BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

July 27, 2005

1:30 p.m.

Commissionerís Conference Room

APPROVED 2/8/06

 

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

 

16. PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 05-7-27-13/In the Matter of Endorsing New Freight Routes on Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Highways in Lane County and commenting to the Oregon Transportation Commission on Proposed Amendments to the Oregon Highway Plan.

 

Tom Stinchfield, Public Works, recalled that the Board held a Public Hearing on October 13, 2004 regarding freight routes.He said after that they sent two letters to Salem, one asking for more time and one asking for clarification of the McKenzie Highway that was part of the proposal at that time.He said there was a letter on December 27, 2004 from the Director of ODOT that formally removed the McKenzie Highway, east of the City of Springfield, from consideration and extended the timeline into 2005.

 

Stinchfield announced that the Oregon Transportation Commission has scheduled to consider the adoption of the highway plan amendments related to the route designations and other changes in the plan on August 17.

 

Stinchfield said the proposal as forwarded in the June 17 staff report from the freight committee has six routes in Lane County.He added that the Florence Eugene highway was proposed as an addition to the freight route system.He noted that along with the route designation, the Freight Advisory Committee is recommending other changes in the plan text that are intended to address some of the concerns from cities and how freight routes interact with downtown areas.He noted that the proposal includes some language about urban areas where the speed zones are 35 miles per hour or less and allowing the use of relaxed standards regarding access and performance without formal designation as one of the urban downtown areas.

 

Stinchfield explained that the draft letter attached to the board order supports four of the six routes in the County:Beltline, (includes the section of West 11th to Highway 126 at the urban boundary;) Highway 126 (Florence to Eugene Highway, Highway 99 (from the Beltline up to Airport Road is a recommendation from the Metropolitan Policy Committee to designate the freight route up to the access to the airport as an itermodal connector) and the section of Highway 126 in Springfield that is the freeway section from I-5 to where it meets Highway 126 business at Main Street.

 

Stinchfield reported that since staff put together the letter and the supporting materials, they have received six letters.He received a letter from the City of Florence where they had changed their position on Highway 101 from opposition to support with the condition of a downtown designation.†† He explained the letter as drafted opposes Highway 101 and the designation of Highway 99, north of the airport in Junction City.He said they also have letters from the City of Veneta, reiterating their support for Highway 126, Florence to Eugene.He said that Junction City resubmitted their letter with their reasons for opposing Highway 99.†† He added the City of Springfield submitted a letter that supports the Highway 126 freeway section and agrees with the removal of the McKenzie Highway portion.He said it also supports the increased flexibility in the urban standards.He said they also received a letter from Dave Braley and Nan Osbon from Florence who are in opposition to the 101 designation and an e-mail from Mark Rabinowitz arguing that the freight route proposal does not take into account what is happening with global oil supplies.

 

Stinchfield indicated that the Board needed to take action so they could get this to the OTC.He said they needed to get the letter to the state.

 

Commissioner Morrison opened the Public Hearing.

 

Mike Layton, City Administrator, Junction City, indicated they submitted their letter of opposition to the freight route running through Junction City.He commented they currently have a high traffic count that is at times bumper-to-bumper.He indicated there was a concern about pedestrian and bicycle traffic endangerment.He said they were not opposed to truck transportation.He said they would be amenable if there were changes to the access criteria.He commented they didnít want another level of bureaucracy if they could avoid it with access onto state highways.He didnít think they would have an impact on the final decision.

 

Bob Russell, President, Oregon Trucking Association, recalled this started three years ago in Eugene.He said they introduced a bill at the beginning of this session dealing with a freight route that was a proposal to synchronize the federal freight routes with the state freight routes. He explained that it brought a new level of understanding of the whole issue to ODOT.He said they wanted to use the ODOT administrative process for freight route designation.He said that ODOT came back with a new proposal that they liked.He asked for their bill to be withdrawn and proceed with this one.†† He said the implications are that in the future if they want to designate an STA on a statewide highway or UVA on a highway with a speed greater than 35 miles per hour.He added they need a management plan that states if they are going to restrict mobility on the highway, they have to figure out how to maintain it.He explained that the mobility standards are the volume of capacity ratio and are different on a freight route.He noted there is five percent less congestion.

 

Russell explained there are major implications in the freight routes.He noted ORS 366.215 states that they could not reduce the vehicle carrying capacity of a designated freight route unless it is for safety or access management purposes, but a local government could make an application to the Oregon Transportation Commission for an exception.He said the commission could grant the exception if it doesnít impede freight mobility.He said they were looking for dimension space they could drive through.He noted that ORS 181.611 states that when ODOT develops the STIP, they have to give priority to freight mobility projects.He indicated by the year 2020, the economists are projecting that the value of freight in Oregon will double.He added that the trucking industryís share of that freight would go from 72% to 74%.He commented that the foundation of the economy in Oregon is based on transportation services provided by the trucking industry.He said it is essential to get to a destination to take care of local deliveries and to get through communities.He said it is critical to their economic survival.He noted they had heard if they designate Highway 99 as a freight route, then the trucks are going to use that route.He said that trucks go where the freight is.

 

Clark Boswell, Bennett Truck Transport, commented that his concern was Highway 99 from Junction City to Eugene.He said he ships manufactured homes and Highway 99 is their only option.

 

Don Minor, Oregon Manufactured Housing Association, Salem, commented that they would still be able to use Highway 99 whether or not it is designated a freight route.He said the problem is it would not be protected if it is not designated a freight route.He wanted to see the dimensional clearances of the route protected and they believed that this designation would do that.He said their preference is the least expensive way to move manufactured homes north and south through the state (I-5).

 

Phil Bruebaker, Mayor of Florence, reported that the Florence City Council unanimously supports the Highway 126 west designation.With regard to Highway 101, he said their initial support was for a designation south of the bridge in Florence from the Siuslaw River to Reedsport.He said when there was some discussion that it would include the downtown stretch from Highway 101, to the Hwy. 126 intersections to the bridge, the matter was brought in front of the city council and that proposed stretch was voted down.He said the proposal to designate that stretch and to make the connection came back before the Board and that position was reversed by the vote of the city council.He presented a copy of a letter from the Florence Chamber of Commerce endorsing the cityís current position as to the Highway 101 section. He said it includes reference to an important provision that was added in their discussion that led to the reversal vote.He said it is their request for that same stretch of highway as a special transportation area.He said they have an access management plan worked out with ODOT that designates on a driveway-by-driveway basis along the nine-block stretch, what would be allowed in the future as property redevelops.He said they were recommending inclusion from Highway 101 to Reedsport

 

Tom Kartrude, Port of Siuslaw, brought written testimony regarding the Portís concern. (Copy in file).He commented that Highway 126 is an economic lifeline to coastal Lane County.†† He said the port is trying to work with Lane County to keep a viable transportation route for job creation and economic vitality.He said they received the designation as a freight route as another step in the right direction and support the Eugene to Florence segment of Highway 126.He said they reviewed the Highway 101 route as an interconnecting system of transportation with alternate pathways.He said having alternate pathways that are capable of carrying the freight from those businesses along the coast and in the valley though the connectors is important.He commented that the Port of Siuslaw had been active in the development of Florenceís Downtown Plan and they understand the need to mix the main street with Highway 101 as it passes through that part of town.He thought the downtown plan as expressed through the special transportation area would give the necessary blend of the need to move freight and the access and control of traffic calming.He encouraged the Board to support the Highway 126 and to support the Highway 101 designation with the STA at the same time.

 

Jim Baker, Finn Rock, Blue River Community Development Corporation, stated that they support the ODOT staff report as it pertains to Oregon State Highway 126 from Springfield to its Junction with 22.He commented that the McKenzie Highway should never have been considered as a truck route.He asked the Board to withdraw the McKenzie Highway as a freight route.

 

George A. Letchworth, McKenzie River, said he was representing a citizens group that had mobilized against the freight designation on the McKenzie Highway.He noted that many private homes have driveways that access immediately onto the road. He commented that the road was never designed to be a major freight route.

 

Mona Lindstromberg, Veneta, said she commutes to work in Eugene on West 11th and Highway 126.She commented there is a tremendous traffic-congested area and until the specific issue is addressed as to that area and accessing Veneta and designating it as a freight route, she couldnít see what benefit it would have in the long run.She thought there should be some type of light rail that goes from Veneta into the Eugene area to get some of the traffic off of West 11th.She noted that she had gone to a public hearing in Veneta and not one person spoke in favor of the freight route.She added that there was a unanimous vote by the city council, but not all members were present.

 

Keith Tattersole, on McKenzie Highway, Vida, thanked the people who supported removing McKenzie Highway as a designated freight route.He hoped that in the future it wouldnít be snuck in.

 

There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Morrison closed the Public Hearing.

 

MOTION:to support the matter that goes to the OTC to Stewart Foster, adding Highway 101 from Highway 126 south with the stipulation that the STA status apply to the highway within the city limits at the same time.

