Attending: John Brandt, Nick McDonough, Orville Rice, Tanya Beard, Jeff Bickford, Matt Thorburn, Wynn Cudmore
Recorder: Jolene Parker
Introduction to Tanya Beard and Status of our Native Seeds:The group did introductions, welcoming Tanya Beard, the new botanist with Public Works. Matt said Tanya was replacing Susan Morre, who has gone back to continue her education. Susan is now working as a temp hire to assist Tanya with the transition.
Tanya said her initial tasks included inventorying the native seeds and updating the native seed network. She is also pursuing grant options, primarily for Aumsville Ponds. Tanya said she is a graduate of Oregon State University, with a degree in plant biology. She has worked as a manager of a retail nursery, then worked for Oregon State Corrections for 2½ years, teaching horticulture to inmates. John Brandt said he is very impressed with volunteer opportunities, and asked if she had a role in sustaining these opportunities. She said she did, and that we have a couple of excellent volunteer coordinators who assist us.
Tanya said Bonesteele Park is being scheduled for mowing, spraying, and sowing in the near future. The mowing will take place in the planted portion of the park, and the spraying and sowing efforts will be concentrated in the 6-acre site up above the current restoration. Volunteers will also be scheduled for weeding projects in the front and roadside portions of that park. Nick asked what herbicide would be used. Tanya said Round-Up is the only herbicide used by the department.
She said Aumsville Ponds has already seen a group of volunteers who continued work on the long-term ivy removal project on the back portion of the park. In addition to weed removal, those volunteers also had an opportunity to plant two different flower species near the parking lot area at the front of the park.
As part of her native seed inventory, she said the native seeds have now been completely cleaned, packaged, weighed, filed, and catalogued. In addition, we have sold approximately $1500.00 worth of seed since the fall 2002 harvest. The folks who have indicated interest in purchasing native seed have all been sent the newest availability list, and the Native Seed Network has been updated—although they are still working on changing the minimum order from 1 pound to 1 ounce
Orville said we had 3,803.5 volunteer hours, which is equivalent to 1.83 FTE’s. He said a good portion the volunteer hours came from St. Louis Fish Ponds, because of the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s park hosts. He said we have been using a lot of volunteers for school projects and have a SOLV project coming up. There are other projects in the near future that are open to the public. Orville said Glenis Chapin, the county’s volunteer coordinator, has been steering a lot of people interested in volunteering to the Parks program. Matt said we try to never say no to someone that wants to volunteer, which means many Saturday projects.
Parks Update:Orville then did an update on parks for the group, which was broken into the following categories:
We recently had some graffiti at Spongs Landing. We have had five wooden picnic tables destroyed at various parks. Two wooden picnic tables were stolen from Santana Park. We continue to have a problem with people driving in Santana Park and damaging turf. A rubber garbage can was set on fire in the restroom at North Fork Park. The restrooms were recently painted as part of an Eagle Scout project, and will now need to be repainted. A handicap parking and park boundary sign was destroyed at North Fork Park. The metal grate on the fish ladder at Salmon Falls Park was vandalized. Somebody set the garbage can on fire and burnt an American flag at Joryville Park. Orville suggested putting a “no dumping” sign up at Bonesteele Park, due to continued littering.
2. Eagle Scout Projects.
We had two Eagle Scout projects completed in our parks. One project at North Fork Park involved refinishing and repainting the wooden park sign. The restroom and changing rooms were pressure washed and repainted. The second project involved restoring a trail and picnic site at Minto park.
3. Upcoming events.
On May 16 & 17, 2003, we will be having a SOLV project at the Aumsville Ponds removing non-native vegetation and picking up litter. We will be constructing a stairway down to the river at Bear Creek Park.
4. Volunteer hours.
As of December 31, 2002, Marion County Parks had a total of 3,803.5 volunteer hours, which is equivalent to 1.83 FTE’s.
Results of the Laminated Root Rot Project at Minto Park:Orville said we have recently completed the laminated root rot project at Minto Park. The project involved harvesting infected timber, cleaning up debris, repairing the roadway, and replanting with resistant native plants. We received $14,000 in timber sales. Labor, equipment and materials for the project came to $9,189.19.
Orville said he would like to do another tree removal along the trails because many are dead or sick. He said we took 9 log truckloads out on the initial project. He said we would have at least that much in the second tree removal project. We are replanting with cedar and alder because root rot attacks fir.
Browns Island Trail:Jeff said this is a 60-acre parcel of land, adjacent to the Willamette River, and runs along the City of Salem’s Minto-Brown Park. He said it is actually part of the same parcel as Minto Brown Park, and is becoming part of the Parks program through a partnership with Environmental Services, now a division of Public Works and formerly Solid Waste.
Jeff said a past problem was erosion of cropland when it flooded. He said we are looking to alleviate this problem, by working with the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Jeff said with the planting of native trees and shrubs, we are looking to enhance soil retention. In past years we irrigated the property and had young seedlings and saplings, which we were mulching. The property was maintained with the use of inmate labor, and is in good shape. Jeff said the department probably wouldn’t mulch next year, as there hasn’t been any flooding in a couple of years. He said he thinks the plantings are sturdy enough that they will survive getting inundated.
Jeff said the department wanted to develop a trail system that will tie in with Minto Brown’s trail system. He said we used asphalt grindings we had in reserve at Aumsville Ponds and made a foot/bike path, so the path will be usable year round. He said it doesn’t quite connect with Minto-Brown because they have dirt paths that circle near, but added that PW staff met with City staff last month and offered them these grindings to use on their paths. He said it’s his understanding that they will create a connector that runs along the riverfront and connects with Browns Island’s trail. He said hopefully next spring or summer, we will complete the project.
Jeff said the landfill will probably become part of the 50-Year Plan, and will eventually become a lake. He said the demolition landfill still has approximately 15 years of use. John asked if the riverbank is hardened. Jeff said the center area had some rock put into it, but most is just compacted dirt with a lot of blackberries. John asked if there was any interest in replanting the banks. Jeff said working along the Willamette is very difficult and permits are necessary for almost everything, so no replanting is planned.
John asked where the asphalt grindings originated. Orville said they were left over from construction on Hwy. 22, which were stored at Aumsville Ponds when ODOT owned this land. John asked if we would consider giving some of these grindings to other communities. Jeff said that would depend on how much the department needed because there won’t be anymore in the future. Wynn asked what public access there is to Browns Island. Jeff said the only access is primarily through Minto Brown. It’s estimated that it is approximately one-mile from the nearest parking area. Matt said the City of Salem indicated that the Park Patrol may patrol Browns Island in addition to Minto Brown.
Wynn asked if the planting had matured to the point it could withstand flooding. Jeff said he thought they had. Some of the plantings (e.g., willow, dogwood, and maple) have matured very well. Jeff said the name of Browns Island Park is temporary, and that the county is looking for a new name. Wynn said it would be nice to have a name that wouldn’t be confused with Minto Brown. There was discussion regarding the name Brown, which came from a homesteader. There was discussion about opening the suggestions to the public, and everyone thought it would be good to have a unique name tied to it’s history.
Renaming Evergreen Wayside to Rodger’s Wayside:Jeff gave some background on this issue. He said that Rodgers Wayside used to be on Hwy. 22 across from Niagara Park. There was a realignment on the road and the wayside was closed in the 1970’s. The name “Rodgers” came from one of the original Parks Commissioners that was very active. There has been a request to the Board of Commissioners from his grandson, requesting that a current or new park be named after him. Jeff said there was a discussion on renaming Evergreen Wayside to Rodgers Wayside. He doesn’t think it will be a problem because Evergreen is a very generic name. Jeff said he has been trying to contact Mr. Rodgers to ask if this park will meet his needs/requirements, but hasn’t gotten confirmation. If it is, we will propose this to the BOC. He said any feedback would be welcome. All commissioners agreed this would be a good idea.
Parkland Acquisition and Funding:Matt said by way of background, we hit a few bumps with the Labish acquisition. The landowners are very opposed to the acquisition, and based on conversations with these stakeholders, the BOC are now asking questions regarding policy criteria and choice. There are also questions regarding the reasoning over acquiring more parks land and the criteria for selecting parks land. Matt was asked by the BOC to accumulate this data. He said this is very similar to the Heritage Parks Plan. The only difference is the source of financing/funding.
Conservation easement acquisitions (currently directed toward Labish)
For parks, can only be used to acquire access or conservation easements.
Lake Labish acquisition and restoration (via purchase of Detroit property)
Earmarked for “Lake Labish Restoration Project.” Changing expenditure could jeopardize funding.
Restoration at Aumsville and Bonesteele Parks
Dedicated to native plant restoration and weed removal at Aumsville and Bonesteele Parks.
Community Dev. (MWVCoG)
Staircase at Bear Creek Park
Grant dedicated to staircase construction.
Partners in Wildlife (USFWS)
Restoration at Bonesteele Park
Contractual dedication to six acres at Bonesteele.
Mitigation funds (ODOT, Salem)
Restoration and maintenance of wetlands.
Time sensitive. May be restricted to Lake Labish, at a certain scale. Some flexibility depending on DSL.
RV Funds & SDCs
Basic parks maintenance and facilities improvements
Dedicated to general parks expenditures. (Annual figure)
Total funds allocated and pending:
Matt said there is concern from Commissioners that existing parks are suffering, and they questioned why the focus isn’t on the existing parks facilities. He went over alternative policy options, and then reviewed the “Policy Alternatives Analysis,” that details each policy alternative, and associated implications (social, environmental, economic, and political). He will be presenting this information to the Board of Commissioners tomorrow morning, and asked the Parks Commissioners for their input and feedback before his presentation.
