BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

WORK SESSION

February 1, 2005

9:00 a.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 3/9/05

 

Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

None.

 

3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

Sorenson said he went to the Oregon Legislature and spoke with the Lane County representatives.He and Commissioner Stewart discussed the possibility of a propane tank inspection ordinance.He wanted the Agenda Team to brief the Board on whether or not they should have a public hearing on repealing their propane tank inspection ordinance.He noted that Rep. Hanna and Rep Barnhart have a bill they are working on that would pre-empt Lane Countyís ordinance.He thought Lane Countyís ordinance duplicates what is required by the fire marshal

 

4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

Van Vactor said they were proceeding with the possibility of a public safety district.He said they were going to the Joint Planning Commission meeting tonight to discuss a minor amendment to the Metro Plan.

 

b. REPORT/Tourism Infrastructure in Lane County.

 

Peter Thurston, Economic Development, indicated that this is a report back to the Board of Commissioners from a task force that was appointed by the Board this past year. He said they were to look into the question of how Lane County could remain competitive as the second largest area in the state, attracting tourism and maintaining tourism business and industry.He recalled it began with a summit last year.General consensus at that time was that Lane County should take a role in helping define its problem.He noted that the Board of Commissioners did that and appointed this task force.He added in the packet, there is a report from Brooking Institute about tourism and convention facilities.He said they would form a task force that will look at the specific organizational structures that would be best to implement tourism infrastructure, development and maintenance countywide.He added there is a separate tourism goal statement for supporting material.

 

Bob Zagorin, CVALCO, said he is a member of the Fair Board and the Tourism Infrastructure Task Force and served as the chair.He commented they thought this problem was more than any one city or group and needed a regional solution. He said they looked to the County for leadership.He noted the task force was not interested in any kind of general taxing authority for a vehicle that might come out of these discussions.He added they were not in competition for the countywide law enforcement district.He noted that his was a policy group and they didnít have the technical expertise.He said they want a technical group to look at the future possibilities.He read from an editorial piece in the Register Guard.

 

Kari Westlund, CVALCO, gave a presentation on Tourism Infrastructure in Lane County.(Copy in file.)She explained that the task force met over an eight- month period.She added at the same time they had a limited service contract with Eco Northwest that was funded from a special tourism project grant.She noted they had a series of discussions within the task force and they pulled supplemental information from Portland and Salem.She said they came to a consensus that most of the available lodging and convention and meeting space is losing competitive ground.She noted that Lane County is behind and is falling further behind as new facilities come on line in other communities.

 

Westlund commented that this problem belongs to everyone, not just one jurisdiction. She said they want Lane County to formalize a goal statement around tourism.She noted the Board had adopted goal statements in the past but they have nothing formal to recognize the value of the tourism industry.She explained that the goal statement is to commit Lane County to working with other jurisdictions to retain their current competitive position.

 

Westlund discussed the second board order on the technical task force.

Westlund commented that there is a rebound for economic recovery and the rates are going up because of limited supply.She added that infrastructure makes a difference.She noted that many conferences donít generate money.She said that a prudent investment requires market demand analysis.She indicated they were not advocating for a specific project without the analysis.She believed the conditions locally and the indicators are such that they have an opportunity to get a project going in Lane County.Her concern is with the indicators looking the way they do, the investment that isnít optimal from a community basis may not be the best kind of investment and make it more difficult to get a project in the future.

 

Westlund indicated most people are in agreement that the exhibition, convention and conferences are becoming a more mature industry that is not on a robust growth path.She said what they are seeing are things about competitive market share. She said if they donít do anything, the market would go everywhere but in Eugene.She didnít know how much tourism Lane County could get.

 

Zagorin said the market is moving and the projects are coming on line throughout the region in competitive market places.He said they are falling behind in capacity and ability to address tourism.He added they would be going to lose market share because the meetings that were coming to Lane County are not always coming back.He said if they do nothing, they would continue to fall behind.

 

Westlund distributed the Brooking study.(Copy in file.)

 

c. ORDER 05-2-1-1/In the Matter of Adopting a Regional Tourism Goal Statement for Lane County andRecommending Multi-Jurisdictional Cooperation to Accomplish the Goal.

 

MOTION:to move to approve ORDER 05-2-1-1.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

Green asked if this needed to be adopted by other communities.

 

Westlund responded that they had only presented this to the Springfield Council.She thought they would move forward with the goal statement and the interjurisdictional agreement.

 

Green was in full support of the entire package.He commented that both cities are on a similar track to create opportunities for their jurisdictions.He asked why they couldnít also join with the private sector and the University of Oregon and expand it so they all have the same goal.He wanted to have it adopted as a community wide approach and take it to another level.

 

Westlund said she could make presentations to all of the communities.

 

Dwyer thought they needed a working group that is manageable.

 

Sorenson commented that the work of the task force was a continuation of the good start by having the tourism summit.He thought the Board should approve the order.He suggested that after the Board approves the order that it is sent to Eugene and Springfield and urge them to approve a similar goal statement.

 

Stewart supported the motion. He thought they needed to involve all the entities because it is going to be a true partnership.He saw Lane County and the cities of Eugene and Springfield as the leaders of the partnership, encouraging private and other entities to be involved.He stated they should be more focused on Lane County being the best it could be.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

d. ORDER 05-2-1-2/In the Matter of Forming an Interim Working Group to Assess andRecommend a Structure for aPermanent Inter-Jurisdictional Entity to Overseethe Analysis, Development, Operation, and Maintenance of Tourism Facilities andInfrastructure in Lane County.

 

MOTION:to approve ORDER 05-2-1-2.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Morrison thought they should include Warren Wong in an ex officio capacity so the Fair Board is represented.

 

Zagorin commented that they see this as an interim group to study what is the best structure to create a permanent vehicle to make the process go forward.He said if the County appointed Warren Wong as one of the two appointments, it would be a good idea.

 

Morrison was concerned with the June 29 timeline, as it is too short.She noted there was nothing in the board order stating who would pay for staffing.

 

Zagorin commented that whatever budget they will develop to do this, he hoped the County wouldnít have to pay for it.He hoped it would be a joint venture with other entities.

 

Dwyer wanted to add a sentence after June 29, 2005, to state: ďor as soon as possible thereafter.Ē

 

Morrison wanted to make sure they had enough time to present a product that is valid and workable.

 

Green supported this motion and the formation of additional people.He recommended Peter Thurston handle the staffing.He added that this should be a partnership and they should work on what can be done.

 

Thurston indicated they could follow the same process supporting the efforts of the committee as they did with CVALCO to provide intern assistance to support the process and carry staff supporting of minutes and tracking so there is an open public process.He said if they could get assistance and expertise from Eugene and Springfield in bringing in the legal options, he thought they could keep it together and keep the momentum up.He agreed to add the language ďas soon as possible.Ē

 

Dwyer amended his motion to add after June 29,2005, or as soon as possible thereafter.

 

Stewart seconded the amended motion.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

Sorenson requested the task force come back with a report in July.

 

6. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

7. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

8. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

None.

 

9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary