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Agenda & Minutes

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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, October 10, 2019

October 10, 2019                            

6:00 p.m.
Medford City Hall, Medford Room
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon

The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room of Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:

Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Kay Brooks (arrived at 6:49 p.m.), Tim D’Alessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski (arrived at 6:20 p.m.); City Manager Brian Sjothun, CFO/Deputy City Manager Ryan Martin, Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard; Building Director Sam Barnum, Planning Director Matt Brinkley, Police Chief Scott Clauson, Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Greg Kleinberg, Principal Planner Carla Paladino
Mayor Gary Wheeler and Councilmember Eric Stark were absent.
Wood and Shake Shingles
Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Greg Kleinberg outlined the differences between shakes and shingles, the characteristics of weathered shakes and shingles and the ignition threats to combustible roofing. 
There are three classes of roofing: Class A, B and C.  Class A is the most effective in preventing fires.   Building codes for the state, county and cities differ.  Staff recommended the prohibition of all wood shakes and shingles in the wildfire zones in Medford.
Mr. Kleinberg outlined the basis used for eliminating wood roofing in Los Angeles in 1989 due to their ability to spread fires, support combustion and because the standardized testing did not fit the climatic conditions.
A report of the Fire Protection Research Foundation recommended that wood shakes and shingles should not be used. 
The wildfire hazard zones surrounding Medford were outlined on a map.  Mr. Kleinberg explained that embers may travel miles away from the actual fire and wood roofs are highly flammable.
Three options were outlined for Council consideration:
         No changes to roofing requirements.
         Direct staff to prepare an ordinance that requires Class A or Class B fire-rated roofs.
         Direct staff to prepare an ordinance banning all wood and shake shingle roofs.
Council discussed the decreasing number of homes with wood shakes and shingles due to cost.  Building Director Sam Barnum could not recall a single building during the last 20 years that used wood shakes or shingles, whether new construction or re-roofing.
Council discussed concerns with restricting roofing on historic buildings. Although there are roofing products that look similar to wood shakes and shingles, Planning Director Matt Brinkley advised that typically replacements within the historic district replacements are “like for like”. 
Councilmember D’Alessandro clarified that although this type of roofing is not often used and banning may not have much impact, Council would like to reduce fire risk and would like staff to move forward with staff’s recommendation.
Mr. Barnum will contact home builders for comments. 
Defensible Landscaping Space
Principal Planner Carla Paladino proposed Code amendments to create defensible landscaping space to prevent fire hazards. 
The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) was defined as the area between the wildlands and residential development. Fire risk is increased within WUI areas; Medford’s WUI were outlined on a map.
To prevent fires, staff recommended prohibiting specific landscaping items and/or requiring specific setbacks from homes. Other considerations could include two access points, modifying cross sections to allow evacuation, requiring fuel breaks, reducing density within high-risk areas, etc.
Ms. Paladino also requested Council’s approval to apply for the CPAW Grant. The grant would allow the organization to come to Medford to discuss best fire prevention practices with Planning and Fire Departments. 
Councilmember Gordon recommended a list of the prohibited plants within Medford.
Mr. Brinkley advised that staff would review restrictions on density along the edge of the City, due to availability/access to services and other concerns. Councilmember Zarosinski requested a list of the restrictions that Ashland and Bend have implemented.
Planning staff has discussed defensible landscaping with the Home Owners Association. Planning and building believed they were receptive, but the association wanted to remain in the discussion.
Councilmember D’Alessandro clarified there were no objections to Code amendments or applying for the grant.
Grant Priorities
Principal Planner Angela Durant outlined the funding available for the City’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Housing Opportunity Fund, General Fund Grants and the Homeless System Action Plan. 
The recommendations were created using feedback from the City Council, the Housing Advisory Commission, the Community Development Grants Commission, Continuum of Care, Public Managers, Homeless Task Force, the Leadership Team, and other key community stakeholders. The recommendations support Council goals, align with strategic priorities and are focused on capital absorption model. If directed, staff can prepare these recommendations for Council approval on November 7.
Ms. Durant outlined the Housing Advisory Commission and the Community Development Grants Commission’s proposed funding priorities for consideration for the Housing Opportunity Fund, Community Development Block Grant Program, General Fund Grant program, and the Homeless System Action Plan. 
