BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

November 6, 2007

9:00 a.m.

Meeting Room 2, Fairgrounds Convention Center

APPROVED 10/28/2009

 

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

 

1. DISCUSSION/Fairgrounds.

a. Introduction.

b. Comments on 2007 Fair; results from Fair exhibitors and vendors and non-Fair exhibitors survey; observations on Golden Gardens site; comments on fairgrounds relocations based on past and current work.

c. Results of the 2007 Fair intercept survey conducted by the University of Oregon Community Planning Workshop.

d. Cost information on reinvesting in current site and facilities and relocation to an alternative site.

e. Lane Events Center/Fairgrounds valuation.

f. Bonding, impact on property tax rate.

g. Golden Gardens due diligence process.

h. Identify questions for Listening Sessions.

 

Warren Wong, Fairgrounds, recalled on June 6 and September 12 the Board asked staff to develop a work plan.  He said the Board wanted someone from the outside to come in and observe the 2007 County Fair and give suggestions.  Wong said he was told to look into options for either reinvesting at the current site or moving the fairgrounds.  He indicated that they developed a four phase work plan.  He said this work session is informational and it is the first phase.  He said it was an opportunity for staff and consultants to present information for a baseline for data to work from.  He noted the next phase is a listening tour; the third phase will be a discussion of various policy issues and the fourth phase will be the decision making.

 

Wong explained that there are 55 acres at the current site; 40 of which are developed.  He noted the youngest building is 30 years old.  He added there have been some upgrades, the most recent in 1999 for the atrium.  He said at the current site they have flat space for an exhibition facility with animals for the youth fair in July and the County Fair in August.  He commented for two weeks a year they are fairgrounds and for the other weeks they are a flat space facility.

 

Rod Markin, Markin Consulting, gave comments on the 2007 Fair, results from the fair exhibitors and vendors and non-Fair exhibitors survey; observations on the Golden Garden site; and comments on the fairgrounds relocation based on past and current work.  (Copy in file).

 

Carrie Matsushita,  Fairgrounds, gave the results of the 2007 Fair Intercept Survey conducted by the University of Oregon Community Planning Workshop. (Copy in file).

 

Bill Seider, Pivot Architects, gave cost information on reinvesting in the current site and facilities and relocation to an alternative site. (Copy in file).

 

David Suchart, Management Services, recalled that he was asked to look at the value of the property.  He indicated that he is working with Rick Duncan.  He said if the Board wanted to market the property, they would need cooperation between the County and the city of Eugene for zoning in the area and what the potential for the property could be.  He added the sale would be dependent upon the zoning change.  He said if they were to rezone it into a single family zone, the range based on 55 acres is between $9.7 and $12.2 million.  He indicated that if they were to rezone it into a limited multi-zone family zone area, the range would be $19.5 to $24.4 million.  He added that if they were to do a mixed use center that would include offices, some small medical, limited commercial and residential, the range would be between $32 million and $42 million.  He said it has been recommended that the best way of trying to sell the property would be to the city of Eugene and not leaving it up to a developer.

 

Van Vactor reported on June 21, 2007 Lane County signed an option agreement with the city of  Eugene on Golden Gardens, a 220 acre parcel.  He indicated that it is a two year option at no cost to Lane County.  He said that Eugene would develop a park in the range of 70 to 100 acres and the balance would be available to Lane County if they were to exercise the option for a fairgrounds.  He added that adjacent to the property is 80 acres owned by the Bethel School District and they have had some interest.  He said their concern is finding replacement land for new facilities.  He noted that everyone signed the agreement on October 24,  2007.   He said a twist at the end was the owners wanted to reserve 10 acres of the 220 acres for the long term. He indicated the amount of land available is down to 180 acres. 

 

With regard to due diligence, Van Vactor recommended Tony Bieda, Assistant County Administrator, Warren Wong, David Suchart, Kent Howe, Land Management, Kari Westlund, CVALCO, Todd Winter, Parks, Charlotte Riersgard from Extension Service, Assistant County Counsel Steve Vorhes and Carry Matsushita from the Fairgrounds meet as a team.  He reported within the past two weeks there have been independent offers that have been presented to Lane County in terms of alternative sites.  He noted one site was at I-5 and Coburg and the landowner next to the airport has offered some land as a donation for the fairgrounds site.  He added that Jim Gillette offered land he has in south Eugene.  He asked what the vision the Board wants.  He asked the Board to think about a project manager for this project.  He added that it is a multi-year activity.  He said if the Board is really serious in relocating the fairgrounds and looking at other sites, he encouraged the Board to look at sites that are adjacent to I-5 or other cities like Coburg, Creswell and Cottage Grove.

