Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Commissioner Bill Fleenor presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Rob Handy, Pete Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
9. PUBLIC HEARING
a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 10-4-13-1/Adopting an Oregon Department
Transportation (ODOT) Matrix Review Sheet and Priority List for Connect Oregon
III Projects in Lane County.
Celia Barry, Public Works gave a presentation on Connect Oregon, listing the four Lane County Connect Oregon proposals. (Copy in file).
Savannah Crawford, ODOT, asked if the Board has a conflict and if so, to disclose it. She said someone who discloses a conflict could still participate, but they cannot vote on priorities. She said these recommendations will be sent to the Super ACT on April 29.
Fleenor asked if there were any conflicts of interest.
Dwyer said he had no conflicts and no ex parte contacts.
Sorenson reported that he had no conflicts.
Fleenor stated he has no conflicts of interest but he talked to Marc Freeman, Port Manager, telling him it was not necessary to be here today.
Handy stated he had no conflict of interest and no ex parte conflicts.
Stewart stated he had no conflicts of interest and no ex parte conflicts.
Fleenor opened the Public Hearing.
Orin Posner, Eugene, said Susan Posner he and Gary Likens are the owners of Fuel Logistics. He said Susan and he also own Lane Forest Products. He stated that they employ over 175 people will full benefits. He noted that Lane Forest owns 18 acres of land adjacent to the Kinder Morgan Tank Farm. He added that they own 60 rail cars. He noted that the Jerry Brown Company is one of the largest fuel distributors in Oregon unloading ethanol and driving it to the tank farm. He added that all fuel for the southern half of Oregon comes into the tank farm in Eugene. He indicated that non-petroleum fuels will not be piped into Eugene. He noted the pipeline was built in the 60ís and not capable of pumping ethanol. He indicated that ethanol is coming to Eugene in 100 rail cars per month, about 3 million gallons or 300 semi-truck and trailers. He explained that the current process to finalize the connection from rail cars to the tank farm is less than ideal but it is the current best practice. He said the benefits of a project to bring ethanol directly to the tank farm via rail and pipe directly into the tank does not have to be hauled on trucks. He said the difference is they are posing procedures and having the facility open seven days per week. He indicated the construction savings is bringing the fuel in. He noted the current facilities donít have any containment. He said there will be cost savings and it affects half of the stateís ability to be competitive with fuel costs. He said having the pumping station will let them bring in trucks. He added that bringing rail in and pumping into the tank is important. He said it is in the publicís best interest to have this facility installed. He said the proposal is for all to come to the tank farm by train. He said if a railroad has access to the tank farm, it is appropriate for the people to use the facility and the railroad. He believes this would benefit the local area.
Michael Gannon, Eugene, wanted the Board to take aggressive steps within Oregon. He went to the rail summit and there were good ideas discussed. He thought there would be follow up. He said the segments of the route from California were divided up and subcontracted to companies started by bond measures. He commented that Oregonians should look to what can be done on the fast train and reframing the public outlook. He wanted the Board to ask themselves in the future if a project fits with the vision with the fast train. He thought the County should encourage companies around the country to locate here for fast rail. He said they should work with the Port of Coos Bay. He said they should look to LTD about the route that belongs to the Coos Bay Rail Line. He knows they donít have a mechanism in the County to synthesize those discussions. He said in looking at federal money that the LTD wants in Veneta, the Coos rail line should look to see if it works. He thought money being proposed to spend on the Em Ex could be put on the rail line. He said they need to talk to legislators about speeding up the process of launching a fast train. He said it should generate a local marketing mechanism.
Brenda Wilson, city of Eugene, said the city of Eugene is requesting the Boardís support for the Connect Oregon III application to facilitate the building of a new consolidated rental car wash facility at the airport. She indicated the project replacing the existing rental car agency to better accommodate future growth at the airport is competitive in the Connect Oregon process, as it meets the funding criteria, She added that it will reduce transportation costs and improve access to jobs and labor resulting in economic benefit to the region and the state. She indicated they are construction ready. She said they are relocating to a different location. She reported that it will give them increased passenger parking capacity and will increase the airport revenue. She noted that now parking is limited and they have to bus people in. She said increased parking reduces traffic and traffic constraints. She estimated this project will bring 56 construction jobs to the area. She said they could fund the project with a $2 per car rental fee but Connect Oregon funds will allow them to meet increased demands. She said the city of Eugene urged the Boardís support.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Fleenor closed the Public Hearing.
Stewart indicated when they present projects to the Super ACT they need to be competitive. He asked where the projects show for statewide significance He hoped they can make the projects worthy.
Fleenor responded that with the Port of Siuslaw the ice machine is working. He noted that once it is operating, they should see the fleet coming back along with fish buyer. He said helping the fishing industry would be of statewide significance. He added that the wharf is in a bad shape of disrepair. He said they need capital improvements or they will lose the facility. He believed it was a worthwhile state project.
Dwyer doesnít think the wharf is of statewide significance. He said the fleet wonít come back to Florence because they canít get out. He said the jetty needs multi-million dollars worth of repair. He added that it is not a deep water port. He asked when it is the responsibility of the community benefiting from this to step up to the plate. He indicated the railroad tracks are bad and he didnít think they could have fast rail. He thought people who rent cars at the airport should be for greater car rental access.
MOTION: to recommend that they rank these projects: 1) Port of Siuslaw; 2) Fuel Logistics; 3) Pacific Recycling and 4) city of Eugene airport.
Handy MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Stewart was supportive of the Port of Siuslaw. He believed they made a statewide case for the reduction in transportation costs. He thought Pacific Recycling and the city of Eugene projects could take partial funding. He said they need to do the best they can to strengthen the information and go with the projects to show statewide significance. He thought it was important to send a letter for the Port of Coos Bay project. He added that not all $100 million is in the Super ACT. He added that there is a larger pot of money and they could allocate some money in Region 3.
Handy supported sending a letter to Coos Bay. He wanted the letter back on the Consent Calendar. He mentioned the passenger upgrade in the line between Eugene and Florence.
VOTE: 4-0 (Dwyer out of room).
MOTION: to send a letter to support the Coos Bay Region 3 rail tunnel repair. That there is a paragraph with future upgrades to handle the passengers from Eugene to Florence.
Stewart MOVED, Handy SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-0 (Dwyer out of room).
Handy reported that he will attend the area meeting on April 29.
10. COMMISSIONERSí BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Ongoing Projects at Buford Park.
Handy said they value the contributions of local 626 and he was sorry they couldnít be present. He said they also valued Howard Schussler, Public Works, to improve the relationships with all of their partners and to update the working agreements. He commented that partnerships are important with the Wildish property in the area.
Dwyer said he wouldnít do an audit now. He understands the sensitivity of the unions wanting the work. He said they have to tread lightly and to do what is most important to the community that doesnít violate any principles or practices and is not a subterfuge. He said they have to identify what they can finish.
Stewart met with Chris Orsinger, Friends of Buford Park. He said there were concerns about projects that needed to be moved forward. He said he received an e-mail from Damien from the Parks Advisory Committee. Stewart noted that Damien indicated most of the projects have not gone to the Parks Advisory Committee. Stewart understood that it was supposed to go through the Parks Advisory Committee first.
Howard Schussler gave a report on the Friends of Buford Park. He said that the Friends of Buford Park do work and trail maintenance. He noted at the same time he has union grievances from two unions going back to 2003 from park managers and superintendants. He recalled since 2007 Parks has eliminated positions. He indicated they only have six positions left. He said in November 2009 an investigator reported to the Board that it was his professional opinion that Friends of Buford Park acted without authorization as a result of the Countyís failure to provide oversight for Friends of Buford Park projects. It was his understanding that board direction was to develop an agreement to allow Friends of Buford Park to do the work and provide oversight. He said that Public Works worked with Finance and Stewart Bolinger, Internal Auditor, to develop a draft. He added that Friends of Buford Park worked with the County and they are getting further apart. He said the County approved the continuation of the south meadow excavation work. He said the County bargained with 626 and gained agreement to the false broom project and nothing else with the union. They notified Friends of Buford Park on November 16 that all of the projects had to be reauthorized and start from the beginning so they could build a structure for oversight. He said currently the County has authorized the ongoing nursery operations with limited sales including a fundraiser of plants that cannot go to private entities. He said the County and 626 agreed to conditions with the South Meadow Weed Control Project. He said the County approved the Monday Morning Regulars, after local 626 waived their right to bargain on March 17. He indicated that the County had never received a project proposal for something called Meadowlark. He said staff has not been given the HBRA Habitat Management Plan for review. He said after the overview of the plan, the Parks Advisory Committee has indicated some support but they had some concerns about the County supporting the Habitat Management Plan. He said they need staff direction. He added that if direction is to pursue structure and oversight, there is no funding or staff capacity to do additional work. He said they cannot accomplish all their projects.
Chris Orsinger stated their mission is to protect and enhance the native ecosystem at Mt. Pisgah and compatible recreation. He indicated that they have 770 volunteers who brought in the value of $120,000 last year. He noted in mid 2009 a change occurred when they were directed to put all of their projects under special use permits. He said it generated confusion and they thought projects that were approved since 2002 had to get reauthorized. He said there was miscommunication for the Oak Savannah project. They were told on January 1 that all of their projects were to be suspended and nothing could be done for reauthorizing the projects until an agreement was executed. He commented that the successor agreement has taken a long time to make it agreeable to both parties. He just returned their recommended changes. He said their pledge was they wouldnít negotiate through the Board but through Public Works. He said it allows them to continue resources and a new level of oversight. He said they want to fulfill their grant commitments. He said all work they do is subject to union review as necessary. He said they went through the process to have their projects reviewed and never asked for more detail. He said they have made progress in the last month in their relationship that would provide efficient County oversight and the ability for them to raise grant resources. He said 626 agreed to have Monday Morning Regulars resume working at the park. He said he is trying to talk more to 626. He wants to be involved in a proactive relationship.
