Ashland could ease drive-thru restrictions

The Ashland City Council will consider whether to ease restrictions on drive-thru windows that were adopted in the 1980s to reduce gas consumption and air pollution.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

The number of drive-thru windows allowed in town still would be limited to 12, but the council could choose to allow four drive-thru windows downtown to move.

Under the present rules, the banks that have those four windows would lose the ability to use them if they changed locations or remodeled.

The Ashland Food Co-op is pushing for the change because it would like to someday expand onto the nearby Umpqua Bank property.

Negotiations between the co-op and bank likely would fail if the bank could not move to a different site and take along its ability to have a drive-thru window, according to co-op representatives.

In other business on Tuesday night, the City Council will decide whether to confirm the appointment of Portland resident Mark Holden to be the new head of the city-owned Ashland Fiber Network and electric department.

Holden, who has a business background in technology, communications and marketing, would begin work on Sept. 4.

The city has lacked directors for AFN and the electric department for some time and decided to meld the two posts into one position.

Also on Tuesday, councilors are scheduled to consider whether to place an item on the November ballot that would allow voters to express their disapproval of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to more spending on political campaigns.

The council also will discuss a request from the Ashland Conservation Commission that the city apply environmentally sustainable standards to any redesign of the downtown Plaza.

The council has yet to decide whether to approve a controversial plan to redesign the Plaza.

The plan would lead to more concrete, less lawn and the gradual removal of large trees that are suffering in the restricted urban environment.

Pavers that allow water to percolate through potentially could be used underfoot in place of concrete, although that would add to the cost of the project.

A major reconstruction of Ashland's downtown Plaza could cost $227,322 — but officials believe they could bring down the cost by having city employees do part of the work on the project.

If the City Council doesn't reach all items on its agenda, those items automatically move forward to the next regular meeting.

For a complete list of agenda items and for details on each item, visit

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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