BOARD OF COMMISSIONERSí
November 2, 2010
Commissionersí Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Fleenor presided with Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson present. Bill Dwyer and Faye Stewart were excused. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Richardson noted for item 5.c), Vorhes had an appointment and couldnít be back until 10:00 a.m. Richardson asked that it either be rolled until tomorrow or until another convenient time for the Board. She indicated that he submitted a proposed letter based on conversations on prior meetings.
Fleenor asked to roll this until tomorrow.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Robert Roth, stated he sent several e-mails to the Board. He said is not giving legal opinions and doesnít have all the facts, but as a citizen he offered his thoughts. He noted the governing body of the County did not get notice of the forest sales. He indicated that approval of the governing body is required. He didnít see any evidence the County gave approval to any of these sales. He stated it is not a negative option. He said it states the County is to give affirmative approval. He recommended sending a letter and to find out who has bought the properties and to put parties on notice the County didnít agree to this and they are evaluating the options and possible need for recession for some of the transactions. He said it has been suggested that suing the state is a possibility. He said if the state is as clearly in the wrong as it appears to be, then they may not have to sue at all, but file an attempt to sue.
Samantha Chirillo, Eugene, said she is a Co-Director of Cascadiaís Ecosystem Advocates in the matter of a grab of 1,000 acres of forestry land in Lane County. She said there is a problem in regulating forest and farm practices through zoning because of preemption laws but they can do something about the land exchanges. She said the citizens of Lane County are relying on the Board. She didnít think an exchange of these 1,000 acres could be let go. She thought it cut across political lines. She noted there are six counties affected and it would be less expensive for all of the counties to get together for a lawsuit. She commented that in this case the state has crossed the line putting the County in jeopardy of getting its Secure Rural Schools funding. She said it was important to put a hold on these exchanges. She said two parcels have been unsold and the County should have a hold on it.
Natasha Hultmann, Springfield, discussed the land use exchanges that have been occurring illegally. She wanted to make sure these lands are protected and further exchanges be stopped immediately. She thought the County should receive compensation if land is used for any private enterprise. She created a petition that community members have signed addressed to the Board asking the Board to put into action letters that have been drafted.
Ryan Ruggerio, McKenzie River Trust, was available for questions.
3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE
Sorenson agreed with Roth and others who have written them regarding important statutory rights the County has under the disposal law. He said they need to be notified in writing. He noted the letter was sent to the Assessor and the letter stated the governing Board needed to be informed. He didnít think sending a written notice to the Assessor was notice. He said they need to process a letter that makes it clear they are standing up for the rights of the people of the County by asserting their rights to have notice and to make a positive decision. He said they are going to finish the most expensive election in U.S. history today.
4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
Fleenor had a discussion with Spartz about an e-mail that will be sent to individuals who have provided input regarding the water ordinance. He thought they should have a discussion to help the citizens understand the Board is on top of this. He said this would be a prelude to the work session where staff has been directed to identify the top 10 issues and talk about ideas and concerns. He asked Spartz what he needs to make this happen.
Spartz thought they should communicate as much in advance. He said they had so many people signed up to testify at the first meeting that it is most unlikely that anyone who signs up for the second meeting will get a chance to testify. He said they should provide a vehicle that if the Board is e-mailed, they could be put on the list for testimony in the future.
5. COUNTY COUNSEL
b. REPORT/Linn County Sale of Property to McKenzie River Trust.
Assistant County Counsel Marc Kardell explained that McKenzie River Trust approached Linn County about purchasing a piece of property less than 20 acres. He indicated it is on Lane Countyís side of the Willamette River. He said because of the movement of the river, it has been on both sides of the County line. He said the county line has been set in stone by the legislature so it doesnít rely on the river, but geographic descriptions that could be looked at. He recalled in 1940 when this property was foreclosed on by Lane County for non-payment of taxes, the property appears to have been in Lane County. He indicated there was controversy on who owns the property but they had never taxed the property or asserted ownership interest in it. He added that they would not be able to foreclose on the property because they havenít been taxing it. He indicated that it has been in Linn County for many decades. He recalled when the McKenzie River Trust looked at the property and did the research on the ownership; they came across the description of ten other parcels in the name of Linn County but were located on the Lane County side of the river. He had Assessment and Taxation staff do research on the other ten properties. He said they determined the other ten parcels were misnamed as being in Linn County. He added the other properties belonged to the State Division of Lands. He said they were approached by McKenzie River Trust for sale of the property and he asked Linn County to contact Lane Countyís Board to see if there was any interest in the property or if there were any concerns of transfer of the property to the Trust. He said they were sent the letter in July and it didnít make it to anyoneís office until last month. He indicated they wanted to find out the status of this property and other properties. He said the property seems to be legitimately in Linn Countyís ownership. He had questions whether the foreclosure procedure that took place in this case was actually legal. He didnít think the property at the time was in Linn County. He added if Lane County doesnít have interest in the title, he thought it was up to the Board to decide how to move forward.
Fleenor asked if they were setting any precedent with any action they might take.
Kardell said as long as they recognize what has occurred and there are other properties, they are not intending to set any precedent. He added if there are any additional properties they will take it on a case by case basis.
Jeff Turk, Management Services, wasnít aware of any more properties. He recalled a situation in the past that was reversed where there was a private landowner on the Linn County side. He said the property looked like it was owned by Lane County and they may have foreclosed on it.
Mike Jackson, Surveyor, was not aware of any others.
MOTION: to direct staff to draft a letter to Linn County advising Linn County that this Board has no concerns with the transfer of this parcel to the McKenzie River Trust and advising that other holdings in Lane County are still being investigated.
Sorenson MOVED, Handy SECONDED.
Handy wanted to make the letter specific to this one parcel.
Sorenson said this was acceptable to him.
c. REPORT BACK/State Land Sales. (PULLED TO TOMORROW)
d. DISCUSSION/Healthy San Francisco Program.
Tangerine Brigham, San Francisco, discussed the Healthy San Francisco Program.
(Copy in file).
6. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Handy announced that he will be attending a Stand for Children breakfast tomorrow. He reported that there will be a meeting tomorrow night with the West Eugene Em-Ex Corridor Committee.
Sorenson reported he will be attending a Relief Nursery Breakfast tomorrow.
Fleenor announced that he will be having his 195th Community Dialogue at the Eagles Lodge.
7. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
8. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.