Mount A decision still not made
The injunction invoked by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in regard to the proposed Mount Ashland Ski Area expansion has shown that there is a good chance that the plaintiffs may win on the merits of the case.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the appeal "raises serious legal issues ... regarding the Pacific fisher."
There are at least another dozen issues that will be heard on appeal by the 9th Circuit Court in Portland. It is entirely possible that the court could rule that the project does not meet the letter of the law in multiple ways, thus stopping the proposed expansion, at least for now.
Whether the 9th rules for the plaintiffs, city taxpayers are still threatened with the increased liability of ski expansion for restoration if the ski area closes and for increased sedimentation into the city's municipal reservoir.
If the plaintiffs win &
Mount Ashland may be back with additional expansion proposals. If the plaintiffs lose &
Mount Ashland will be on their way to cutting 70 acres in the municipal watershed. Those trees will be cut on nearly 20 acres that are creek-side areas or on unstable ground.
Once those trees are cut, the liability will greatly increase &
whether the expansion is ever completed. The only way to keep this liability in check is for the Ashland City Council to continue holding authority over the proposed expansion. Until Mount Ashland shows the city a real business plan, until Mount Ashland puts up enough money to pay for restoration (estimated at a minimum of $2 million) and until a quality-assurance team is in place (with or without Mount Ashland's participation), the city should hold on tight to the reins.
An even better idea is for Mount Ashland to sit down with the plaintiffs and reach an agreement, which will protect the fragile Middle Branch, be more affordable (not the $17 million estimate for the current proposal), provide needed improvements (such as replacement of Ariel lift and remodeling the ski lodge &
neither is included in the proposed expansion) and enhance the skier experience.
Until Mount Ashland does so, the City Council must continue to protect taxpayer liability by insisting on a real business plan, gathering enough money to cover restoration and proceeding with the quality-assurance team.
Ashland suffers from negativity
In his editorial on April 25, George Kramer was right on with comments regarding the obstructionism that has been perpetrated by a few negative, and outspoken, individuals in our community.
Little has been served by their negative attitudes and actions other than to require builders of worthwhile projects to spend more time, effort and money to go through an already cumbersome bureaucratic process with no guarantee of approval no matter what their effort.
When I moved to Ashland 17 years ago, as an architect, I saw a vibrant community with many riches in its buildings, parks, theaters and citizens.&
A lot has gone wrong since then, usually instigated by the vocal minority mentioned above and incremental minded members of our Planning Commission.
Ashland should be a showplace of creativity in its architecture as it is in its theater, music and culture in general. Instead it's becoming a pseudo-Disneyland echoing poor copies of historical details. Prior to moving to Ashland I practiced architecture in a community with a great deal of history, where the Planning Department, Planning Commission and City Council successfully encouraged contemporary buildings to be designed to blend with the historical presence.
Much of the recent building and development that has taken place has been a poor attempt to create an atmosphere of old-time craftsman and Victorian architecture, instead of encouraging contemporary buildings that blend with the old historical ones that we treasure for what they are and represent in the history of our city. What history will we have to show 100 years from now &
poor copies of 200-year-old buildings?
There is still time to keep Ashland as that special place we can be proud of. Our new planner must be supported and encouraged to give us a vision of what we should be and what we can be. He can lead us to focus on the present and the future without being hung up on the past. We should stop our micromanaging, as our Historic Commission, Planning Commission, City Council and the few negative, vocal people have been guilty of. It's time to spend more time on the big picture and our future.
We have seen good architecture and design in the New Theater, the High School Commons and Theater, the New Fire Station and Library. It would be nice to see our vocal minority exercise some positive input rather than only displaying negativism.
Ted Mularz, F.A.I.A.,
Mount Ashland decision still not made; Ashland can suffer from negativity
Mount A decision still not made