BOARD OF HEALTH MEETING

January 2, 2008

following Regular Meeting

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 11/25/2008

 

Commission Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr. and Peter Sorenson present.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Jan Wroncy, Eugene, stated she was a former member of VMAC for eight years.  She stated she was a 40 year resident of Lane County and she is a scientist, a farmer and woodlot owner. She asked the Board acting as the Board of Health to consider the following suggestion:  1) to accept only the portion of the 2007 Integrated Vegetation Management Report that reports on the program for the year 2007 and 2) to delay the decision on the proposed plan to apply herbicides in the year 2008 until the public has been allowed 60 days to provide comments regarding the health concerns on the proposed herbicide use on Lane County public roads.  She said she called the Lane County Herbicide Hotline this morning to find out when herbicide applications were scheduled.  She indicated the recorded message stated that between October 2007 and March 2008, no herbicide applications were planned.  She believed a 60 day comment period would not interfere with the present plans that are outlined in the 2007 report.  She thought before April there would be three VMAC meetings and the committee could review budget constraints on the vegetation management program and the committee could provide advice on prioritizing vegetation management plans within the budgets.   She hoped the delay would allow citizens, staff and commissioners an opportunity to suggest alternative funding for the Public Works Roadside Vegetation Management Plan.  She urged the Board to adopt the strategy.

 

Lisa Arkin, Eugene, indicated the report has 51 successful non-herbicide control projects.  She hoped they could build on it.  She thought it was imperative for the County to prioritize non-herbicide methods of roadside maintenance to implement a last resort policy plan.  She asked the Board to delay approval of the order until the VMAC Committee could give this more consideration.

 

John Sundquist, Coburg, stated he is on the VMAC Committee.  He commented that the proposal the Board is going to receive is the same version that was rejected at the December 5 meeting.  He stated that none of the Board’s expectations were addressed.  He added the costs were not the issue but health is.  He said alternatives need to be developed and tried before herbicide use could be contemplated.  He stated the Board of Commissioners must decide whether or not to commit County resources to spray noxious weeds. He indicated a majority of VMAC approved the updated version but thought it was manipulated by staff. He commented that this report ignores the specific requirements of the Last Resort Policy, the IVM Policy and the IVM Standards and Guidelines Policy.  He said the loss of inmate crews resulting in the proposed use of herbicides on guardrails was deliberately contrived by laying off three workers, triggering the union agreement.  He indicated that staff had already purchased large quantities of herbicides. He said as the Board of Health they must address the fact that every last resort proposal brought by staff in the past few years, has proposed to increase rather than decrease the risk of harm to County residents.  He urged the Board to reject the 2007 policy in its entirety and direct staff to create a document that complies with all requirements of guidelines.

 

Jan Nelson, Eugene, said the herbicides proposed by Public Works are still not healthy.  She commented that weeds are not the health risks, it is the herbicides.  She said as a member of VMAC, her concerns were the same about the annual report.  She said Public Works staff has still not shown them the location and number of sites proposed for herbicide applications, so they might suggest alternatives. She commented that the herbicide program was costly.  She said if they accept the annual report, to then postpone accepting the portion on proposed herbicide use for this year and allow a period of time to study alternatives.

 

Zachary Vishinoff, Eugene, stated he appreciates the time the Board takes for bringing issues forward.  He thought in this new year a subcommittee could hold hearings to find out the public’s concerns with bioethics and the privatization of the university.  He commented that the governor had not shown interest on what the residents of Eugene are concerned about.  He noted meetings were held about nanotoxicity.

 

 

2. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE  

 

None.

 

3. REGULAR BUSINESS

 

a. ORDER 08-1-2-14/In the Matter of Approving the Lane County Integrated Vegetation Management Program Annual Report (2007).

 

Fleenor stated he facilitated the December 12 meeting where there was a 6 to  2 vote in favor of the annual report.   

 

Orin Schumacher, Public Works, reported that there are underlying documents that were approved by the Board of Health in 2006 that was their Management Prescription Plan. He said it described their integrated vegetative management approach.  He said the Management Prescription Plan was created in accordance to the Last Resort Policy and guided them through the policy.

 

Fleenor asked if they could have a 60 day comment period.

 

Schumacher said if they get approval of the annual report, they would plan to meet to develop a program and without the direction, it would postpone the preparation time.

 

Fleenor stated they need to have a discussion on the issue of whether or not Lane County should control noxious or invasive weeds.  He said there are no state laws to do this and they have dwindling resources.  He wanted guidance on this policy issue.

 

Dwyer said it was the Board’s intent to use chemicals as a last resort after they have reviewed all other options and quantify what the cost of the options might be. He noted at Mt. Pisgah and at other locations the noxious weeds were endangering native plants and they specifically allowed those areas to be sprayed because hand thinning and other methods were not successful in trying to control the weeds that were impacting the ecosystem.  He said the dismissal of the road crew has an impact on what type of program they could have with hand elimination.  He approved the annual 2007 report.  He added delaying a decision of the plan to apply herbicides and open the 60 day public comment period doesn’t impact them because they are not planning to spray until March.  He stated he was prepared to adopt the portion of the report that did not include herbicides.

 

Green asked about the liability to the County if they are not spraying.

 

Schumacher stated the concerns he as is that the Oregon Department of Agricultural has the State Weed Board and they set the weed policy for the State of Oregon.  He added they don’t come onto public lands that are not theirs unless they are requested.  He said if Lane County stops spraying, there won’t be anyone else doing the work.  He noted that blackberries are a safety concern that is on the noxious weed list.

 

Green wanted to sell the spray truck.  He wasn’t opposed to the 60 day delay.  He wasn’t interested in throwing out everything the VMAC had done.  

 

Stewart wanted to have the opinions of the Nature Conservancy, watershed councils and the farming community included.  He thought they would still want Lane County to manage invasive species as it is a problem for them in the watershed.

 

Fleenor said they were there for health purposes, not to get rid of invasive weeds.  He wanted to make sure the guard rails and intersections are safe.  He added beyond that their resources are limited. He wanted direction as to whether or not they should be doing noxious and invasive plant control.

 

Sorenson thought selling the spray truck was a good idea.  He thought they should bring back a board order that describes the report from 2007. He wanted to separate the report from last year as to what they are going to do down the road.  He favored the delay on future activity.  He wanted something from Public Works that would show how they would follow the last resort ordinance.

 

MOTION: to accept the VMAC Annual report 2007 with the following changes:  to delete Section III for proposed herbicide uses, on page 10, use language that they will postpone the purchase of the new spray equipment or delete the language from the third sentence down and the new spray equipment.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

Stewart said there are places where the Last Resort Policy was needed to be used: in the cracks for crack seals and guard rails.  He thought there should be a plan by VMAC.  He said they should ask if they should even be in the business of doing anything with invasive species.

 

Sorenson wanted an update on the counties that had a no spray policy.  He wanted to know how much communication they could have with ODOT.    

 

Fleenor stated that they just approved a supplemental budget and he didn’t see an add back for the three public workers that triggered the loss of the Sheriff’s Work Crew.  He asked if they could add those positions back.

 

Green thought they had more at stake then those three positions for the overall organization.  He said resources are the issue.

 

Stewart thought it was premature until they knew what was going to happen with Secure Rural Schools funding.

 

Fleenor asked if they could have a six month extension of the use of herbicides until they go through the budget process.

 

Dwyer said they need to go through the 60 day public hearing process and the VMAC meeting and let them develop the process.  

 

4. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

a. Approval of Minutes:

December 5, 2007, Board of Health Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

 

MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

5. OTHER BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary