Council adopts conservation, business goals

The Ashland City Council has adopted aggressive goals to increase the number of Internet businesses by 50 percent and to cut water and electricity use in town by 5 percent to 10 percent.

It's not clear yet how many Internet-based businesses exist in Ashland.

Defining an Internet-based business is tricky since some businesses rely completely on the Internet, while many more use it to augment their businesses or use it as an important tool, according to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.

Ashland has a long history of conservation efforts, but councilors want to send a message to residents about the importance of conservation with the goal to cut water and electricity usage by 5 percent to 10 percent.

"Five to 10 percent lets people know we need to start conserving," Councilor Carol Voisin said.

Conservation already is an important part of Ashland's long-range plan to maintain and improve its water system.

If Ashland can't control electricity usage, the Bonneville Power Administration — which wholesales electricity to the Ashland Electric Department — will hit the town with higher bills on the extra power used.

In adopting the 2013-15 goals earlier this month, the council also approved a goal to create a permanent jobs commission.

A 2012 survey of residents found that people were happy with most aspects of Ashland, but they said job opportunities were lacking.

Other goals adopted by the council include:

  • Increase safety and security downtown;
  • reduce fire risks;
  • minimize the incidence and impacts of homelessness;
  • provide opportunities for those who are struggling to thrive, not just survive, in Ashland;
  • promote affordable housing;
  • continue economic development efforts;
  • provide a neighborhood park within one-quarter mile of every home.

To read a complete list of adopted goals, visit

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

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