March 16, 1995
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARINGS
Harris Hall Main Floor - 1:30 p.m.
Chair Ellie Dumdi presided with Steve Cornacchia, Bobby Green, Jerry Rust and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary.
1. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Daisy Sterling, 45828 Gate Creek Rd., Vida, commented that she is an active member of the Neighborhood Watch and is very concerned about budget cuts for the Sheriff's Office. She indicated they already have problems getting resident deputies to respond. Sterling asked the Board to take this into consideration next year.
Vincent Davis, 90357 Thomson Lane, Vida, remarked that he is president of the Vida/McKenzie Neighborhood Watch and was here representing 65 volunteers. He stated that only with a police presence can they make a difference. Davis stressed that those outside cities also pay taxes. He requested that funding for the Sheriff's Office be given the priority it deserves.
Anna Grosvenor, 46447 McKenzie Highway, Vida, expressed concern that funds already voted for the Sheriff can be taken away by the Commissioners.
Vern Blumhagen, 47185 Goodpasture Road, Vida, indicated that he was surprised that Forest Work Camp funds could be used elsewhere. He expressed support for separate funding for the Sheriff. Blumhagen remarked that using Work Camp funds elsewhere diminishes the credibility of the county government. He asked how citizens can trust the Board not to use levy funds next year for something else.
Randy Smith, 55819 King Road East, Blue River, asked what happened to the 3-year operating levy where they were promised sheriff's protection. He asked what happened to all that money and why it didn't go to paying for rural deputies. Smith expressed concern that rural law enforcement funding is always the first to be cut. He commented that the McKenzie area is a tourist playground. Smith stressed that to protect tourism, tourists must also be protected. Responding to Rust, Smith stated that there is a resident deputy in Vida, but not in McKenzie Bridge.
Dumdi remarked that there are two commissioners who also live in rural areas. She stated that decisions made last night were difficult. Dumdi stated that mothballing the work camp for one year was the least onerous of the choices. She stressed that the Board tried to keep the Sheriff as whole as possible. She noted that the proposed budget puts some money back to Youth Services and tries to hold the District Attorney harmless. Dumdi indicated that she understands the concerns and would like help to design a budget and revenue source that will make the county whole for the future.
2. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. ORDER 95-3-16-1/In the Matter of an Election Authorizing a One Year Serial Levy.
It was noted that based on decisions made at the Budget Committee level, the above issue was moot, thus was not discussed at this meeting.
3. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. PUBLIC HEARING/In the Matter of a Proposed Bond Issue for Construction of a Juvenile Justice Center and Land Acquisition for a Youth Campus.
Steve Carmichael, Director of Youth Services, introduced Judge Leonard, Juvenile Court Judge. Leonard expressed relief that Youth Services will be able to continue at the same level as previously. With regard to the potential bond measure for the Juvenile Justice Center, Leonard noted that the current facility is outmoded and unsafe, and that now is the time to plan for the future. He stressed that he would be happy to speak with anyone at anytime to discuss the need for the new facility.
Carmichael thanked the Budget Committee for decisions made last night, especially for the added $100,000 to deal with juvenile offenders who are presently only getting warnings for offenses of less than $750. He thanked the Board for their ongoing commitment to youth.
With regard to the request to go to voters for a bond measure for a facility to house youth offenders, Carmichael noted that the current facility is just providing detention while prevention/intervention is also necessary. He stressed the need to take this second step. (At this time a video was shown depicting current conditions in the present facility and discussing the needs.)
Carmichael then distributed information regarding components of the Juvenile Justice Center proposal (see material on file), including facilities for lock up, court, probation and parole, a correctional work center at the current National Guard Armory site, purchase of land for a substance abuse facility and other specialized treatment programs, plus the costs of election, bond issuance and projected related costs. He explained that additional recommended components include an additional lock-up unit of 32 beds to bring the total to 96 beds, a substance abuse treatment facility for juvenile offenders and a 20-bed residential shelter for juveniles who do not need the security of a lock-up facility. Carmichael observed that the recommended package, including the basic project and the recommended components, totals $38,940,000.
Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, spoke about the cost of not doing this project. He compared the costs of incarcerating versus the cost of not incarcerating repeat criminals, noting that it is cheaper to incarcerate kids and treat them than to have them repeating crimes, where citizens suffer losses that are greater than the costs of incarceration. Harcleroad indicated that this will improve the quality of life in the community and stated that he will do what he can to help pass the bond.
Jim Forbes, Executive Director of Looking Glass, indicated his support of the project, noting that it looks at the big picture for a continuum of services in the community. He indicated that Looking Glass would like to be the anchor tenant of this public/private venture. Forbes emphasized the need for prevention, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation.
Dumdi opened the public hearing.
Dennis Hijmans, 85181 Winding Way, spoke with a focus on what can be expected from 1000 local rotarians. He stressed the Lane County can no longer afford a narrow focus, noting that early intervention needs to be available for first-time offenders. Hijmans indicated that the rotarians have grants that can be applied for. He noted that the Register-Guard is also supportive. Hijmans emphasized that a message needs to be sent to all area department heads of all government agencies that the County is serious and wants to see the schools, youth services and police work together to maximize use of this building. With regard to operating expenses, he noted that there is the assumption that Youth Services will have an operating budget. Hijmans summarized that the Rotary and the Gang Prevention Partnership are ready, willing and able to help.
Green asked Carmichael about the relationship between the non-profit organizations. Carmichael responded that Looking Glass has been an integral partner, but that the concept is that any non-profit organization that can best provide a service is available to apply to the Board to serve as a player.
Responding to Green, Forbes reported that with regard to "Stepping Stone Lodge," Looking Glass will raise all of the money for that building. He noted that Looking Glass has numerous grant funding sources. Forbes remarked that the Looking Glass Board of Directors will launch a capital campaign and request private foundation dollars. He stressed that their facilities will be paid for entirely out of their own funding. Forbes noted that "Pathways" will be a county building and Looking Glass will compete for the contract. He stressed that Looking Glass plans to keep their involvement entirely above board.
Max Schumacher, 1735 Tabor, spoke against the bond measure. He indicated that he works full-time and spends 20 hours per week working with youth groups in this community and statewide. He indicated that this venture is a stop gap, remarking that there needs to be programs that will give youth something to do before they get in trouble. Schumacher observed the need to enter parents into this equation. He stressed that this proposal is extravagant, noting that it could be done on a smaller scale and still take care of the needs for detention while working on the other end of this (prevention). He summarized that he opposes this ballot measure and will work against it. Rust remarked that if there are no sanctions for first offenses for youth, they begin repeating their crimes. He noted that Skipworth is hopelessly out of date and that a lawsuit could shut it down. Cornacchia suggested that Schumacher go over and look at the Skipworth facility.
Chris Chudzik, 1412 Morningside Drive, commented that she is the parent of a child who has been through this system and that she has worked professionally with kids in the system. She noted that her concern is that this levy is not going to pass as it is, noting public concerns that the proposed facility is too big. She agreed that the current facility is inadequate and offered support for the detention, school and work training center portions of the proposal. Chudzik observed that there is a critical need for access for girls into residential treatment. She suggested that the Board focus on "needs," not "wants" if they want to pass this, suggesting that they go back to the drawing board, cut back a little and put the revised proposal on the September ballot. Chudzik offered her services.
Jim Stroud, 615 Elwood Drive, indicated that he is a member of some of the bodies that meet at the Masonic Temple and is concerned about the physical extent of the project, asking whether better use of present space and facilities was possible, including the armory building. He noted that the bond issue is for a lot of money and to present it in May could be traumatic for voters.
Sally Weston, 2595 Highland Drive, indicated that she is co-president of the Lane County League of Women Voters, noting that they are trying to keep track of developments regarding children and youth. She observed that there are a lot of unanswered questions about where the money will come from to operate the proposed programs. Weston noted that the League supports increased capacity facilities for detention and juvenile court, but has not taken a position on the whole package. She expressed personal regret that a commitment to preventive programs is not included in the package. Weston asked the Board to look at the big picture and get everybody, including the Commission on Children and Families, involved in the program.
Florence Brown, 24164 Highway 36, Cheshire, commented that she is the secretary for Grandparents for Family Justice and that they support anything that is doing good for the children.
Christine Donahue and Louise Christopherson, noted that they have been working with the Youth Campus task force and are aware of problems with youth and facilities. They encouraged the Board to go forward, noting that a public/private partnership will allow opportunities for prevention to be addressed.
Dumdi closed the public hearing.
4. YOUTH SERVICES
a. ORDER 95-3-16-2/In the Matter of Calling an Election on the Question of Authorization of General Obligation Bonds for Construction of a Juvenile Justice Center and Land Acquisition for a Youth Campus.
Weeldreyer asked Hijmans to speak with regard to a May versus September ballot. Hijmans remarked that May is preferable due to recent events and public momentum, noting that location of a state training school is also a factor. He noted that gang activity is escalating quickly.
MOTION: Approval of the Order. Cornacchia MOVED, Rust SECONDED. Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, remarked that the Order will be revised to reflect the numbers presented today ($38,940,000). VOTE: 5-0.
Rust suggested that anyone who wants to be part of the campaign for this ballot measure should call him at 687-4203 or Dennis Hijmans at 343-1623. Cornacchia suggested that the rotarians may want to put in a dollar per day at each of the morning breakfasts, until the election, and this money could be used by the PAC supporting this effort.
5. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Weeldreyer indicated that she had met with the Lane County Farm Bureau earlier this week, remarking that they had mentioned the possibility of providing agriculturally-oriented detention-type opportunities for youth in Lane County.
Green reported on the recent lobbying trip to Washington D.C., noting that the mood was obviously different this year, with more of an effort needed to simply maintain what we already have.
Green stated that his trip to Boston at the National Academy of Criminal Science was productive in terms of updates on research/theories regarding corrections. He commented that it is important to apply this research at a local level.
Weeldreyer indicated that her trip to Washington, D.C. had given her the opportunity to meet with federal staff people which is where a lot of money decisions are made. She noted that this opportunity adds value to the cost of the trip.
Dumdi discussed a letter received from Commissioner Jerry Dove from Tillamook County. She noted that Lane County is a member of the Council of Forest Trust Land Counties. Dumdi indicated that Dove was asking for Lane County's support in an effort to defeat a resolution and bill regarding diversion of Forest Trust Land revenues from the Tillamook State Forest to the common school fund. She indicated that Lane County's share would be $386. Van Vactor indicated that could be covered by money in County Administration's M&S budget. There was consensus to forward the payment. Cornacchia reported that it appeared that the bills were dead on arrival six weeks ago.
Dumdi reported on her attendance at the NACo convention, displaying several souvenirs. She indicated that the group had taken care of a lot of business. Dumdi expressed concern regarding potential proposed cuts to the Summer Youth Employment Program.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 3:32 p.m.
Sharon Giles, Board Secretary