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Ashland could give up Mt. A ski area permit

The Ashland City Council tonight will consider whether to give up its permit for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, which would open the door for the Mt. Ashland Association to gain control of the permit.

The U.S. Forest Service would have to approve the association as the new permit holder.

The City Council meets at 7 tonight in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

The Mt. Ashland Association, a nonprofit group that runs the ski area, believes it would be more effective in raising funds for a planned expansion if it holds the permit.

Former Mayor Alan DeBoer has said the city could reduce its liability if it gave up the permit.

But opponents of the ski area expansion have said the city would lose what control it has over the ski area if it gives up the permit. They plan to protest at 5 p.m. today on the Ashland Plaza and then march and ride their bikes to the Civic Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.

As a condition for giving up the permit, the city could require the Mt. Ashland Association to allow the city to comment on any construction plans prior to an expansion. The goal would be to address any issues that could affect the city's drinking water supply. The ski area sits at the top of the Ashland Watershed.

The city also could require that no additional sediment flow into the city's Reeder Reservoir, that the association keep funds on hand for a restoration in case the ski area fails financially, and that the association obtain city approval before selling or transferring the ski area to another party.

The ski area is located on Forest Service lands. The city ended up as the permit holder after a regional fundraising effort in 1991 to save the ski area from closure. Fundraising organizers needed a fiscal agent and the city of Ashland stepped forward.

To read a complete list of agenda items, and for details on each item, visit www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=14285.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at vlaldous@yahoo.com or 541-479-8199.