MONDAY 11-05-2012 Guests include Noelle Nguyen on Buy America, David Orr for Jackson County Judge, Dr. Dennis Powers talks the history of Mt. Ashland, and Natalie from the Goldsmiths, too.

Nov 03, 2012 -- 7:33pm

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DO YOU HAVE A PLAN?

Looking at the devastation on the East Coast makes this a really good time to review your own emergency preparations. Do you have backup sources of food, water, fuel, clothing, communications, the basics of life? Our just-in-time delivery system to the grocery stores and Big Box stores really works well....until it doesn't. Life without power and fuel could happen here via earthquake or tsunami or flood.

It's days if not weeks before help really gets deployed. No, you can't prepare for your home and everything you own being washed away, but note how people with intact homes are out of food, water, and ways to stay warm. Imagine how valuable a propane stove, a couple of 20lb bottles, a Mr. Buddy type heater, and a Big Berkee water filter would be to those folks. Add a 3-4 week supply of canned goods, spare blankets and clothing, etc., and you're golden. Easy and safe to store.


FREE SPEECH NEED NOT APPLY (When disagreeing with your Federal Overlord)


GUEST INFORMATION 11-05-2012

6:35 Noelle Nguyen, Vietnam immigrant, American citizen, and founder of AmericanLoveAffairOnline.com, a website which sells only American-Made clothing labels. We also talk her refugee experience, and how spending just a little more on American-made items could make a huge difference in job creation.

7:10 David Orr, running for Jackson County District Court Judge. Won't take outside contributions, and is making a big campaign issue of this.

8:10 "Visiting Past and Present with Dr. Dennis Powers - Today we discuss the history of Mt. Ashland!

Mt.Ashlandand its Travails

By Dennis Powers

Mt. Ashland is on the Siskiyou Crest--six miles west of Siskiyou Pass--and is 7,532 feet high. Ashland Creek starts there to flow north and with snow melt provides the city's water supply, eventually cutting through Lithia Park. Over 300 inches of snow usually falls each year on the mountain, and the ski season is typically from early December to mid-April.

The Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid 1930s built a road from Ashland to the mountain, as well as a small ski slope along the road. Constructed 2,500 feet below the summit, this included a gas-engine-powered rope tow and a “warming” hut. The mountain became a popular destination during the 1950s for local back-country ski enthusiasts.

But more was wanted. By 1963, the Mount Ashland Corporation (“MAC”) had raised the needed $120,000 (more than half provided by Medford business man, Glenn Jackson) and cleared trees, graded the terrain, built better access roads, and constructed a ski lodge, Ariel chair lift, T-bar lift, and a rope tow on the mount’s north face. In 1970, however, three straight years of winter drought ruined snowfalls and ski runs. The MAC folded. The Southern Oregon College Foundation took over management after Jackson County residents financed the purchase of the ski area.

A local businessman, Dick Hicks, re-brought it in 1977. Six years later, a resort and real estate developer--Harbor Properties of Seattle--purchased it. Although Harbor built two new lifts and installed night-skiing lights, the ski area again fell on hard times. Needing more money for another project, Harbor put the ski area back on the market in 1991, saying it would dismantle the chairlifts and move them to a Seattle ski area, if a buyer wasn’t found.

Northern California and Southern Oregon residents began raising money again. From local Rotary Clubs and kids knocking on doors to the media donating free ad space, the citizens in 1992 raised $1.6 million dollars, which with a $500,000 grant of state lottery funds (Oregon Economic Development Fund), amounted to over $2 million. The City of Ashland received the donations, allowing donations to be tax deductible. Since the Mt. Ashland Association (“MAA”) was not yet formed, the City of Ashland was put on the USFS Special Use Permit; a lease agreement between the City and the MAA, as business operators, was later executed.

Realizing the limitations of Mt. Ashland’s steep, short runs, the MAA in 1998 re-affirmed its plan for an expansion with two new chairlifts, two surface lifts, a 4-acre tubing facility, three guest service buildings (new lodge, included), 220 new parking spaces, plus more night lighting, utility lines, structural storm water control, and watershed restoration projects--dating back to an initial 1991 USFS approved expansion plan. All seemed well and good. Local conservationists objected, however, citing concerns about soil erosion in the City’s municipal watershed and protecting old-growth forest along with endangered wildlife.

In 2000, the USFS issued its first draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposal. The EIS drew over 6,000 public comments, about half of which supported MAA’s plan and half opposed. One year later, the USFS said it would prepare a new draft EIS to address problems claimed in the first study.

In 2004, the final EIS was issued, along with the USFS approval of MAA’s plans. One year later, three environmental groups (the Sierra Club, Headwaters, and the Oregon Natural Resources Council) sued the UFSF, arguing that the EIS was still deficient. The prime arguments were that the expansion would cut down 72 acres of trees (less than 1% of the 9,477 acre McDonald Peak area); erosion and watershed damage (on a ski-area); and endangerment to the Pacific Fisher (a weasel that eats porcupines), along with endangerment to species from the Northern Spotted Owl and Mountain Salamander to mountain lions, black bears, and the Arctic Blue Butterfly, to name a few.

When the U.S. District Court rejected the claims, the ski area began its plans to expand. The groups appealed to the 9th Circuit, however, which in 2007 blocked the expansion until certain EIS corrections were made. At the same time, the City of Ashland got into the act, ending up in litigation with the MAA, in which a Jackson County Circuit Court judge later ruled that Ashland had unreasonably interfered with the rights of MAA to operate--in fact, the City had “revoked” its authority to deal directly with the USFS on the expansion without its permission. The City of Ashland had to pay $400,000 in settlement costs and legal fees.  

The USFS then prepared a supplemental EIS. In August 2012, the U.S. District Court held that it had corrected all of the problems in the EIS identified by the 9th Circuit. The opponents promptly announced that they would appeal to the 9th Circuit, along with “on-the-ground protests” if the expansion moved forward.

The mountain top now includes a NOAA weather-radar station, a television transmission facility (KTVL, Channel 10-Medford), and the end of the longest chairlift built years ago. Since 1991 (21 years later), two public bailouts, and taxpayer funds expanded, the expansion plans are still up in the air.      

See LaLande, Jeff, “Oregon Encyclopedia: Mt. Ashland,” at http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/mt_ashland/. Also, “Mt. Ashland: A Historical Perspective,” at http://www.mtashland.com/Page.asp?NavID=76; Fattig, Paul. “Ski Area Wins Latest Round in Legal Battle,” Medford Mail Tribune, August 18, 2012, at http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120818/NEWS/208180304. See Ashland Daily Tidings, “Mt. Ashland Ski Area Expansion,” for an overview at http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=NEWS2002.  

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