 

Fleenor recommended that Mike McKenzie-Bahr, Economic Development, be part of the due diligence team.

 

2. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. ORDER 07-11-7-1/In the Matter of Allocating $50,000 From the Strategic Opportunity Reserve Fund to Be Used for the Development of Conceptual Plans for a Potential New County Fairground Site and Authorize the County Administrator to Sign Project Contracts.

 

Mike McKenzie-Bahr explained that this is the recommendation from the Economic Development Standing Committee based on an agenda item brought by Dwyer.  He said Dwyer asked if video lottery funds could be used for this purpose.  McKenzie-Bahr said they can, especially looking at ways for community development investments.  He indicated the recommendation is to use $50,000 of video lottery funds for this purpose.  He added there is a total of about $1.2 million in the current fund.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-11-7-1.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

Fleenor wanted to change the language to say the money is used to investigate the needs and opportunities for either keeping the fairgrounds where they are and/or to relocate the fairgrounds and respond back to the Board in nine months.  He wanted to look at the mission  and the purpose for the fairgrounds.

 

Green wanted to have some milestone language.

 

Stewart thought once the assessment team was formed they could come back with recommendations about different funding levels.

 

Sorenson wanted to see this come back looking at the current fairgrounds so they are not just looking at the cost of a new facility.

 

Dwyer thought the discussion with the community will drive this.  He said the vision in process is to be shared with the community.  He wanted a discussion with the community.  He hoped the $50,000 could do modeling to build a vision so when they have their listening tours they can show the community what their vision is.

 

Fleenor asked if the maker of the motion and the second was receptive to his amendment.

 

Stewart said they were.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

 

 

3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Cindy Land, Eugene, commented that this was the first time that any of the public has heard this information.  She congratulated the Fair staff for what they accomplished at the 2007 Fair.  She said they produced more results with less money and fewer people than they had in the previous seven years.  She commented that the fair is not a festival, it is a Fair designed by Oregon State Statutes to celebrate agriculture.  She commented that agri-tanement is just as much fun as a computer fair to kids.

 

Karen Ramus, Eugene, said she is a client of the fairgrounds.  She indicated that she produces three home and garden shows representing 900 businesses. She thought because of the free admissions the attendance was over 100,000 during these shows.  She said her vendors love the location of the building.  She added the general interest of the people who come to the events is location.  She asked to include them as a resource.

 

Helen Berg, Eugene,  stated that she has been involved with the Home and Garden Show since 1980.  She commented that her exhibitors love the location and the public loves the location.  She added that not everything is perfect, but they are willing to live with it.  Her concern is by moving the fairgrounds they would lose attendance at consumer shows.

 

Bob Still, Creswell, stated that agriculture needs to be taken care of and there needs to be a place for 4H.

 

Eric Myers, Eugene, said he grew up in the Friendly neighborhood.  He said he is on the Board of Directors of Saturday Market.  He said they need to start looking at alternative ways to look at the flat space.  He thought by moving the fair it would increase the size of the ecological footprint.  He doesnít agree with moving the fairgrounds.  He said they need to return to an agricultural based system.  He recommended collaborating with different entities.

 

Ross Penhallegon, Eugene, said there are limitations with the current fairgrounds.  He thought they could build a place to become a regional center.  He thought about a regional farmers market.  He thought it was an opportunity to dream.  He said they could have a place like Pikeís Market in Lane County.  He said they could have animals, agriculture and crafts.

 

C.L. John, said the problem is that the quality of the fairgrounds is going down.  He commented that the dollar is controlling everything instead of the community.  He said they need to take into the consideration the people in Lane County and the kids that come through the fairgrounds.  He commented that lives are changed by animals.

 

Suzanne Jackson, Eugene, said she is an owner of Piccadilly Flea Market.  She said they are at the fairgrounds about 21 times per year and have a good business that has been established.  She said they donít want to move.  She indicated the expo buildings are heated and she thought with a little bit of extra money they could be brought up looking better.  She was afraid their business would be impacted if the Board moved the fairgrounds.

 

Peggy Ward, Eugene, stated she is the other owner of the Piccadilly Flea Market.  She said her husband is a general contractor and is aware of the cost to build a new building versus the cost to remodel a building.  She stated that they could not afford to keep the business if it is moved out of town.

 

Zachary Vishinoff, Eugene, recommended a citizen contest for drawings for the fairgrounds to see what they can get.  He thought it could be a good prototype of everyoneís idea.  He said then the Board could come back with recommendations.

 

Stewart reiterated that this was a learning session from the Board.  He didnít hear a clear direction. He commented that this process would take many years if it is to move forward.  He said they need to address expenses.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart adjourned the meeting at  12:11 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary