BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
February 21, 2007
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Stewart indicated there was a corrected explanation for the public hearing for the floodplain. He added there would be a Third Reading for the income tax. Wilson noted 17 a. discusses a May 2008 election and it should be May 2007.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Michael Smith, Eugene, stated he is from the Human Rights Party of Oregon. He said they are a new political party petitioning the state to get their name on the voters’ registration card. He indicated their focus is finding solutions to poverty in Lane County. He said their guiding document is a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He said they are having a meeting on Monday at Jefferson Middle School at 7:00 p.m. He added they would also be discussing the future of the Westmoreland complex.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Sorenson reported that last year the State of Washington banned field burning throughout the state and recently the State of Idaho did the same. He indicated that Representative Paul Holvey from Lane County is working on a bill to ban field burning in the State of Oregon. He thought the Board should get involved in protecting the public health of people in Lane County by endorsing Holvey’s bill. He announced that on February 28, 2007 there will be a meeting at EWEB about the impact of field burning and the importance of Lane County getting involved.
Dwyer thought the Public Health Advisory Committee needed to look at Holvey’s bill as it is an appropriate public health issue.
Stewart thanked the Board for their hard work at the Board Retreat yesterday.
5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. REPORT/CVALCO Semi-Annual Report.
Kari Westlund, CVALCO, reported that for the first six months of the fiscal year, they had strong results in each program area. She said the numbers in the hotel sector (as measured by hotel occupancy revenues) is strong. She commented that Lane County is ahead of the Willamette Valley as a whole. She noted there was 75 percent occupancy for the past six-month period, which was a record high. She indicated that visitors in Lane County spent $553 million in Lane County in 2006, which was a 7.5 percent increase over the prior year. She indicated there are over 7,500 jobs in the County in the travel sector with $138 million in earnings. She noted that room tax collections are up ten percent.
Westlund reported that Lane County will have the Triamerica National Series Tour, a triathlon that will be in Cottage Grove for July 21 and July 22. She noted that 600 athletes will participate. She stated that Cycle Oregon will be spending three nights in Lane County starting September 12. She announced a Meeting Planner’s Conference by Meeting Planners International, called Cascadia Conference 2008. It will bring 300 meeting planners in March 2008.
With regard to tourism marketing, Westlund reported they had seen a growth in their website. She reported they had been working on new festivals: The Truffle Festival and the Wings and Wine Festival in the Fern Ridge area. She added that they continue to leverage the regional and state programs.
Green asked if Westlund had indicators as to why people who come to Lane County stay an extra night and visit downtown.
Westlund stated she was proactive in talking with city representatives about the potential for incorporating hospitality amenities downtown. She said they should have additional hotel rooms and points of commerce that are visitor oriented in the downtown core. She thought meeting space and hotel rooms could become a catalyst for Downtown Eugene. She noted there are a lot of music venues downtown that bring in people from other places.
Sorenson asked what effort they could put into giving Amtrak greater attention.
Westlund said traditionally Oregon had not given as much as the State of Washington in funding the passenger rail corridor. She said Oregon didn’t give it a high priority. She indicated that most of the focus goes between Portland and Seattle. She said making it a budgetary priority at the state level could help. She added there are freight and passenger conflicts on the corridor. She commented in some cases it is almost impossible to overcome it. She noted there were other issues around getting people off of I-5 than just a tourism message.
Van Vactor noted in the absence of renewal of the Secure Rural Schools Act with budget number two, they would be proposing a redirection of the car rental tax away from the Parks Division. He indicated a portion of that would qualify for transient room tax under the statutory definition. He said there could be potential redirection of the transient room tax of about $400,000, with the reduction of $200,000 to the fairgrounds and $200,000 to CVALCO in next year’s contract.
6. CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
a. ORDER 07-2-21-1/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 3 of the Lane Manual to Increase Membership of the Lane County Commission on Children and Families Advisory Board from 17 to 21; Approving Committee Bylaw Changes and the Membership Committee's Appointment Recommendations (LM 3.521).
Christine Rogers, Children and Families, asked the Board to approve the Lane Manual change that will allow the Commission on Children and Families to increase its current membership from 17 to 21 and approve the Commission on Children and Families’ membership committee’s recommendation for appointment.
Rogers explained that by increasing the membership of the commission, the Board is supporting the goals of the Lane County Strategic Plan to provide opportunities for citizen involvement in decision-making and volunteerism. She added the Board is addressing an item in the Lane County Diversity Plan that reflects the diversity of the population of the citizens. She stated that the membership committee of the commission thought the more people they have at the table, they have more expertise and it allows the work of the commission to be spread out for the committee to do work.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-2-21-1.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor reported that next week he, Tony Bieda, and Stewart are going to Washington, D.C. for the United Front.
b. REPORT/Wildish Land Acquisition Update.
Jim Johnson, Project Manager, recalled that last November the Wildish Land Company sent a letter to Lane County asking if the County had interest in purchasing 1,200 acres of land adjacent to the Buford Recreation Area. He stated in December the Board responded and said they were interested. He was asked to be the Project Manager working with County staff doing due diligence in the purchase. He stated Wildish has been cooperative in answering questions about assumptions they had used.
