February 9, 2010
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Bill Fleenor presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Rob Handy, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
There will be an Emergency Business item, a draft memo on urban renewal.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Gary Jensen, stated that he has been a Lane County resident for 40 years. He indicated that he owns a piece of property in Triangle Lake. He talked to Fleenor to address his problem on a comprehensive basis instead of piece by piece. He indicated that Stewart had helped him before. He said he had five land surveys since 1994 and they showed his property on one side. He added there was a vacation process that changed it. He noted there is a County road that runs through the center of his property. He added that the County came in and dug a ditch through the center of the property. He said the Sheriff had been out three times to tell him he was a vagrant and was illegally camping on the property. He said he showed them he had the deed to the property. He said he needs a variance on one side of the road that is being altered. He said the property went from 60 feet by 100 feet to nothing. He said he needs to have the security of knowing that his property wonít be continually altered. He added there are multiple issues that could be detrimental to his developing in a camping fashion or staying there for a day or two.
Krishna Khalsa, Eugene, said he spoke with Mayor Piercy yesterday about Golden Temple. He indicated it is a case of corporate fraud. He said the business is owned by a non-profit but the trustees have gone rogue in another direction and filed a lawsuit. He learned in the last few days the company has been sold to individuals of the Board for a fraction of the real value and at the end of February it is their intention to sell the business to a corporation for full market value. He said the tax base will leave Lane County and 350 living wage jobs will go away. He indicated that he hadnít been able to reach the Attorney General. He asked the Board to request the attendance of a representative of the Attorney General to attend a hearing on Friday. Khalsa said that they are attempting to dismiss the lawsuit so they can proceed with the misappropriation of assets. He said he will come back to the Board with a letter to forward to the Attorney General to get an emergency response.
3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE
Dwyer reported that Stu Burge passed away. Dwyer said Burge was a towering figure. He said that he will miss him. Dwyer commented that his heart went out to Burgeís family and he sent his condolences.
Stewart recommended the Board ask Michael Jackson, Surveyor, to give an update on all the work in Jensenís matter and ask that Arno Nelson from Public Works explain what he had done. Stewart stated that he tried to get as much through the process but he found they couldnít do any more. He was supportive of sending a letter to the Attorney General involved in the matter with Golden Temple.
With regard to Golden Temple, Sorenson wanted to see the Board send a letter to the Attorney General. He asked for a rough draft from Khalsa and to put it on the agenda for tomorrow.
Handy also wanted to request information from Jackson and Nelson.
Fleenor indicated that the Agenda Team will put it on the agenda within two weeks.
4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
Urban Renewal Letter
MOTION: to send the letter.
Sorenson MOVED, Handy SECONDED.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Spartz announced that last week the U.S. Department of Labor awarded the state of Oregon $5.3 million so 1,000 citizens could be sent to school to earn an AA degree as energy management technicians. He said there will be an allocation through the Lane Workforce Partnership for 25 partnerships. He indicated they will be able to train 25 people in energy management.
b. REPORT BACK/Lane County Rail Network Proposed Letter.
Spartz asked Wilde for information and Wilde hadnít provided it. Spartz recommended this be pulled for one week.
c. REPORT BACK/Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Letter to Delegation.
Fleenor gave a letter to Cuyler with the changes.
Dwyer stated that this is why it is important they use Tony Bieda to the maximum extent they can. He thought Bieda could be helpful in scoping out the situation for the County.
Sorenson wanted to get a copy of the letter to Wyden and then will take it with them to the United Front.
Spartz stated that he would send the letters to the legislators and Circuit Court Judges.
6. COUNTY COUNSEL
Richardson said that she looked up urban renewal affecting other local governments. She explained the property value is frozen and the taxes go to local governments. She added the improvements go to the urban renewal district and then when it closes the taxes get divided among the local governments.
b. REPORT BACK/Dorena Dam Public Comment Period and County Legal Standing.
Richardson discovered in working with Steeleís resolution that there was information he included in order for them to vet information. She added that it would take a large amount of time. She indicated that the Board has different choices: to do the resolution as Steele proposed but staff hadnít verified statements; or to find someone to go through the years of records. She added that they could pass a resolution without verifying it and it would not be completely binding. She assumed the Board would not want to put facts out that were not true. She added that if the Board wants to move forward with a more specific resolution, she could do it and have someone do a generic resolution on how the Board would like to see the dam restoration done within Lane County on Lane Countyís waters. She said if it is generic, it would take a week or two to prepare that would reflect the Boardís wishes.
Assistant County Counsel Andy Clark explained the County doesnít have any standing in a right to comment. He noted Steeleís resolution is longer than what the Board would do. He added that it contains judgment statements. He wanted to hear from staff and Steele in the form of a resolution. His recommendation is a more generalized resolution for dam projects in the County. He added by having a generalized resolution, it doesnít mean the regulatory body will pay attention, but this Board will put on the record its statement and they could take up the application in a timely manner. He reported that in this case the application is five years old.