Schussler stated it is inappropriate for Friends of Buford Park to engage with the union in what work can or cannot be done in the Park because Lane County has binding contracts with the unions and not Friends of Buford Park. He said have they had fewer grievances with the three unions they have because they work hard to have a respectable relationship. He has to be sensitive with the unions, Friends of Buford Park and all stakeholders. He stated that staff in Parks has been stretched by need to create structure for greater oversight.
Dwyer asked what they can do in the short run that meets the criteria.
Schussler said they have provided approval for most things to continue. He thought they reached tentative agreement on the majority of the successor document. He indicated that most of the document is being rewritten. He believed projects should be brought back at different steps. He said approval of a plan does not mean work can be done. He said they can start working toward that end. He said they have to have check-ins.
Fleenor said they want to see this succeed but in an organized matter that will work well with the County. He commented that they have deep pockets and union contracts. He asked Orsinger to understand the Countyís challenge and to come back with a successor agreement.
Dwyer said for some projects, the Friends of Buford Park have grants with timelines running. He said things have to be spent or they will lose it. He wanted to help with critical areas that might go away. He wanted to identify what is at risk.
Orsinger said he will present a list of all their property objectives with a grant limit.
Schussler said that was consistent to the offer to the board president.
Stewart thought Orsinger supplied all of the requests. He said it doesn't appear to him that they have a complete list of people. He was concerned about the projects the Board didnít approve but they are encouraging to get done. He thought an operation agreement was critical with approval criteria in it.
Fleenor asked for a report back in two weeks as to the status of the agreement and other factors.
Sorenson stated that he is pleased with the Friends of Buford Park. He thinks the amount of volunteers have been tremendous. He wanted a report back on the status of the agreement. He agreed with 626 and the rights of employees to form bargaining units. He wanted an agreement that clarifies things. He appreciated Brad Rusowís support to the Parks Division Manager and his volunteer work. He didnít think they should pull this tighter in a board meeting. He thought they should have a follow up.
Orsinger preferred reporting back in three or four weeks.
Spartz thought the Board should request any and all funds derived from activities by Friends of Buford Park be put into a segregated account solely for the benefit of the park.
a. DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION/Fiscal Impact of Eugeneís Downtown Urban Renewal District. on the Countyís Future Tax Revenues and Approval of Letter to the City of Eugene.
Fleenor asked if there was any update about Eugeneís application.
Richardson indicated that she was playing phone tag with the cityís attorney. She added there is no more additional information. She said the city has been trying to respond to the Countyís questions. She indicated that she has sent written questions.
Spartz stated that he has no additional follow-up. He said the city will begin action on May 10.
Richardson announced that the city has asked for the County to get any written comments to them by April 30 to process and consider for May 10.
Handy was interested in reworking the draft letter. He asked about the Boardís interest in putting a measure on the ballot for the entire County, He asked what they might be able to do to require public votes for any new urban district plan amendments, or any major new debt.
Richardson replied that the options are limited.
She indicated the state legislature specifically made laws and rules on
urban renewal districts. She added
they were pre-empted from making their own rules.
She added that for some specific areas they could put something on the
ballot if the state legislation hasnít gone in that direction or ruled in that
area.. She said they need to find
out where they would like to go ahead with what the Board wanted to see and she
could go through the statutes.
Handy asked Richardson to look into it and have an analysis where the law allows it and to cite ORS provisions. He asked if Legal Counsel asked the Attorney General about any opinion.
Richardson responded that they never had a narrow question to ask them. She said they wonít get an answer back. She said if the Board has one or more questions, they could submit them.
Dwyer thought their best bet was the legislative arena. He said it is not in their jurisdiction. He stated it is the cities that take advantage of the mechanisms, not the County.
Sorenson thought they should make it clear that this arises out of a state statute to allow cities to do this. He thought they should convey that it isnít fair they can reduce the Countyís taxes. He said it should be clear they are putting energy in the letter about the unfairness of taking away revenue from their government without their consent. He thought they should have a paragraph on how they are losing some of the general fund for crucial services.. He thought the letter should be balanced.. He thought the proposal for using money for the Park Blocks is a good use of the funds. He thought they should address that there are some bright spots and the issue of how they can change or expand the proposal. He thought they should tighten this up. He wanted a paragraph where the previous plans were extended. He commented that the city of Eugene doesnít need the Countyís approval.
Fleenor concurred with Dwyer that this is a legislative fix and they need to get involved in crafting legislation. He thought the launch was the letter. He wanted a paragraph that looks at the historical context of how the urban renewal district was rolled out in the 60ís and prior to Lane Countyís problems regarding loss to Secure Rural Schools and past ballot measures. He commented that all conditions have changed.
Handy said Lane County canít afford to lose revenues and the constituents are expecting them to do due diligence. He said it is about fairness and equity. He stated the city can make decisions that impact other taxing districts. He added the city is getting its way through the Lane County budget and the urban renewal district. He doesnít think it is fair. He wanted to look for compensation.
11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Dwyer announced he wouldnít be attending the Finance and Audit meeting tomorrow.
Handy reported the Long Tom Watershed Council contacted over 400 landowners within the watershed with a survey. He said they analyzed data and 82 percent of the culverts are barriers to cut throat trout.
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor adjourned the meeting at 4:50 p.m.