March 3, 2009

10:00 a.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 3/18/2009


Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioner Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.




Item T 6 B was pulled, inserting in its place the Discussion on the Ban on Field Burning.  There will be an Emergency Business item regarding membership for the Forestland Urban Interface Classification Committee.








Fleenor commented that the news of Monaco laying off 2,000 people was devastating.  He stated that these are difficult times and things won’t get easier, they will get more difficult.  He said everyone needs to work together, not lose hope and to move forward.  He said they will survive.


Handy reported that he went to the Major Egan Center on the first night of the pilot project for the homeless. He was amazed and impressed with staff working together in a short period of time to make this happen.  He saw homeless people happy to be there.  He added that homeless people were involved and took leadership.  He commented that there have already been tough times for the community.


Sorenson said he is wearing a pin that says 436.  He explained that was because last week he spent time with a coalition of transportation advocates from around the country.  He said the number 436 is the number of miles that a ton of cargo can be shipped down a railroad track with one gallon of fuel.  He indicated that was the level of efficiency they get by shipping over rail.  He noted that there were a number of local government advocates interested in the need for road investments.  He said if they could get the heaviest of the freight off the roads they could get more mileage out of the transportation dollars they have to put into the road system.






a. REPORT/Travel Lane County Semi-Annual Report.


Kari Westlund, Travel Lane County, reported for the past six months they had seen softening in their program measures.  She commented that the recessionary impacts are hitting them.  She noted that December was difficult due to the stormy weather.  She indicated that room tax for December was off 30 percent.   She reported that year to date they remain ahead on room tax collections, up almost four percent but she thought the collections would come down.  She gave a power point presentation on the new changes in the organization.


b. ORDER 09-3-3-1/In the Matter of Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.


MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-3-3-1.


Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.


VOTE: 5-0.


c. DISCUSSION/Letter to Governor Kulongoski.


Sorenson commented that the public school situation in Oregon is serious with the decline in economy and people out of work.  He said state government is funded by income taxes and half the money goes for support of public schools.  He reported that there was a rally in Salem where children and other advocates for public schools were present to urge the legislature to protect the public school system.  He noted that this corrected version of the letter is before the Board urging the state to minimize harm to public schools.


Dwyer stated that they only have so much political capital and the County has its own needs.  He was worried that these types of letters will come back to haunt them.  He wanted to make it more general, discussing Lane County’s needs and indicating that they are not competing needs.


Sorenson wanted the commissioner comments put into a letter that Spartz could re-write.


Handy asked what it would take to get to 100 percent for graduating high school seniors.  He hoped this would go a long way for people not ending up in prison.  He said they have to invest in education, as it is an important part of the community corrections piece.


Stewart commented that education is important to the Board in keeping youth productive in society.  He wanted to add the public safety piece.  He said as they move forward to the next biennium, dollars are critical to keep the system they have in tact and safety in the community.  He wanted that included but didn’t want to discredit the schools.


Sorenson reported that a way to end poverty is to get a 100 percent graduation rate and they can’t do that unless they fund public schools.  He thought the letter could be modified to include reference to the jail, the Community Corrections Center, and the Department of Youth Services.  He wanted to also include Public Health and safety responsibilities referenced in the letter.


Fleenor recommended modifying the second paragraph: ”That is why we urge you to minimize the harm to our public schools while at the same time they acknowledge the need to balance funding for all essential public safety and health programs.  However, in the context of our current fiscal crisis, we cannot think of a better investment for Oregon and Lane County.”


Sorenson recommended staff take the comments and bring back a draft to the Board.


d. PRESENTATION/Working for You Video.



There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 11:20 a.m.



Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary