work…” (on the Plaza.)

      The petitioners got the same message for everyone they met with on council majority. No one wanted to discuss the "how" of the creation of the Plaza, with anyone. All were told by all on the council majority that that subject was not up for discussion.

      Here are some of the issues raised by the Petitioners that the council majority and Administrator Kanner have refused to address:

      • Why do Dennis Slattery and Greg Lemhouse and other councilors maintain that 13 meetings were held to create the Plaza’s form, when the blueprint for the Plaza, CoveePardee “Plan B,” was shown for the first time to the public on June 21st, 2012, and was confirmed when it was announced at the start of the second public meeting, on July 9th, that it was the chosen Plaza plan? Only one public access meeting therefore was held for the public to consider the Plaza’s basic form, the one we see today. Only minor refinements were made thereafter. Many people have the impression they have been misled by official statements. • On what date did each of you become aware that dark gray pavers were slated for the Plaza? Surely some of you must have known in advance of the date they were seen on the Plaza.

      • Why did you not inform the press and the public of this?

      • Why did you allow salmon pavers to be represented to the public and press in official online renderings and printed documents, labeled: OFFICIAL PLAZA COLOR RENDERINGS, for nine months, even after it was decided on Sept 26, 2012, that gray pavers were the color of choice for the Plaza, and after you had become aware that gray pavers were the color of choice for the Plaza? Mr. Kanner's explanations of "software limitations" for the salmon pavers, have been refuted by a hired CAD expert.

      • Mr. Kanner must have been aware of the choice for the Gray pavers soon after the Sept 26, 2012 Arts Commission meeting, and certainly by mid- November after the Plaza team met to discuss all details of the Plaza. There were people within the city government who were aware of the Paver color choice. Why was the Public and Press not informed of this then?

      • Mr. Slattery, in response to the questions above at top: Why do you repeatedly state: “I did not expect the pavers to be that color gray.” But you never have said to the public the date when you first learned that the pavers were to be gray, or that you did not have knowledge of this fact beforehand. Mr. Slattery, it is apparent you have not fully answered these questions.

      • Councilors, explain these apparent inconsistencies in your statements, please.

    13. Councilors Lemhouse and Slattery extend invitations to discuss Plaza issues

      After many months of nonresponse to written questions from Plaza Petitioners, councilman Greg Lemhouse has just emailed the Petitioners, and volunteered to speak with them about all issues raised by them, and presumably by others in the community, concerning the Plaza.

      Since July 2013, the Petitioners have asked the Ashland City Council to hold a series of Public meetings to discuss Plaza issues, and urged the Ashland City Council to address citizens’ concerns surrounding the controversial creation of the Ashland Plaza in 2012 and 2013. To date, this call for public meetings has gone unanswered by all in the council majority.

      Mr. Lemhouse now indicates he is willing to hold “private” meetings, of individuals or small groups “on the record,” to discuss Plaza issues. Mr. Lemhouse further states to all Petitioners:

      “…if you are interested in having an open and honest discussion with me about my views on the Plaza and the facts surrounding the work done on the Plaza, just write me and we will set something up.”

      Mr. Lemhouse may be contacted at: greg@council.ashland.or.us

      The Petitioner’s have requested that Mr. Lemhouse make “on the record” recordings of all his private meetings with individuals concerning the Plaza, for the public to review.

      Councilman Dennis Slattery has also informed the Petitioners that he is willing to conduct email correspondence with the public concerning any Plaza issues, under certain conditions.

      Mr. Slattery may be contacted at: dennis@council.ashland.or.us

      While these invitations fall short of calling for “a series of Public meetings” to discuss Plaza issues, We hope it’s a start in the right direction.

      This still leaves former councilors Russ Silbiger, Dave Chapman, and current councilors Rich Rosenthal and Mike Morris, out of the discussions, and they are asked by the Petitioners to speak to specific issues raised by members of our community on Plaza events as well.

      Mr. Slattery and Mr. Lemhouse: Please also formally extend your invitations to the public in your own words. Also be advised that only those petitioners who have opted-in on the website feed will see these posts. And none of the petitioners who have signed on paper will see this notice, unless they happen to visit the site. That’s why extending your invitation to the general public as well will be helpful.

      Your public invitations for discussions and email correspondence will also be posted to the Petitioner’s website.

    14. Isabeau Vollhardt, SOU Adjunct Faculty, comments: The hot, unsafe Plaza

      Dear Dennis Slattery:

      I understand you are one of the people to contact regarding the downtown Ashland Plaza.

      As a licensed health care provider, I find two things about the Plaza inherently unsafe:

      1) the black color of the Plaza pavers, which creates a heat sink, raising temperatures on hot days to around 120 degrees (which is the documented unsafe level for temperature on artificial turf fields...because it sometimes kills young children). There will be no medical data to reflect whether or not there have been an increase in heat related emergencies or illnesses due to the black pavers on the Plaza because releasing that information would violate a patient's HIPAA rights under Federal Law. That being said: the original proposal for pavers was salmon, not black, and the various arguments i've seen about "the CAD program couldn't render the color properly" I find baffling. I've known people who have worked with CAD and would disagree. I also wonder, why would a City hire a landscape architect firm that was so incompetent as to use a computer program that didn't accurately render their plans when at a public City Council meeting? Personally, I don't think Covey/Pardee are incompetent. So please replace the Plaza pavers with a lighter color as soon as possible. This would demonstrate that you are concerned about the health and well being of residents and visitors to Ashland. Not doing so would leave that matter in doubt.

      2) the removal of healthy trees in December 2012 (the 28th to be exact, I was there), combined with the death of another tree that was not adequately protected by construction as City Ordinances require for all private construction projects, points out another health hazard that the Plaza creates: lack of evaporative cooling from old growth trees (the new ones planted on the Plaza will never attain the height of what was removed, according to arborists) and a source of reduced air pollution from exhaust fumes and smoke. Combined with the possibility of the remaining liquidambar trees being removed from downtown to make room for a truck loading zone (which seems in direct contradiction to the "road diet" which was voted FOR by Ashland constituents) the removal of trees that are otherwise healthy for the supposed reasons of being "a hazard" (when hazards can be ameliorated in other ways besides tree removal) or being "diseased" (when the disease may actually be able to be treated) not only shows a disregard for the position of trees with regard to public health because of what they provide every day for anyone in the area, but also shows a disregard for the expertise of local arborists, some of which I would hope are actually employed by the City.

      I hope you will take immediate action to a) change the Plaza paver color and b) to protect older trees in the downtown area (which will include a thorough study regarding what contributed to the death of the Red Maple rather than simply saying "we will never know"). City officials need to know what they are doing to the best of their ability, and if that means investigating, then that's what it means. City officials need to make amends to the public for projects that result in safety hazards such as the heat sink of the Plaza, and this can be done by simply changing pavers out (no heavy equipment or construction will even be required according to local experts in the profession).

      I look forward to seeing a renewed Plaza and the remaining liquidambar trees kept in place. By the way, many cities have designated truck loading times on busy streets to reduce congestion. It's practical and it's professional, and would fit in with the Road Diet plan. A truck loading zone would not.

      Isabeau Vollhardt, L.Ac., MSOM
      Adjunct Faculty
      Health, PE and Leadership Dept.
      College of Arts & Sciences
      Southern Oregon University

    15. Written signatures, signed in person, and online Petition Tally = 554!!!!!

      As we've mentioned many times on the Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza website, there have always been two ways to sign our petition: One, online; and the other, in person on paper petitions at various locations around town. Although signatures have not been actively solicited for many months (we've made our point!), signatures have still continued to come it. Tonight we just recounted the dozens of piles of paper petitions on hand, and, to our surprise, the grand total was 554!

      Tell a friend about us tonight, and make it 555! Thanks!

      Online petition tally: 358 signatures

      Paper petition tally: 196 signatures

      Ashland City Council: Restore the Beautiful Ashland Plaza

      Overview: The Ashland Plaza was recently transformed into a stark gray morass of pavers and angular concrete ledges. It lacks the historical ambience...

    16. Petitioners again ask City Council to Hold Public Meetings about the Plaza!

      Ashland City Councilman Greg Lemhouse has informed this site that he is willing to a hold a meeting with "anyone who wants to meet with me privately."

      So far the city council majority has ignored the call for PUBLIC meetings by Petition for Restoration of Our Plaza, sent to Ashland City Council last year, and signed by over 540 petitioners to date:

      Petitioners for Restoration of Our Plaza:
      "I am petitioning you to explain to the public how you arrived at your decision to implement the drab, gray non-historic renovation of the Ashland Plaza in the original planning and redesign. I urge you to hold a series of meetings on these issues and invite full public involvement and discussions on what steps can be taken to replace the drab gray pavers, introduce more greenery, and refine the design of the Plaza in order to recapture the essence of Ashland's historic charm and beauty."

      Mr. Lemhouse, private meetings may be helpful, but fall far short of the request by so many of your fellow citizens here in Ashland, whom you are charged to represent, for full public involvement and discussions about the Plaza.

      The difference is, besides full public involvement - At a private meeting, everything you say will be off the record, and "private." At a public meeting - all you say will be ON THE RECORD, and public.

      Public meetings are recorded, and can be reviewed by the public verbatim.
      Private meetings cannot.

      For months, many questions by Petitioners have fallen on deaf ears and have gone unanswered by the council majority and Mr. Kanner. A list of these "unanswered questions" will be posted here soon.

      It's a disgrace that our city council majority: Greg Lemhouse, Dennis Slattery, Mike Morris, Pam Marsh, and Rich Rosenthal, have ignored the Petitioners' call, and have refused to air concerns about the Plaza voiced by so many of the electorate in an open and public manner at community meetings!

    17. Past Tree Commissioner Bryan Holley on our city's plans for "Tree Topping"

      Bryan Holley:
      I can't emphasize enough with words how opposed all of us Tree Commissioners were to the concept of "topping" a tree. This is an ignorant, non-scientific, non-botanic, human-created notion of how to "help" a tree usually to meet some arbitrary human requirement. We all unanimously said repeatedly: "It is NEVER a good idea to top a tree." It's just that simple if you try to penetrate the tree botany and tree science. The French a couple centuries back created a technique known as 'pollarding' (an example is the courtyard in Golden Gate Park between the Academy of Science and the museum, a tree species known as plane sycamore). Pollarding, like espalier, is a way to train and domesticate a tree for an intentional reason. Topping is usually proposed by those who know nothing about trees. (also, a cultural flaw in some cultures as I saw many topped trees in our sister city of Guanajuato; and I saw many Chinese properties in SF, and in this town, top trees because of their failure to understand tree health).

      ...There are many very questionable tree-related "priorities" on (the DBC priorities) list, again revealing people who think of trees as pieces on a board game that can be moved around (i.e., put benches around trees, a terrible idea that treats the tree as an object around which a bench can be built.) Our metal tree grates are already a problem for some trees, yet for "public safety" reasons, a new generation of plastic grates wasn't even considered.

      So I remain more than concerned about every botanic species on the Plaza as this committee seems to be dominated by people who think life is a Monopoly game and our Plaza is a playground for whatever wacky idea somebody comes up with. We have dishonored our ancestors with this Plaza ruination, a project which should have gone to a national bid and a national contest to come up with fitting and proper proposals after a century and a half of use. But fixing the Plaza was never about the Plaza, it was about eliminating the riff-raff, i.e., free American citizens exercising their Bill of Rights freedoms. You can thank Councilor Lemhouse and Administrator Kanner for what they did to our Plaza.

      PROP: We urge everyone reading this to write/email the Downtown Beautification committee, the Ashland Tree Commission, and the Ashland City Council, and urge them not to consider topping trees in Ashland.

    18. Councilman Dennis Slattery weighs-in!

      Today, outgoing Councilman Dennis Slattery, in response to renewed questions from petitioners about his official roll in the secret selection of the “ugly” gray Plaza pavers, again refused to answer all questions. He then abruptly changed the subject, and instead volunteered the name of a lead petitioner for the rather unseemly title of: “The Ugliest Thing on the Plaza.”
      This attack response has been an all too common experience of people who dare question those in power responsible for the stark gray Plaza.

      This is also a rather odd comment, since the person Dennis nominated has routinely avoided the Plaza like the plague ever since it was transformed into a gray lifeless blob by the city last year. But Dennis has his own poll criteria, it seems. OK: We count this as one vote from an uncooperative and hostile witness.

      Going along with Dennis’s muse, we decided to take our own unofficial Plaza poll:

      We asked 32 people today on the Plaza:

      “What is the Ugliest Thing on the Plaza?”:

      Here are the official results of our poll:

      The Gray Pavers: 13 votes
      The concrete seat walls: 7 votes
      Information Booth colors: 5 votes
      Cigarette butts between pavers 4 votes
      Chewing gum on the pavers: 2 votes
      Bird droppings: 1 vote

      Sorry Dennis, no mention of petitioners. You’ve been out-voted!

      We then asked each person: “What is the Most Beautiful Thing on the Plaza?”

      The vast majority of folks who responded said: The Trees!

      We agree!

