Action Alert: Logging of Healthy Trees by City – Speak Out about It (read below)

URGENT: Vote by Ashland Parks and Rec Commissioners on proposed logging of 2 mature, healthy Douglas fir trees is scheduled for Mon. Jan 28th (7pm, Ashland Council Chambers) 
Dear Friends of Lithia Park, Re: Opposing proposed logging for the expansion and renovation of the Japanese Garden Last night (Jan. 24) I attended a public input meeting hosted by the Ashland Parks and Rec Commissioners.  I went to express my opposition to their proposal to log two healthy, mature Douglas fir trees (in a beautiful grove of 12 firs) just north of the Japanese Garden. These two valuable trees were planted by the Boy Scouts in 1924.  Now they are 120 feet tall and about 50 inches in diameter.  Unfortunately, their days are numbered, unless we act. I walked away from the meeting very alarmed.  It appears that the Parks and Rec Commissioners, with strong support from the Ashland Parks Foundation, are moving toward approving the proposed logging when they vote on Monday evening, Jan. 28th (7 pm at the Ashland Council Chamber). It’s hard to believe, but they are ignoring the dissent and opposition from Ashland’s Tree Commission! See the background documentation (below) and my critiques of their decision-making process (at the end). Make your opinion known to Ashland officials!  Come speak on the 28th!  Spread the word! And send feedback to Parks Director Mike Black, using the online form at: For the trees, Julie Norman >> EXCERPTS OF PLANNING DOCUMENTS BELOW (BOLDING OF QUOTES BY ME) … =========================================EVALUATION & PROJECT DIRECTION FOR JAPANESE GARDEN RENOVATION (JUNE 2018)from Ashland Parks and Rec website ( “The current Japanese Style garden was evaluated during the Lithia Park Master Plan Process. During design week in June 2018, it was determined that the garden could potentially be redesigned and even expanded without negatively affecting the adjoining park spaces.” ===================ARBORIST’S TREE HEALTH REPORT AND RISK ASSESSMENT, BY MIKE OXMAN (Jan. 19, 2019) “I was asked by Parks Superintendent Mike Oxendine to examine 2 fir trees and give my opinion of their stability. I was told a proposed remodel design of the Japanese Garden includes a proposal to expand the size of the garden and place a bamboo garden where the 2 trees are located.”Species: Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)Estimated heights: 120′-130 tallTrunk diameters: Tree #1: 53″; Tree #2: 46″Age: 95 years; planted in 1924 by the Boy Scouts of America “The 2 trees are the southernmost members of a linear grove of 12 Douglas Fir trees. The 200′ long grove … runs parallel to the street. Length of lower limbs is about 30′, which means the dripline width of Trees #1 and #2 is about 60′.” “No cavities or other defects in the wood are evident. … The base of the tree and visible root collar appear sound.” “The metabolic condition of the trees is healthy. These trees are growing well and becoming larger each year. The trunks appear to be clear of limbs for about 30′ above the ground. … The uniform taper of the trunks and lack of cavities or seams indicates strong wood.” The asymmetrical canopy indicates mature stand conditions resulting from close spacing of trees.  The excavation of the root crown confirms soil quality is good, and there is no decay of structural roots.” “The … removal of the 2 largest trees in the grove could have adverse side effects. The remaining trees have developed qualities of resisting stress from wind and other conditions within the protected shelter of Tree #1 and Tree #2. The edge effect of newly exposed trees that were previously shielded could promote unanticipated breakage and tree failure.” “Trees #1 and #2 have a low risk rating, because they do not have such defects and have a long life expectancy.” ===================ENDORSEMENT LETTER FROM ASHLAND PARKS FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBERSto Ashland Parks and Rec Commissioners (Jan. 23, 2019): “Only those trees inside the existing garden that have no chance for a significant life span will be replaced, with two exceptions. On the outskirts of the existing Japanese Garden is a grove of twelve significantly sized Douglas fir trees.  On the leading southern edge of the grove are two of the largest trees of the group that fall within the proposed [expanded] boundary of the new Japanese Garden.” “Ashland Parks Foundation acknowledges that these trees are healthy; however, their location in the garden is not consistent with the proposed [redesign] plan, and we recommend that those two trees be removed.” “The wood from the trees could potentially be milled to provide materials for the new Japanese Garden, for fencing, benches and so on.” =============PACKET TO PARKS AND REC COMMISSIONERS (Jan. 24, 2019) from Director Michael Black,in advance of their Jan. 28  meeting and decision on the Japanese Garden renovation plan: 1.  GOALS OF THE JAPANESE GARDEN RENOVATION:”The Ashland Parks Foundation has proposed a renovation of the existing Japanese Style Garden in order to create a truly authentic and ADA accessible Japanese Garden for the citizens of Ashland and APRC.” 2.  ENDORSEMENT BY ASHLAND PARKS FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBERS:”The Foundation presents a letter that asks the Commissioners to review andapprove the plan as it is currently constituted.” 3.  ASHLAND TREE COMMISSION’S DISSENT ON REMOVAL OF TWO FIRS:”The Tree Commission dissented from the plan slightly, due to the proposed removal of two Douglas Fir trees. The Tree Commission did a visual inspection of the trees and determined that they were healthy. … Consequently, the Tree Commission could not apply their criteria for removal of the trees, and therefore recommended that the trees remain and be incorporated into the plan.” 4.  SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS:”The Foundation has made a request that the plan be voted on as it has been presented.” “Park Staff is recommending that the Commissioners review the proposal and make a motion according to the way the plan has been presented.” “Possible Motion:  I move to (approve or approve with conditions) the design for the Japanese Garden as presented by the Ashland Parks Foundation and direct staff to begin the process of contracting the project and start construction at the earliest point in time.” END OF MIKE BLACK’S PACKET FOR JAN. 28TH PARKS AND REC COMMISSION MEETING AND DECISION =========================MY 3 CRITIQUES of the PARKS AND REC DECISION-MAKING PROCESS:(a) The project design direction (ie. “without negatively affecting the adjoining park spaces”) that wasestablished in June 2018 (see at top) is being ignored by the Ashland Parks Foundation, at least one of the Parks and Rec Commissioners, and the Parks and Rec Director. (b) The dissenting opinion and recommendation from the Tree Commission are being ignored and were omitted from the summary of decision-making recommendations from the Parks Director (end of Packet). (c) A Parks and Rec Commissioner, who joined my table for collecting public input at their Jan. 24th public meeting, had made up his mind to vote for logging the two fir trees.  He ignored the dissent by the Tree Commissionand emphasized his personal reasons to cut down the two trees.=====================Thank you for listening,
Julie Norman, landowner and