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Service to the community

Veterans Day was earlier this month, and November is typically a time when I pause and think about the service of others ... military, volunteer or community service. Between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, it’s a time when I find myself grateful for the service of others.

I am fortunate enough to work for Ashland Parks and Recreation where I am surrounded by capable, bright people who care about parks and recreation, Ashland, Southern Oregon and beyond. Their dedication often is reflected in the multiple ways they serve on committees and boards. The knowledge and insight gained through service to other organizations, helps them be more effective parks and recreation leaders and better able to serve the community.

Our Director, Senior services superintendent, the parks superintendent, recreation manager, nature center manager and golf course manager all have a history of serving on various committees and boards throughout Jackson County and our state. My focus today is on Rachel Dials, the recreation superintendent for Ashland Parks and Recreation.

In September 2004, Rachel came to Ashland Parks and Recreation as our recreation superintendent. This past October, she was inaugurated as President of ORPA (Oregon Recreation and Parks Association) Board. ORPA supports the recreation and park profession in Oregon through leadership, education, advocacy and member services. The ORPA Board of Directors is responsible for guiding and overseeing all aspects of ORPA’s operations and activities.

Rachel began her career with parks and recreation as a volunteer at the age of 14. After college, she was hired by the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District in 1998 as a recreation coordinator.

In 1998, she attended her first ORPA conference and became a member of the association. She had a desire to connect with her peers and make a difference in parks and recreation. She immediately began serving on section boards for ORPA to gain knowledge of what others were doing around the state. Throughout her career she has had many opportunities to serve with ORPA in various roles from Secretary, Director at large and now President. Rachel also served three years on the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Local Government Grant Program Selection Committee.

“My first conference I heard the ORPA President speaking, felt so inspired and knew that I wanted to do that someday and support others within the association,” Rachel reflected. Sue Boettner, of the Bend Park and Recreation District, was the president in 1998. To this day, Sue and Rachel have stayed connected.

Rachel said the connections she has made have helped her to stay abreast of key parks and recreation issues happening around the state. This helps her serve the community more effectively.

Rachel’s commitment to service over the years, especially to ORPA, will serve her well as president of ORPA.

“I could not be the president of ORPA without the commitment from our agency. Ashland Parks and Recreation sees the value in my participation with the Oregon Recreation and Park Association and understands that the networking and professional work that I do at the state level helps foster my work here in Ashland as the Recreation Superintendent.”

It has been a pleasure working with her for the past 15 years. If you don’t already know Rachel, stop by and say hello to her at The Grove, 1195 E Main St., Ashland.

In addition to Rachel’s service, other Ashland Parks and Recreation staff serve in the following ways:

Michael A. Black, AICP, Ashland Parks and Recreation Director:

  • Oregon Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee
  • Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Bike/Ped Rule Advisory Committee/Multimodal Active Transportation Fund Committee
  • Rogue Valley Active Transportation Plan – Citizen Advisory Committee Member
  • Recently a member of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways Committee

Isleen Glatt, MPH, Ashland Parks and Recreation Senior Services Superintendent

  • Senior Services Advisory Council for Jackson and Josephine Counties
  • Emergency Management Advisory Committee for the City of Ashland
  • RVTD’s State Transportation Improvement Fund Advisory Committee
  • Alzheimer’s Association

Mike Oxendine, Ashland Parks and Recreation Parks Superintendent:

  • Post Growth Institute
  • Oregon Community Trees
  • The Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture

Lonny Flora, CPRP, Ashland Parks and Recreation Manager for the Recreation Division:

  • Oregon State Parks and Recreation Local Government Grant Program Selection Committee
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group for ORPA
  • Patrick Oropallo, Certified PGA, Ashland Parks and Recreation Golf Course Manager:
  • Oregon PGA Player Development, Awards & LEAD Committees

Libby VanWyhe, Ashland Parks and Recreation Nature Center Manager

  • Bee City USA Subcommittee
  • Southern Oregon Regional Environmental Education Leaders (SOREEL)
  • Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator for the Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan

Other than staff time, serving on committees and/or boards is no extra expense to the community.

Speaking of serving the community, I would like to thank our commissioners for their service and the countless hours they spend on Ashland Parks and Recreation matters.

Ashland Parks and Recreation