    19. August 12, 2014 Ashland Daily Tidings Quote:

      Downtown Beautification Committee Commissioner Michael "Dawkins said he is troubled by the personal attacks that have been made against city staff by residents who dislike the redesigned Plaza. 'It's not like there was a conspiracy,' he said, noting that the move to use dark gray pavers was made innocently without a full understanding of the uproar that would ensue once people saw how they actually looked installed over the Plaza's expanse."

      Mr. Dawkins: Many Petitioners are also troubled by your statements:

      • When a decision to pave the Plaza with dark pavers is made at an obscure Art Commission sub committee meeting in Sept 2012 by two people with no authority to make such a decision.
      • When this decision is kept from the City Administrator by Ann Seltzer, (he claims) and from the council majority (they claim), and for a significant time even from the main Art Commission (it claims), and for a fact from the citizens of Ashland and the press.
      • When many of the above involved deny knowledge of the paver color choice until they were actually installed on the Plaza in April of 2013.
      • When Mr. Kanner makes statements to public and press about the 5 color limits to Plaza color renderings to justify the mixup in colors, when this statement has been shown to be patently false.
      • When salmon pavers are shown to the public even after the Plaza task force is fully informed of the gray paver decision in November 2012 and the public and press is still not informed of the decision.
      • When the council majority and the city administrator refuse to answer many questions from over 540 petitioners and other citizens about their knowledge of the Plaza decision-making process.
      • When you and the DBC attempt to cover up and hide the ugly gray pavers with useless tables and chairs and other brick-a-brac instead of dealing squarely with the problem - Replacing all the ugly hot gray pavers.

      The decision for hot, dark gray pavers was made knowingly by the individuals in charge: This decision was knowingly concealed from the public and press by those involved. It was hardly an "innocent" decision. It's an open secret here that the Plaza was redesigned to discourage the homeless from camping-out. There are statements of record from Commissioner Beam to this effect.

      Mr. Dawkins, you appear to be the official apologist for the council, for Mr. Kanner and for the city. Mr. Kanner and some councilors, namely Mr. Lemhouse and Mr. Slattery, have consciously misled the public and the Downtown Beautification Committee when they said 13 meetings were involved in deciding the Plaza's form. In fact, there was just one meeting, on June 21st, 2012, when plan "B" was presented, sealing the Plaza's present form, and soon after (July 9th, 2012) it was ratified with no further public input. It was this constrictive "Plan B" that doomed the maple tree's surface roots, the subsequent cutting of which, despite repeated warnings, killed the tree. 

      Official pronouncements the public and press have received on the Plaza amount to newspeak and double-talk. 

      There has been a concerted attempt by city staff and the council majority to cover-up the truth of what really happened. 

      Our dysfunctional system of unenforceable Ashland City by-laws is in need of a major fix if we are to avoid screw-ups of this proportion in the future.

    20. David Helmich comments:

      David Helmich ASHLAND, OR:

      Old boys network gone wrong again!

      PROP:
      David, you've touched on an issue that has affected our entire town. There appears to be an old boys (and girls) oligarchy within our city government which acts by pure fiat, in disregard of established guidelines. The city's guidelines for official conduct are largely optional, and those in power know this. City councilors, our city administrator, staff and commissioners can, at their discretion disregard standard operating procedures and proceed at will to enact their resolutions for the city. The new Plaza was largely created in this manner. Unless this system is fundamentally overhauled, we will have more debacles like the Plaza in the future. Just wait until you see the new "Art Installations" being planned for our city. It's science fiction!

    21. More Inconsistencies emerge in City Administrator's Kanner's comments:

      More Recently City Administrator and former Tree Commissioner Bryan Holley were interviewed by KOBI Channel 5:

      To view this, click on the link at:

      https://www.facebook.com/PreserveAshlandsHistoricPlaza

      Kanner (KOBI interview): "'Is it possible that something happened during plaza construction? Sure. Do we know for a fact that something happened during plaza construction? No,' said Kanner."

      PROP: We are told by city staff members that Kanner was advised by Ashland Park officials before and during Plaza site construction that cutting the maples roots would adversely impact the tree. Therefore, he must have known this for a fact. Yet he did nothing to stop it.

      KOBI news report: "According to Kanner, before work on the plaza began, the soil around the tree was already heavily compressed. Compacted soil makes it difficult for water and oxygen to move through the ground."