Fleenor asked what timing issues were relevant to the Dorena Dam resolution. He asked if there was a negative impact if it takes two weeks.
Clark responded that he didnít know when the public comment period ends.
Dwyer commented that science is on their side and they need to just make a statement as a policy that they shouldnít permit construction on any waterways unless they account for the passage and the health of fish. He indicated that they need to refer this to state law.
Fleenor asked Dwyer if he was supportive.
Dwyer responded that there needs to be an Option 4 that needs to be general.
Stewart was not comfortable unless the facts have been checked. He thought it would be appropriate to craft a letter about concerns that Steele brought up about fish passages and how operations will address it and the potential health issues with mercury. He thought it would get them to make a comment to help out in this matter. He spoke with Mr. Ziller from Fish and Wildlife and there are issues. He said Ziller thought under the right conditions fish could get up but they would have to do research to find out what is possible. He said they donít have standing on fish ladders but it could be brought with their comments to the operation permit. He noted that issues have been vetted through the court system and decisions have been made. He thought they should do an Option 4 with comments on their concerns.
Fleenor said the Board could draft a letter of concerns that would reference Steeleís comments and if it were an attachment to a letter, they could comment on Dorena Dam by referencing Steeleís letter. He thought they could then go with a more generic resolution in opposition of siting dams without following rules and laws. He asked who the letter should be addressed to and if they would reference Steeleís resolution as an attachment. He asked who would prepare the draft.
Richardson said she would find out who the letter should be addressed to. She added that she could draft a resolution for the Board, crafting a generic resolution.
Handy asked the Agenda Team to have a work session with the stakeholders.
Stewart was comfortable with a letter. He thought it was more appropriate to invite people from Fish and Wildlife that would help understand the projects instead of just the Dorena hydro project.
Clark didnít think they could get a work session by the end of the comment period. He said he will bring the board a timeline of the reporting period.
7. PUBLIC WORKS
a. DISCUSSION/Lane County Project Applications for Surface Transportation Program-Urban (STP-U) Funds in the Metro Area for FY 2011-2013.
Celia Barry, Public Works, said the Board can provide comment to MPC representatives, Handy and Sorenson. She asked for approval to submit applications. She indicated that the MPC will hold public hearings in March and vote on priorities at their April meeting. She is recommending $880,000 for the overlay of 30th Avenue in 2013. She added a second project is $350,000 for a feasibility planning study for the Beaver Street Extension. She said they last looked at STP priorities in August and the federal transportation bill expired on September 30. She said the MPO staff wanted to prioritize for the first fiscal year of reauthorization of the transportation bill. She noted that it hasnít been reauthorized yet. She noted other examples of projects in the past were Pioneer Parkway and Harlow Road, Irving Road and the Northwest Expressway railroad crossing. She recalled when the MPC last prioritized funds in August, they had applied for the 30th Avenue and traffic signal upgrades. She noted that only traffic signal upgrades were funded in the MPC vote. She added because they didnít get funding for 30th Avenue, the staff from MPC recommended that should additional TSP money free up in FY 2010, that it should be directed to 30th Avenue project and prioritized for future funding. She added that it was a unanimous vote. She said it came in at $3.1 million. She said if they go forward with 30th Avenue, they are guaranteed some funding from FY 2010 and from 2011/2013, as they would be prioritized for additional funding.
For Beaver Hunsaker, Barry stated that they are recommending adding back the project because of the Beltline study. She thought it would add more of a system wide approach to the Beltline study. She noted for Beaver and Hunsaker, they are at capacity at the afternoon travel time and there are no pedestrian or bicycle facilities. She noted they are proposing to extend Beaver Street to Wilkes, where there is a right-of -ay and the land is undeveloped. She said they would need to do a feasibility study because some of the land is outside the UGB. She said they talked to ODOT about adding to the Beltline study and they would be contributing funding of 10.27 percent match if they were to get the STP-U money. She recalled that Handy looked at preservation instead of Beaver Street. in attachment 4 in the MPO area. She noted that this is a draft list and the estimates are preliminary. She indicated that Handy said to look at limited funding. She said they could do that. She added they are already allocating $500,000 as the direction MPO is going for LTD. She indicated they would be getting $1.5 million at their request.
Handy asked to roll this item. He wanted more options. He added that the MPC in 48 hours will be making a decision about a new application form for how they score work on various projects. He said they were looking at projects that have preservation qualities and pedestrian safety aspects as well as dealing with greenhouse gas admission reductions. He wanted the second project to be the $350,000 for the Beaver Hunsaker Street Extension and approve the $880,000 for the overlay of 30th Avenue. He added given the second part of funding, he wanted to come back with a range of options. He wanted to know what they could get for preservation and helping with the LTD option. He wanted to get feedback from LTD on how those funds would be used if they decided to pursue that option.
