BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

September 21, 2005

1:30 p.m.

Commissionersí Conference Room

APPROVED 10/12/05

 

Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.Bobby Green, Sr. was excused.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 05-9-21-8/In the Matter of Commenting to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on the Region 2 Large Project Priority List and Receiving Public Comment on Modernization Projects for the 2008-2011 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

 

Tom Stinchfield, Public Works, reported that this is a public hearing item to accept comment as the beginning of the 08/11 STIP process. He noted that process will continue until December and they will have more meetings on the regular STIP process.He indicated that their notice letter asked for candidate projects for the 08/11 STIP by September 9 and they hadnít heard from anyone.†† He said the ODOT schedule asked for the County to submit a prioritized list of all the requests for the STIP by December.

 

Stinchfield said the second purpose of this hearing is to comment on the Region 2 large project list.He noted it was an action item in preparation for a meeting with the other areas in Region 2 on September 29.He noted that attachments to the packet explain the process.He said they received a letter on July 21 from Jeff Schiek the Region 2 manager with a draft list of projects for all of Region 2.He indicated that large projects are defined as over $15 million and the purpose is to get a prioritized region list in place so they are ready if another OTIA funding package or other opportunities come up.He added that there are no identified funds for the large projects currently, but federal earmarks and OTIA have been sources that had come up recently.He commented that for the 08/11 STIP, they donít expect a large amount of modernization money to be available for Lane County.He said the projects that might get funded in the regular STIP process might be smaller than the projects they are discussing.

 

Stinchfield explained that the draft list sent out by Region 2 had five projects in Lane County.He said staff is recommending adding one project to that list, a rural project on Highway 126 (the Poterf Creek to Noti project) that is funded for development work in the 06/09 STIP.He added that staff is also recommending they separate the projects into two groups, three projects ready for construction or have had significant work done and have funding identified: I-5 Beltline, the West Eugene Parkway and I-5 Coburg interchange.He noted the other projects are called development projects that they want to promote as future projects for construction:Beltline between River Road and Coburg Road that has $1 million in planning funds identified for it in the STIP, the I-5 Franklin interchange that has system planning and environmental work funded and the Highway 126 Poterf Creek to Noti project.He noted that the I-5 Beltline in the recently adopted 06/09 has $72.5 million identified for construction and is scheduled to go to bid in February 2006.He said the West Eugene Parkway has $17.7 million funded for the first unit in the adopted STIP and is scheduled for the completion of the environmental work and a record of decision next spring.He noted that I-5 Coburg has $14.5 million in the adopted STIP that includes a federal earmark and it has identified funding for an interchange management plan and environmental process.

 

Stinchfield noted that the Roads Advisory Committee reviewed the list on August 30 and recommended it be forwarded to the Board.He added that MPC discussed the list but did not take any action.He said on September 15 there was discussion about I-5 Beltline and the West Eugene Parkway but no formal action was taken.He added that the Mayor of Eugene indicated her opposition to the West Eugene Parkway being on the list.

 

Commissioner Morrison opened the Public Hearing.

 

Scott Purcell, Eugene, favored the large project list.He commented that it helps efficiency from a commuting standpoint and moving goods and services.He sees the wisdom of having the right infrastructure in place for now and for future needs.He thought the timing was good to do this now.

 

Tim Clevenger, Eugene, commented that the projects being discussed would alleviate many of the communityís transportation headaches.He was supportive of the projects on the priority list because he believed they are essential to the future transportation needs that have a direct impact on economic and employment needs.He thought the projects on the list would provide better access to the community, allowing the community to share what is special with everyone.He urged the board to take the steps necessary to make the I-5 Franklin interchange a reality.He wanted to see the West Eugene Parkway built and keep the commitment to move the project forward.

 

Margaret Boutell, Veneta, stated she represented the City of Veneta.She said the City of Veneta requested that a modernization project,(the widening of Highway 126 between Greenhill Road and Veneta)be added to the 08/11 STIP.She said it would better serve the residents of Veneta and the surrounding area and ensure that business owners considering locating to Veneta have access to a transportation corridor that works.She said that Highway 126 acts as a bottleneck from Greenhill Road to Veneta and 80% of Venetaís residents commute out of town for work.She commented that all residents need access to hospitals, jobs and other services and this type of project would provide better access.She added that the City of Veneta has the largest undeveloped industrial commercial site in the southern Willamette Valley and as the city brings it on line, business owners need the assurance of easy access to transport their goods.She commented that convincing businesses to locate in Veneta requires that they believe that Highway 126 provides adequate access.She said that widening Highway 126 from Greenhill to Veneta would meet the needs of all of western Lane County.

 

Bob Zagorin, Eugene, supported the I-5 Franklin Boulevard interchange under the development projects.He reported that he chaired the Lane Tourism Infrastructure Task Force that reported to the Board and they found that Lane County has a serious and growing deficiency in tourism infrastructure.He said they recommended a short list of projects to concentrate on and the I-5 Franklin Boulevard interchange was on the list.He believed it would be important for any efforts to link Springfield, Eugene and the University of Oregon and future convention facilities in that corridor to provide better access from I-5 to the metro area.

 

Roxie Cueller, Springfield, supported the large projects on the list.She said the I-5 Beltline currently is an accident waiting to happen.She said there is a flaw in the design.She thought the projects were wonderful and would solve some of the traffic hazards.

 

Larry Reed, Eugene, supported the first five projects on the list.He thought they were essential to the future of transportation, economic and employment needs of the area.He said the projects will provide better access to Eugene, Springfield and the surrounding areas and will improve conditions for local residents†† He wanted to make sure that the state and federal agencies build the projects.He asked the Board to support the I-5 Franklin interchange on the project list and to take the steps to make the project a reality.

 

Terry Connolly, Eugene, represented the Chamber of Commerce.He urged the Board to endorse the projects on the large project list in concurrence with staffís ranking system.He commented that each project was important to the regional transportation system and asked that no one project be more important than the other, but it is the regional transportation system that they all connect to.He said construction of the West Eugene Parkway is the adopted policy of Lane County, Eugene, Springfield and the Lane Transit District.He asked the Board to take advantage and commit to the next steps for the I-5 Franklin interchange.

 

Kari Westlund, Veneta, supported all six projects on the Region 2 list.She commented there was a crisis with the I-5 interchange at Beltline.She added that the West Eugene Parkway needs to take place.She commented that the projects are expensive but they would be serving the area into the future.She hoped that all of the projects would remain on the list.

 

Linda Ryan, Eugene, stated she was for the proposed Franklin Boulevard interchange because of the lodging needs on Franklin Boulevard.

 

Mark Rabinowitz, Eugene, commented that the West Eugene Parkway would never be built.He didnít see a tax increase to pay for it.He stated there was a cheaper way to build the I-5 Beltline project but it was ignored during the public process.He thought the money should go into Amtrak.

 

Josh Cox, Eugene, stated he didnít have any more to add than what was already said.

 

Ron Farmer, Eugene, supported all of the large projects that were considered.With regard to I-5 Franklin interchange, he thought they could figure out a way to have an off ramp in Glenwood.He encouraged the Board to support the effort.He noted that the voters voted three times to go forward with the West Eugene Parkway and encouraged the Board to go forward with the wishes of the voters.

 

Gary Wildish, Eugene, appreciated the Boardís actions to push the projects forward.He said they have a dire need of a transportation system in the community.He said they missed the opportunities in the past 20 years to make things happen.He asked the Board to continue to support the issues and help the rest of their partners understanding their roles to push this forward.

 

Tim Campbell, Eugene, supported each of the large projects for economic reasons, employment and livability for the growing bedroom communities. He asked the Board to push the projects through.

 

Cheryl Balthrop, Eugene, commented that a sufficient and safe transportation system is vital to the health of the community.She asked the Board to support the projects that had already been presented.She added that the need is to improve the infrastructure now.She asked that the projects be moved forward.

 

Rob Handy, Eugene, said they owe the community accountability about what there is really money for.He said having a wish list doesnít help them be sensitive to the needs of the other partners in the region.He commented that the West Eugene Parkway is now $170 million and they have a financially constrained list that only allows $150 million. He asked how that was consistent with the TSP.He noted that Mayor Piercy had come up with principles for addressing West Eugene traffic issues.He said Piercy said the West Eugene Parkway would not solve the traffic problems.He said they could use mediation with other organizations in the state to come up with creative solutions.

 

Morvin Thomas, Eugene, commented that the West Eugene Parkway makes sense.He suggested that the engineers go back and consider the possibility of coming down Roosevelt Boulevard at the Beltline.

 

Lauri Segel, Eugene, stated her concern was with the misrepresentation from staff that nothing has changed.†† She noted that the West Eugene Parkway is now $170 million project versus an $88 million project.She thought that the Beltline project from River Road to Coburg was a good plan and necessary.She said during the scoping process of the I-5 Franklin project, the consultants and agencies should have been proposing to let the stakeholders have something to respond to so alternatives could be addressed.She added that ODOT never allowed for an alternative consideration.She said for I-5 Franklin to go forward on the big project list when the process had shown to be problematic or unlawful doesnít make sense.

 

Philip Farmington, Springfield, supported the large project prioritization with I-5 Beltline being at the top of the list.He noted that Peace Health had made investments that could be leveraged by the County and the cities.He encouraged the Board to continue with the I-5 Beltline improvement project.

 

Ryan Pape, was in favor of all the projects.He looked forward to seeing the projects move forward.

 

Nick Arnis, Springfield submitted a letter signed by the mayors of Springfield and the City of Eugene.

 

Margaret Thumel, Eugene, recommended approving the Region 2 large project list.She wanted the Board to set a policy to find out what is best for constituents and the transportation grid because nothing can work unless the roads could take the people to work.

 

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

 

Snowden explained that the exercise on September 29 is not to allocate money, as there is no money on the table.He indicated that it is a weeding out process.He said the money that had been programmed for the project is fixed.He added that most of these projects are so large that they are out of the scope of the normal STIP process and there isnít enough money to complete the final phases.He said the idea is to develop a short list that could result in some legislative initiative in the next session to add funding for those particular projects.

 

Sorenson asked which was the most important of the six projects.

 

Stinchfield indicated that the I-5 Beltline interchange was most important.He noted there are over 90,000 vehicles per day going through the interchange and it is projected to go to 120,000.He noted there are crash statistics that claim it is the highest 10% of crash locations statewide.He said when they go up to the region, ODOT staff will want to know what projects could be moved forward.So project readiness criteria is important and I-5 Beltline is the only project that has a completed record of decision and is ready to go to contract for future phases.He added the others were in various states of readiness. He said the costs for improvement on Beltline had not been determined but it is an important problem and they want to put it on the radar screen for more work.

 

MOTION:to approve ORDER 05-9-21-8.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Stewart stated he had taken a tour of the projects and he thought there was a need for the projects to move forward.He added these roads were a priority of his.

 

Dwyer commented that this was the best shot for the money. He noted the problem was competition with the other areas in the state.

 

Morrison supported the motion.She said they worked hard to get some of the projects where they currently are.

 

VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting).

 

17. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

18. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

19. OTHER BUSINESS

 

Resignation of Justice Court Judge in Oakridge

 

Van Vactor indicated that Tony Bieda, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, heard back from the governorís office.He said the process to fill the Justice of the Peace takes about eight weeks.He said the governorís office will accept feedback from counties and cities on individual candidates but is not looking for a county or city to formally nominate one or more individuals.He said the governorís office would provide the county or city with a list of candidates once the application period has closed.He said the governorís office would begin the public notification on opening once Lane County has resolved the full-time/part-time issue and boundary of the Justice of the Peace district.He couldnít see any reason to recommend changing the part-time status.He said they need to review the Justice Court boundaries.He thought they should go ahead and notify the governorís office that it would stay part-time and there would be no change in boundaries for the duration of this term in office.

 

Wilson said with the Justice of the Peace vacancy, the vacancy would run until it can be filled at the next election.She added at that point the person would be elected to fill a full six-year term.She noted that currently all three justicesí terms would end in 2008. She stated with the vacancy they would have one justice elected next year.She said they could redistrict the boundaries anytime the Board wanted to, but in managing the question of expanding a district, they should do it before an election.

 

 

MOTION:to move to notify the governor about the opening of the Justice of the Peace.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Bieda explained that this was not like filling a legislative opening where the governor is looking for the county commissioners to take the lead and forward three candidates.Instead, the governorís office fills the judicial openings, including these.He said they would advertise, receive applications and will let them know who the candidates are.

 

VOTE: 4-0.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 3:15 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary