Croman Mill property under review in Ashland

·3 min read

Aug. 1—Ashland City Council is scheduled Tuesday to review the Croman Mill site, a 70-acre piece of land in the southeast quadrant of Ashland previously used as a logging mill and currently considered a stalled development opportunity.

After 62 years of logging operations, the land was strewn with debris and abandoned equipment. The city of Ashland adopted the Croman Mill District Plan in August 2010 to clear the land for potential business development, according to the agenda item for Tuesday's meeting.

The owners of the land, Dwaine & Bud LLC, agreed to the plan in 2010 and stated at the time that cleanup would take two to three years.

Over the past 10 years, Dwaine & Bud have been accused by neighbors of using the land to manufacture and sell topsoil, then fill in the resulting holes with unfiltered material excavated from construction sites.

"Excavation and earth-moving activities occurring on the property over the past 10 years has been and continues to be a major cause of frustration for surrounding property owners," the council agenda said.

Dwaine & Bud signed a voluntary cleanup agreement with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in mid-July, the agenda item stated.

Townmakers LLC, which has a purchase agreement for the land, presented a plan to the Ashland Community Development Department in January 2022 that called for a new housing development and businesses, in addition to walking and hiking trails.

City Council will review the actions being taken at the Croman Mill site and consider its future during the meeting.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Ashland Fire and Rescue Chief Ralph Sartain will address the council about the state of the department. A presentation included with the council agenda details an escalation in call volume in recent years, an increase in staff overtime due to grant funding and wildfire preparation efforts over the past year.

Also Tuesday, the Community Development Department will ask City Council about loosening restrictions on food carts in the city. Ashland's city code allows for food carts for one-time events or through a conditional use permit, which takes 45 days — or longer in the case of an appeal — and fees totaling $1,320.25.

Also during the Tuesday meeting, the Community Development Department will ask City Council for permission to amend the land-use ordinances and make it easier for food trucks to operate in Ashland.

The council also will vote on a motion concerning cellphone towers in the city. The action is in response to concerns from residents of Ashland. Some people have come before the council in recent months concerned about the health effects of 5G cellphone towers. Some have complained they are ugly and mar the aesthetic of Ashland; others worry that without them the city will not have reception for cellphones and emergency services.

Councilors will vote on whether to impose regulations on where the towers can be built through a change in the city's right-of-way ordinance.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.