 

Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Dwyer commented that he had reservation about the whole process.He said if the Oregon Transportation Commission were elected like congress, he would have more confidence.He resented having elected officials being pushed around by appointed officials. He thought some parts of it made sense but others didnít.He commented that until they know about the connectivity they recommend and what they are going to do, he was not voting in favor.

 

Sorenson supported the segment of Highway 126 from I-5 to the eastern side of Springfield.He also supported Highway 99 from the Beltline to Airport Road.He thought Highway 126 and Highway 101 in Florence diminishes the impact of the flow of goods to the coast from I-5 because there would be competition between Highway 126 and Highway 38.He wanted to see the state put resources on the routes that would benefit the movement.He did not support the motion.

 

With regard to the STA and whether it would be included in the proposal or not, Stinchfield spoke with ODOT and they confirmed that it would be in the staff recommendation to the OTC.

 

Morrison supported the motion.She had concerns about omitting the Junction City piece. She commented that Lincoln, Benton and Linn Counties are following behind Lane County.She said they discussed affordable housingand the cost of land.She said that is what is driving the cost to some of their housing.She commented that Lane County is the fourth highest exporter out of the Port of Portland.She noted the majority of that traffic is coming out of the Junction City area.She noted the small cities were having an increase in the amount of road projects that need to be done. She commented that they needed to look at all the funding sources.

 

VOTE: 3-2 (Dwyer, Sorenson dissenting)

 

b. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 05-7-27-14/In the Matter of Commenting to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on criteria for the 2008-2011 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

 

Stinchfield reported that this is the kickoff discussion for the stateís 2008-2011 State Transportation Improvement Program process.He said the STIP is updated on a two-year cycle.She said the OTC would probably be adopting the 06/09 STIP next month along with the freight route.He said the STIP stakeholders statewide asked the ACTS regional advisory groups and other interested parties to comment on the criteria that will be used for modernization projects.He reported that the metro area and County staff would start a process of requesting project ideas and priorities for the 08/11 STIP.He indicated that the Board would be asked to take a position and participate in an all-area meeting on September 27 on Region 2 large project lists of projects that are $15 million or more.He added that through the fall they would be working on general priority settings for STIP projects.The Board will be asked by the end of December for a list.He said in February the region staff will send out a Region 2 proposal with more modernization projects.He said they would be asked to respond to that between February and April and by June there would be another all area meeting to discuss the modernization priority issue in Salem with the other areas.He noted the draft 2008/2011 STIP will get formally printed and distributed for public comment in fall 2006.

 

With regard to the attached criteria (attachment 2) Stinchfield said the STIP stakeholders group developed them last time and a few modifications are being proposed.He said for prioritization factors, a fifth criterion to the four that were already there has been added that states that projects that support freight mobility will have priority.

 

Stinchfield explained that the public involvement process for the STIP would be changing. He said the new CAC for the metropolitan area has been formed and they had a meeting in July with the MPC.One of the items discussed was the CACís involvement in STIP priority setting. He said staff would be meeting to make that work.He noted there had been suggestions in the past from people that had been involved in the STIP process locally that they involve the Roads Advisory Committee and he thought they should do it.He asked for informal direction to move ahead involving the Roads Advisory Committee.He reported that every few months they are being asked to produce a product of some type to the program funding goals or to the projects themselves and involving the MPC, CAC and Roads Advisory Committee in advance of Board meetings and public hearings.

 

Dwyer and Morrison agreed the Roads Advisory Committee should be involved.

 

Green supported the Roads Advisory Committee.He thought the challenge would be to coordinate the timing with the new CAC to ensure their mission of creating a public involvement vehicle. He added their charge according to the bylaws is to create opportunities and design methodologies so citizens could be more involved in the creation of the list.

 

Morrison commented that the MPO process is cumbersome and there are movements to stop the activity.She said in order to comply with state requirements it would be a challenge.She thought it would be another stumbling block for Lane County.She was apprehensive about the timeline.

 

Commissioner Morrison opened the Public Hearing.

 

Lauri Segel, Eugene, asked if the Board could do whatever they could to involve the Cities of Eugene and Springfield early in the process with respect to recent concerns by the City of Eugene about modernization criteria.She commented they didnít have a broad base citizen involvement process.

 

There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Morrison closed the Public Hearing.

 

MOTION:to move Option 1 of 05-7-27-14.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

17. PUBLIC WORKS

 

a. WORK SESSION/Road Vacation Procedures.