MOTION: to move this matter to February 16.
Sorenson MOVED Handy SECONDED.
Barry indicated that she will not have completed the applications until she has received direction on what to apply for. She added that she will not be rating anything that is in the application form by next week. She asked the Board what they were looking for.
Handy wanted brought back the final approved application form so the Board can see the work MPC has been doing and how they are reviewing projects. He wanted the staffís best effort to prioritize and delineate the PSI and if they had a preservation alternative for money, which projects would rise to the top and make the best use of funding that is not dedicated to the overlay of 30th Avenue. He wanted the option for funding the LTD crisis and shortfall. He asked how it is articulated by LTD about County residents and citizens and how they are able to measure if they decided to allocate the funds to LTD. He also wanted the pedestrian safety projects and how they are able to identify a project that has outstanding characteristics.
VOTE: 4-0 (Dwyer out of room).
Stewart was concerned with the exit at 30th Avenue. He said there have been periods of time (because of increased enrollment) that cars are backed up to the Glenwood exit. He noted that there have been accidents. He asked if there was a way to look at potential options to put safety devices in, like a light that shows a warning light for congestion. He was concerned about safety of the citizens trying to get to school.
Barry indicated that she will raise the issue with ODOT staff and she will report back.
Fleenor asked if there was any possibility of trying to locate funding for an environmental impact assessment for the Fern Ridge overcrossing. He said they had different reports from ODOT. He noted the funding of the program is contingent upon what the actual cost would be for the EIA. He added according to Veneta City Manager Ric Ingam, he wanted to see a study of the actual cost of an EIA through a third party like ECO Northwest or another organization. He said it would help start the Highway 126 Fern Ridge overcrossing project.
Handy asked if there is an option to have the money earmarked that isnít for the overlay of 30th Avenue and to have a broader discussion about issues and what they want to get into the STIP, still holding funding for a Lane County project. He asked if they could have an agreement with a partner that $350,000 will be for a Lane County project. He added that if they decide as a board to get other projects, and if they rise to the top as an emerging issue, to do the project sooner than later.
Barry explained that they donít have money guaranteed to them, it will be a negotiation. She said if they donít put forth a project, it will go to another jurisdiction. She indicated that she would get an answer from MPO staff.
8. ONE PAGER
a. DISCUSSION/Lane County Wildlife Damage Control Co-op.
Aaron Francis, President of Lane County Wildlife Damage Control Co-op, discussed funding a wildlife service specialist. He recalled when the County eliminated funding for a wildlife service specialist; private people would pick up the money Lane County used to contribute for the position. He reported the citizens suffering wildlife damage is growing and it is costly. He indicated that it is hard for smaller individuals to spend the money that the larger ranchers spend. He reported that they only have one specialist supporting three counties. He reported that they are supporting the program as private individuals. He indicated that they wanted to get help from the County again.
Dwyer stated they are cutting Human Services, WIC Services and services to the developmental disabled. He thought it was difficult to justify supporting a wildlife specialist.
Fleenor thought it could be considered for economic development as it has a negative impact to farming.
Spartz thought until they did the research, he didnít know if this was permitted.
9. PERFORMANCE AUDITOR
Bolinger reported that Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, has taken the initiative and arranged for him to join a group in Salem with legislators on Justice Court collection practices on February 23.
Fleenor said they need to define what it means to be an economically distressed county in Oregon. He noted since there is no provision for a county to go bankrupt, there are financial pressures on counties that might lead to an ultimate state of a virtual bankruptcy. He indicated that there is no legislation on the books that defines what a bankrupt county is and what they can do.
Dwyer commented that he didnít see bankruptcy as being an alternative for the County because they are required to balance the budget.
Stewart recalled that Curry County did research on what would happen if they couldnít meet their financial obligations and if bankruptcy was an option. Stewart indicated the Attorney General said bankruptcy was not an option for counties. He agreed with Dwyer that he doesnít think counties will go bankrupt. He stated that if they lose money, they will have to provide fewer services.
Sorenson said they should monitor what is happening with financially vulnerable counties to see what they are doing when confronted with big challenges with the federal and state government cutting revenues. He thought they should develop a legislative program to clarify the procedures about what rights counties have when they get to insolvency.
Fleenor said that Bolinger could work with Richardson, Spartz and Cuyler to find out what is going on and report back to the Board for a briefing on February 23. He also wanted Bolinger to report back on March 31 on the status of distressed counties.
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Sorenson announced that there is a Budget Committee meeting tonight to work on the budget. He reported that he, Handy and Mayor Piercy will be hosting a town hall forum on health issues.
Handy reported that he is having a town hall meeting on February 17 on food security in Lane County.
Fleenor announced that he will be having his 158th community dialog in Veneta on Thursday.
11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 192.660(2)(h) for the purpose of potential litigation.
12. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 11:35 a.m.