Johnson suggested that Lane County allow the Nature Conservancy to assist in taking over a leadership role in the land acquisition. He commented this is a complicated land acquisition and the Nature Conservancy has the expertise to assist them. He has been receiving feedback from people in the community related to the County’s priorities and a change in the lead role will help the perception issue.
Fleenor agreed there was a perception issue with Lane County asking the taxpayers to approve an income tax measure to approve public safety and then wondering why Lane County has money to buy parklands. He wanted to have a clear understanding that no Lane County fund would be used for this purchase. He said they would facilitate, but not be the financial partner.
Johnson noted there are some dedicated revenues that Parks could use to finance the appraisal, but they couldn’t be used to fund public safety. He indicated the issue was finding enough state and federal dollars and private donations to make this acquisition a reality. He stated no general money was to go for this.
Dwyer said they knew they didn’t have the money for the land. He said they had a little money in the SDC’s for parks that could be used for appraisal but not for operations. He said they needed a commitment from the Wildish family that they would allow the time and opportunity to put together whatever kind of partnerships that would allow them to maintain the open space for the betterment of the overall community. He said he never had any intention of using the County’s money. He said they had an opportunity and they were going to try to take advantage of the opportunity. He indicated they hired Jim Johnson to work on this and put it together. He thought giving the Nature Conservancy the lead with the County’s backing would be a good thing.
Green commented that this was important to him. He wanted it to remain open to the public and in the Wildish name. He thought they had an opportunity to have this legacy.
Johnson said they met with the Wildish Company and they were fine with the Nature Conservancy arrangement.
Sorenson thought it was important to take advantage of this opportunity. He suggested getting an independent appraisal. He also thought it was important that the Board work with all the different partners as well as the Nature Conservancy. He asked what the next steps were.
Johnson responded the next step is to write a draft of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Nature Conservancy and Lane County that will spell out the responsibility of each group. He said they need to move forward with the steps necessary to negotiate and make the final conclusion. He added they will also outline how the appraisal gets completed.
Fleenor supported this. He thought the citizens of Lane County have an opportunity to leave a legacy they could be proud of.
MOTION: to give Jim Johnson guidance to work on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nature Conservancy.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Dwyer said it was his vision for that area to be a regional park that could give recreational activities into the future. He commented that Measure 37 was the catalyst that gave them the opportunity. He thought this was a positive impact of Measure 37.
Johnson noted that Stewart and the two mayors are sending a letter to the United Front alerting the congressional delegation about the opportunity.
8. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. REPORT/Effects of Methamphetamine Addiction.
Rob Bovett, Government’s Meth Task Force, gave a presentation on what the Governor’s Meth Task Force had done in the past and what their agenda is in Congress and for the legislative session.
b. ORDER 07-2-21-2/In the Matter of Support of Port of Siuslaw for Request of Funds for Dredging at the Federal Level.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-2-21-2.
Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Fleenor commented that it was essential to local commerce to have these ports dredged, and was long overdue.
9. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
January 23, 2007, Work Session, 9:00 a.m.
B. County Administration
1) ORDER 07-2-21-3/In the Matter of Setting a Date for the Final Hearing on the Formation of the Row River Valley Water District (Public Hearing: March 14, 2007, 1:30 p.m.).
C. Management Services
1) ORDER 07-2-21-4/In the Matter of Readopting Lane Manual 4.020 Relating to Investment Policies.
D. Public Safety
1) ORDER 07-2-21-5/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute Communication Site OR4 YACHATS License Agreement Between Verizon Wireless and Lane County in the Amount of $6,700.
E. Public Works
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 07-2-21-6/In the Matter of Setting a Public Hearing for the Proposed Vacation of the Plat of Colter’s Addition to Glenada (Bk 4, P 84) and the Amended Plat of Colter’s Addition to Glenada (Bk 6, P 25) As Platted and Recorded in Lane County, Oregon Plat Records (18-12-34) (Public Hearing: April 4, 2007, 1:30 pm).
F. Youth Services
1) ORDER 07-2-21-7/In the Matter of Ratifying the Submission of the Grant Application for the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) Grant Intervention Services Funds and Approving the Acceptance of the Contract for Youth Services in the Amount of Up to $80,500 for Fiscal Year 06/07.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
10. HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 07-2-21-8/In the Matter of Creating the Classification and Salary Range for (MHO) Care Coordination Specialist.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-2-21-8.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Green indicated that the position would be paid for from the State of Oregon that covers the cost for the position.
Fleenor stated he won’t be supporting it due to budgetary restrictions. He said it sends an unclear message.
VOTE: 4-1 (Fleenor dissenting).
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Green announced on Friday February 23 from 12 to 4 there will be a re-enactment by the Black Student Union regarding the tent city.
Dwyer indicated there will be a special Finance and Audit Meeting regarding the shortfall in Parks and there will be an Economic Development Standing Committee Meeting in the afternoon.
Stewart reported that on March 9, 10 and 11 there will be an Emerald Team Challenge, a gymnastic event held in Cottage Grove. He indicated it would bring 6,000 people into Lane County.
13. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 102.660 (2)(h) for the purpose of consulting with counsel on litigation.
15. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 11:40 a.m.