      This statement is not accurate. Have a look for yourselves at the arborist's report on the Plaza trees in August 2012:

      https://ashland.or.us/Files/8%2017%2012%20Plaza%20Tree%20Report%20%282%29.pdf

      The arborist report states:

      The Plaza maple has "Fairly full canopy, decent annual growth and the volume of soil suggest this tree will have few problems over the next several years. Soil appears to be a bit compacted even though it appears to be decomposed granite."

      PROP: It's obvious that hacking away the otherwise healthy maple's surface roots mandated by CoveyPardee Plaza "Plan B" was a prime cause for the maple's demise.

      We'll have to wait for a full arborist's report on the cause of the maple's death. But will the city authorize this?Inconsistencies emerge in City Administrator's Kanner's comments:

    22. Stephen Coffman comments:

      Stephen Coffman ASHLAND, OR

      This is important to me because the plaza is the center of our town and reflects the spirit of Ashland as such. Personally, I think the pavers and the tile under the benches are both quite ugly. I would like to see a process of public inclusion in the redesign of the Plaza. Thank you so much.

      Steve

      PROP: Yes that's it exactly Steve - We need a process of public inclusion. This "FrankenPlaza" was the product of public exclusion and rushed top down fiat. Look at the Calle Walkway - what a beautiful result can take place when a process is created where people can publicly vet their ideas! Thanks for your support!

    23. The Sunset Maple on the Plaza was likely doomed by Covey's Plaza "Plan B"

      The original blueprints for the Plaza redesign, presented to the public on June 21st 2012, did not take into consideration the extensive lateral surface root matrix of the Sunset Maple that has just died on the Plaza. Typically in this region, this variety of Maple will send long surface roots out, and produce a shallow tap root. The maple’s root lattice is approximately the diameter of the leaf canopy of the tree, just underground, near the surface. If you will go down to the Plaza, you will see the dead leaf canopy projects well outside the concrete seat walls that hem in the maple.

      Two park officials have just stated privately that the surface roots of this maple were significantly cut during the construction process despite warnings against doing this by other city officials. An arborist should be consulted to determine the postmortem forensics of the maple, but it is obvious that extensive hacking of the roots contributed to this maple's demise. Even if this maple had been screened off during construction, as it should have been, Covey's “Plan B” blueprints all but guaranteed that the surface roots would have to be hacked away to make way for the concrete seat walls and pavers. Why wasn't an arborist consulted at the outset?

    24. Calle walkway project is stunning

      Letter to the Editor, published in the Ashland Daily tidings, May 7th, 2014

      The new Calle Walkway is a stunning example of the beautiful public works projects our city is capable of creating when teamwork and citizen input is actively engaged.

      The classic herringbone pattern of the bricks ties in beautifully with the downtown's historic architecture. And the playful curves of the walkway mirror the meandering creek. The walkway references both the past and the present.

      We would love to see the Parks team that gave us this lovely walkway included in the redesign efforts for our Plaza. Downtown Beautification Committee, here is the inspiration and vision we have been seeking. Congratulations to Mr. Robertson and the entire Parks Department for creating this inspiring project!

      David and Lisa Sherr

      Ashland

    25. Dozens of new written signatures!

      Thread Hysteria on the Plaza has been gathering written signatures on our petition over the last several weeks, as has Bloomsbury's Coffee, and at last count there were over 40 new written signatures on the petition! We're well over the 500 count by now, even though signatures have not been actively solicited in months by Petition organizers, but they still keep coming in. Comments have been very strongly in support by both locals and visitors for the creation of a greener, more welcoming and colorful Plaza.

      Umi's Sushi on the Plaza also has has a petition going for months, as did Alex's, when it was in business. The consensus among Plaza shopkeepers is far from favoring the status quo on the Plaza. Ashland City Council, are you finally getting the message? We hope so!

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • David Helmich ASHLAND, OR
      • 3 months ago

      Old boys network gone wrong again!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Stephen Coffman ASHLAND, OR
      • 3 months ago

      This is important to me because the plaza is the center of our town and reflects the spirit of Ashland as such. Personally, I think the pavers and the tile under the benches are both quite ugly. I would like to see a process of public inclusion in the redesign of the Plaza. Thank you so much.

      Steve

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eoghan McDowell ASHLAND, OR
      • 4 months ago

      I love Ashland.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Echo Fields ASHLAND, OR
      • 5 months ago

      The plaza is nothing but a concrete wasteland now. Might as well have turned it into more parking....

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Heidi Jensen ASHLAND, OR
      • 6 months ago

      Our Plaza was destroyed and needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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