Housing Opportunity Fund
Proposed using all funds to create 100 units of affordable housing. Council discussed potential deed restrictions for funded projects. Ms. Durant advised that with the Medford Code and the State of Oregon requirements, all Housing Opportunity Fund projects require deed restrictions. Planning Director Matt Brinkley clarified that a small percentage of the funds were dedicated to staff.
No Councilors objected to Ms. Durant preparing information for Council’s approval. 
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Proposed maintaining the competition for 65% of CDBG funding toward development activities within the Consolidated Plan and 15% toward eligible public service activities.  The remaining 20% would be used toward administration and planning activities.
No Councilors objected to Ms. Durant preparing information for Council’s approval. 
General Fund Grant Program
Housing Advisory Commission and the Community Development Grants Commission recommended that 100% of the funding would be used for rapid re-housing or housing stabilization programs.
Council voiced concerns with eliminating programs such as CASA of Jackson County, Children’s Advocacy Center, Children’s Dental Clinic, any program that was not housing-oriented from General Fund Grant funding consideration.
Ms. Durant explained that with the new platform, the funding considerations for the Housing Opportunity Fund, Community Development Block Grant Program, General Fund Grants and the Homeless System Action Plan Implementation Fund would all be considered at the same time through one application.  This would allow agencies to receive for funding through the program that best matched their needs.
Council extensively discussed whether to dedicate a portion of the General Fund Grant funding toward agencies providing services that are not housing oriented.  Ms. Durant will add language in the recommendation to allow the ability to fund those services.
Councilmember Brooks requested the removal of job training services as there is enormous funding available for these services in the Rogue Valley.  There were no objections to her recommendation.
No Councilors objected to Ms. Durant preparing information for Council’s approval. 
Homeless System Action Plan Implementation Fund
The proposed plan includes seven categories and 32 recommended actions centered around the Livability Team.  Commissions will focus on 16 of the 32 recommended actions the first year.
Housing Advisory Commission and the Community Development Grants Commission recommended amending to MMC 2.41 to add two members that have “lived” experience to the Community Development Grants Commission.  She clarified that the two proposed members would be formerly homeless people that have succeeded in securing housing and employment.
No Councilors objected to the Code amendment.
Housing Stabilization funding of $150,000
Prioritize funding to rapidly rehouse or stabilize housing with a goal of 85% stabilization for at least six months to align with the state. 
Distribution of Services funding of up to $10,000
Facilitate service providers, develop recommendations regarding centralized location and/or potential sites.
Reunification Program funding of $50,000
Hold collaborative meetings with stakeholders to develop the program and work with the Continuum of Care to establish program criteria, best practices, policies and procedures.
Permanent Housing funding of $1.6 million
Increase development of affordable housing
Chronically Homeless Outreach Partnership funding of $90,000
Police Chief Scott Clauson advised that Medford Police Department does not need additional funding for the livability team.  Chief Clauson and Ms. Durant requested an ad hoc committee that mirrors the Neighborhood Livability Partnership to work with community partners to address individual issues. 
Chief Clauson praised the work and services provided by the Livability Team and outlined multiple success stories.
         Interim Housing
Proposal to provide funding to the year-round shelter in exchange for five to eight dedicated beds and lease one unit to provide housing for four to eight individuals and to secure area partners.
There are one or two churches that are interested in the safe parking program, but have concerns with liability, restroom facilities, garbage, staffing expense, etc.
Ms. Durant provided an overview of the Chronically Homeless Outreach Partnership from outreach to permanent supportive housing.
Councilmember Stine clarified that $150k was set aside for the Homeless System Action Plan, which included $50,000 from reunification.  Ms. Durant would create a budget for Council approval based upon Council’s direction. 
Council discussed a $50,000 grant available through Providence Health & Services. Staff to contact Asante to determine if they also had funding available.
Councilmember Bearnson suggested funding a position for a community health services advisor that would work with the Livability Team.  Ms. Durant noted that the $50k grant could be used to fund that position. 
Ms. Durant noted that if Council had no objections, a resolution approving the implementation of the plan would be prepared. She recommended Council review the draft plan and all the feedback from community partners during a separate study session before formal approval.
No Councilors objected to Ms. Durant preparing information for Council’s approval and to move forward with the grant. 
The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, Deputy City Recorder


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