Matt said a lot of the funding is tied to the Lake Labish project, and if we don’t establish a product, we will probably lose the funding. He also said Jim has expressed interest in land banking, as long as we don’t have to expend a lot of parks dollars in maintaining the land. Matt said this would not be on the same scale as it was two years ago when the BOC adopted the Natural Heritage Parks Program. He said there is some concern given the current state of the economy, if the county should be directing money to parks.
John asked how the four listed assumptions were generated. Matt said they came from recent conversations with the Board of Commissioners. The assumptions in question are:
1. The Marion County park system needs to add new parkland.
2. Any parkland acquired in the near term should be restored as part of the Natural Heritage Parks system.
3. Restoring pre-EuroAmerican settlement ecosystem has value within the context of the parks system.
4. Nature parks are the most cost efficient way to gain social, environmental, and economic benefits from a new park site.
Matt said the parks program could do some parks maintenance through external funding and partnerships. There was discussion regarding acquisition of parks land. Matt said any acquisitions wouldn’t be immediate, but would take place over time. John said Matt makes the case very well for level of service. He said in Stayton the consultant group they use is MIG. This consultant group’s argument is that rather than using level of service calculations, it’s more accurate to use community demands and/or needs. John asked when Marion County last did any type of survey with citizens of their opinions on parks. Orville said a survey was handed out on the ferry with minimal response. John said most studies now show that there is an enormous consensus amongst the people that nature parks are extremely important. The study demonstrated not only the support from citizens, but also the financial benefit of them. He said he wonders if through careful contact with stakeholder groups, there might be a case that can be built of the support of nature parks. He said this would be an enormous task, but could assist in documenting citizens’ thoughts for future planning.
There was discussion regarding the demand for nature parks, and Matt is gathering feedback from the Parks Commission before forwarding a recommendation to the Board. Orville said historically we have done parks improvements in most areas, with the exception being playground equipment. This is because it is so expensive. Matt asked the group if they saw value in holding community meetings to gauge community support. John said Stayton supported parks thru SDC’s, and once again, suggested bringing in a professional to assist in planning. Matt said we receive SDC funds, but they are already allocated.
Matt said if it decided that this is a definite priority, lottery funds might be an option. This is a decision that is within the Board’s control. He said the Council of Governments (COG) has Public Works grants that we can apply for. He asked Board members if they saying they want to see a community master plan added to the recommendations. All said yes, and John added that without a good solid plan, the response would be shortsighted and narrow.
Matt said he would supply each parks commissioner with a final copy of the recommended policy alternatives. He asked how they would like to receive it, and all said by email would be best. Matt will be sending this to the Board of Commissioners tomorrow morning, and there is a meeting on Wednesday morning. After that, he will have some follow-up information for the group.
Open Discussion – MC Park’s 5-Year Master Plan:Matt said we are in the unenviable position of establishing plans without a guiding document. He suggested roughing out something internally, then having an external consultant assist. He added we would like to have a conservation plan for Bonesteele and Aumsville Ponds. Matt said we went through a process at last year’s commission meeting on what facilities had been repaired and what needed to be repaired, noting a five-year plan would be extremely helpful.
John said in the master plan for the City of Stayton, they identified where they wanted parks, then made this part of the developers planning requirements. He suggested that we pick sites, look at planned developments, request requirements for the developer to create park in the development, and make it part of the standard/criteria. Nick asked if a percentage of a subdivision was required to be parks land. John said it formerly did, but that was unworkable. Now they identify where they want the park and the developer creates it.
By-Laws & Charter for Parks Commission:Matt distributed a copy of the By-Laws and Charter, telling attendees that all members’ terms expired on December 31, 2002. Those attending were asked if they would like to serve a second term, which must be approved by BOC. John, Wynn, and Nick all agreed to serve a second term. Public Works staff will contact Roy Hari and Dwayne Stevenson regarding their interest in serving a second term, and put together a BOC staff report and order to reappoint members. If Dwayne and Roy decide to serve a second term, this would two vacancies. Matt will contact Glenis Chapin once we hear from Roy and Dwayne, and ask her to give publicize commission vacancies to local area newspapers.
The group discussed holding regularly scheduled meetings. Nick suggested a holding brainstorming session, and Jeff agreed. There will also be a need for interviewing any new applicants for the Board. John will serve as Chair of the Nominating Committee. The group decided that it will hold meetings on a quarterly schedule. The next meeting will be held in mid– May. Staff will inform the commission of the specific date of the next meeting.
Adjourned:With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.