 

Bill Robinson, Land Management, reported this was brought to the Board for a discussion for the Board to save vacations.He indicated there is an impact across Public Works transportation that they might be asked about facility permits.He noted the surveyorís office is an early contact for citizens who may have questions about obtaining a vacation.He noted that a portion of their time involves sending out information but sometimes nothing ever comes of it.He thought this was an opportunity for the Board to provide input through discussion to clarify the property vacation process.

 

Robinson indicated they could retain the existing vacation procedures or they could change the manual.He asked the Board if there were things in the manual that could be changed to provide citizens better information up front and a consistent way for staff to proceed.

 

Dwyer didnít think the system was broken and didnít want to fix it.He recalled in the past two years, they processed 27 vacations without a hearing and five with a hearing.He asked what was in the public interest.He wanted to define public interest beyond what the statute states.

 

Ollie Snowden, Public Works, wanted to define what the system is so they could all agree on it. He recalled they had come to the Board in the past and hadnít scheduled a public hearing.He added that sometimes it was on the Consent Calendar.

 

Morrison said the breakdown is looking at the applicant.She noted they had applications that had come through that had been on the Consent Calendar that had no objections by any of the neighboring property owners.She said it comes to the Board, gets pulled and there is a delay and an additional expense to the property owner to hold a public hearing.

 

Dwyer said there should be a public hearing on them but they were penalizing the uncomplicated cases.

 

Green didnít want Public Works to decide which cases were uncomplicated and which ones had a level of controversy.He thought a cleaner process would be to charge people $1,500, and let the Board determine if it is a non-complicated case,then refund the money.

 

Dwyer asked if they were withdrawing the public road and not the access.He said if they keep the public access to it, he wouldnít have problems because they donít build on the public access.He wanted a list of the gates that are across County roads that are private gates.

 

Snowden said if gates were placed on the road, they would be there under facility permits.

 

Stewart said he didnít have any problems with the current system.He agreed to charge the citizens $1,500 and letting them know that would be the worst-case scenario if they had to do a public hearing.

 

Morrison wanted to make sure the refund process is tightened up more.She noted they have refunds coming out of building and planning that get lost in the system.She wanted to make sure that within a reasonable period of time people could expect a refund if there is not a public hearing.

 

Robinson recalled his department raised fees a year ago.He said he didnít know if it had been determined they should be recovering fees.He said if the Board wants to do that, they had provided the comparison to what other cities and counties do.

 

Green didnít want to offer a full refund because of the work involved.

 

Morrison asked Robinson if a refund would simplify the direction of what he would be doing with people coming into the department and wanting to do this.

 

Robinson said it would be a large piece of it.

 

Green supported Robinson coming back to the Board with an example of full cost recovery.

 

Dwyer suggested a voucher where the public pays the full cost at the time they made the order.

 

Morrison thought a voucher should be discussed in Finance and Audit.She said they know they have had a problem with the tracking mechanism within some of the departments.

 

Stewart wanted to incorporate what they discussed today by charging the full amount ($1,500) for a public hearing.He added they should show actual costs and then charge for that amount.

 

Green was concerned about a voucher.

 

With regard to recovering costs, Jeff Towery, Land Management, indicated that they didnít have a fee increase July 1, 2005, but they could make a mid-year adjustment if that was what the Board wanted.He asked if they should put it in their work plan for the 2006/2007 budget.He said they would first go to Finance and Audit before it goes before the full board.

 

Morrison wanted to make sure that the information that comes to them is as complete and thorough as possible as to what the cost recovery would look like and how they would implement it.

 

Robinson asked if they should ramp up how the staff views potential vacations.He said they would be using the same fees.

 

Dwyer commented that if it was really in the public interest and they could maintain public access to it or historical use and might benefit from a portion of it, it would be hard to define the dollar amount of that benefit.

 

Morrison was opposed to having compensation paid by the abutting property owners.She thought there would be an issue if they were to start that.

 

Robinson commented that when they present things to the customer that there is noconfusion with fees, and they could be told to ask for more money later.

 

Dwyer asked to review the changes the Board asked of him and see what changes would impact the manual.

 

Morrison indicated thosechanges would have to come forward.

 

Robinson said he would report to Finance and Audit in October.

 

Morrison said with regard to cost recovery that was the only thing they needed to have a report back on.She said it would go to Finance and Audit first and then the Board.

 

b. WORK SESSION/The Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Plan/History and Draft Issues in Need of Examination.

 

(Rolled to Tuesday, August 3, 2005)

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 4:10 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary