minhead.gif (11357 bytes)approved Approved 11/23/99

September 28, 1999


Commissioners' Conference Room - 1:30 p.m.

Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Assistant County Counsel Stephen Vorhes and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.




Richard Bremer, 520 Blair, Eugene, stated he chairs the Community Action Advisory Committee, and their committee initiated a recommendation in January to the Human Services Commission that staff time be allotted to research the issue of homeless camping. He asked to look at ways it could be applied to unincorporated areas of Lane County. He suggested to have additional opportunities for public input from members of the Homeless Action Coalition and other advocates, so additional information could be brought before the Board with regard to this issue.


Green announced the Board opened up the treatment center at the John Serbu Youth Campus.


a. DISCUSSION Homeless Camping Issues.

Green asked if the state legislation allows churches and religious institutions the ability to have campers on their premises, of if it was more involved.

Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, reported that he wanted to engage the Board in a level of work around the issue of homeless camping, specifically the Human Services Commission. He said the commission has been interested in the option of having religious institutions having campers reside on their properties, and to place an ordinance similar to that of the City of Eugene. He added the legislature passed Senate Bill 479, that provides an avenue for local jurisdictions to do this outside of the land use process.

Richie Weinman, Planning and Development, City of Eugene, reported that last year, one of the hottest issues in Eugene was around homelessness. He said a committee struggled with the issue of homelessness, to come up with solutions that are working the best involving people helping each other without government being in the way. He said they are letting religious institutions provide space on their property (with permission) to let homeless people stay. He noted the City of Eugene’s ordinance allows other people to do it, including businesses. He said the state legislature adopted Senate Bill 479, patterned after the Eugene experience to satisfy the problem around land use issues. He stated the program is working well in Eugene, but there are churches in River Road and Veneta that want to participate, but are uncomfortable about legal grounds. He said they are asking the Board to consider that.

Dwyer said his criticism of the legislature is that they allow specific religious organizations that exclude other opportunities for camping.

Sorenson said the County should pursue this as a county ordinance, for unincorporated Lane County. He said the Lane County Human Service Commission has already made a recommendation to the Board.

Manela noted the recommendation was to have the Board of County Commissioners spend staff time in implementing an ordinance.

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, stated a concern of his is that it would not be a good situation for high-end service people to be out in the outlying areas, but it would be okay for people who are marginal. He said if a church is not equipped to handle someone who is high-end, he would encourage them.

Weinman said there are people who are working, saving money and eventually they get out. He said the city is providing 15 spaces for that. He said some people are working, but will never earn enough money to afford a place to live because they have a disability, and some people have poor credit history and are almost unhouseable. He added other people have disabilities where working is a challenge for them.

Morrison asked if St. Vincent de Paul would be monitoring these people, outside of the city limits.

Weinman said he doesn’t know, as the City of Eugene is paying them to monitor activities within the city.

John Cole, Land Management, stated he has spoken with Roger McGuckin, Building Official and Kent Howe, Planning Director, over the request. He said they had looked at it and commented that the County currently does have a provision within its code for an emergency RV placement permit since the end of 1997, to include circumstances that the housing coalition would be interested in. He said there are 12 to 16 of the permits that could be issued. He noted if they were to broaden the program to include one RV in a church parking lot, there would be a conflict with a building code requirement that pertains to RV parks. He added if there were more than one occupied RV on a parcel, it would be considered an RV park by a particular OAR. He said the main comment is that if the County were to expand this program outside of the city’s jurisdiction, the County should have a program for dealing with some of the complaints that would come with this. He said his request would be to figure out the complaints.

Dwyer said the law does not require anything, it allows people to do things. He said the law takes it out of the land use aspect. He said it would be good for the County to adopt what Eugene had a model. He added there needs to be coordination between the churches that accept this so the people could be identified and be put in an outreach program to get them on the track to recovery.

Rockstroh said it would be easiest to do the faith community part first and set up agreements, and then come back to the Board with a work session. He added there would need to be an ordinance that would come back for recommendations. He said he could come back with a list of complications.

Manela agreed with Rockstroh and said he would come back with a range of options.

Weeldreyer asked if the senate bill gave latitude to overcome what the County’s building officials are saying.

Steve Vorhes, Assistant County Counsel, responded he hadn’t reviewed the statute and the building code, but the same logic in terms of the approach to the land use codes could be applicable to the building code and administrative rules. He added it is not self-executed so the Board will need to adopt an ordinance to allow more than one recreational vehicle.

Morrison said she was concerned about water sewer issues in the unincorporated areas.

Sorenson suggested to get an ordinance on the church piece. He added there are a lot of business properties where the same dynamics are found. He asked where the money would come from for increased monitoring. He said he was concerned about the number of units per parcel.

Weinman responded that in Eugene, up to three campers are allowed on churches and one on businesses. He said little time is spent monitoring as the churches are monitoring the campers.

Van Vactor said he hears consensus in terms of implementing the state law first, and in regard to the faith community, there is a need to have an ordinance, and for staff to prepare the ordinance.

Dwyer said it is a good start in addressing the homeless issue.

Vorhes reported the statute gives the Board the authority to add any other kinds of limitations or requirements that they might feel appropriate. He added the Board has the option on what they consider to be appropriate sanitary facilities. He said for the short term, the statute provides protection in terms of land use. He added for the long term, they will need to take a look at how the Eugene ordinance was crafted and what type of risks they might incur.

Green said there is support on the board to go forward with implementing Senate Bill 479. He said there will need to be an ordinance that will come back before the Board.

Van Vactor suggested when they come back to the Board, to include costs and how those issues are addressed.

Sorenson said he was interested in getting preliminary numbers on industrial and commercial properties. He asked what the overall homeless population of Lane County was.

Weinman responded there are about 1,400. He added that last year Looking Glass counted unduplicated homeless children at 2,800.

5. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660



a. Announcements



a.    WORK SESSION Report on Land Management Division, Development Permit Activity for the 1999 Construction Season.

John Cole, Land Management, reported that since January, when someone gets a development permit from Lane County, there are a number of steps in the review process. He discussed the various steps. He noted that Lane County is one of the few rural communities in Oregon where the planning, building and sanitation steps occur in parallel. He said in an effort to same time, they do those three steps at the same time.

Sorenson noted the Board is concerned about the turnaround time it takes to get a permit.

Cole responded the department is aware of it and they keep track of it at a more detailed level. He said he could get that information by type of application.

Sorenson suggested to have a video tape available for people to watch, to use technology to educate people on permits, to serve them faster and cheaper.

Cole responded they have handouts on the web page. He said videos could be helpful but he is not sure where the presentation of the video would get the most people.

Cole noted that they have identified a process improvement task as the one they want to work on.

Morrison commented the 19 day turn around was great, but she wants to see when people call to ask questions, that they get a returned call. She said there have been several situations since May where people had not received returned calls. She added she wouldn’t be interested in a video as the people who come in to get permits know the process.

Dwyer said there needs to be a kiosk that is specific to Land Management. He said he would encourage that the concept be used.

Green noted that Weeldreyer will get information regarding the cost and maintenance of using a video kiosk.

Cole noted they will be expanding the on-line property maps and they are looking at the amount of paperwork that is generated internally as the application moves through the different review steps.

Green asked how Land Management would improve the overall turnaround time in the permit process.

Cole said his program managers are beginning to be stretched, but he thinks they could do better.

Weeldreyer said there are ways to improve overall efficiency, to have a higher degree of customer satisfaction if the department were allowed to reinvest some of the permit fees to improve customer service into web based applications.

b. DISCUSSION Work Session Regarding the Periodic Review of the Rural Comprehensive Plan for the McKenzie Watershed.

Kent Howe, Land Management, reported that for the Periodic Review of the Rural Comprehensive Plan for the McKenzie Watershed, they conducted surveys of the citizens of the area and collected responses. He said the feedback is for them to address the primary issue of what rural character is, and to include groundwater and riparian issues with the endangered species list. He said they want the Board to concur to broaden the work program, extending it six months to come back in June with community plans and ordinances for the McKenzie Watershed.

Jim Mann, Land Management, reported the McKenzie Watershed is not only one of five watersheds in Lane County, it is part of the Willamette Watershed and the planning they are doing is to provide a model to do watershed planning for Lane County’s four other watersheds and for the rest of the State of Oregon. He gave a presentation on the citizen’s survey. He noted the two most important facts the citizens wanted was to maintain the rural character of the watershed and to protect the natural resources.

Dwyer said he wanted to see open space dealt with before they deal with anything else.

Howe responded the issues are relevant in the urban growth boundary areas. He said the provisions of the exclusive farm use zone and the forest zones are open space and that is what the County is involved with. He added they don’t have provisions in communities to identify open space in a community that is unincorporated. He said the survey responses indicated preserving the existing open spaces of farm and forest land that the County has. He added they are not proposing to further fragment the existing farm and forest lands.

Green asked where open space was under Goals 11 and 14.

Howe responded it is looking at the definition of rural, authorizing that the plan is rural and not urban and not requiring an urban level of facilities and services that would put pressure on the existing urban areas.

Weeldreyer noted the McKenzie Watershed Council in the human habitat work plan, does address some areas of open space, in between the unincorporated communities in the Valley.

Mann noted it is the responsibility of the County to decide about the activities occurring in rural development. He said he wants the County to go with the Goal 2, policy 11, to have clear and objective standards.

John Runyon, McKenzie Watershed Council, said the McKenzie Watershed Council is an advisory body, comprised of key stake holders in and outside of the watershed, including land owners, businesses, government agencies and interest groups. He said the purpose and mission of the McKenzie Watershed is to promote watershed health. He said the three watershed activities compliment the planning process. He said it has a potential for serving as a model for the rest of Lane County and throughout the Willamette basin. He said the first activity the council is involved in is working in an advisory capacity to the planning process to review and comment on the potential watershed health implications of the plan that may come out of this. He added he has technical expertise on the council that is available to do that. He said the second area where the watershed council is active is related to current Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues, focused on Spring Chinook Salmon, and in the current listing for Bull Trout in the watershed. He added as part of that process, they are working with Lane County management staff to provide technical review of Lane County’s riparian ordinance, relative to ESA issues. He noted the third area they are working on is the grant from the Bonneville Power Administration to conduct a comprehensive watershed assessment in the basin, driven by the ESA. He added the goal of the watershed assessment is to characterize the watershed in terms of the resources from fish and wildlife populations, riparian areas, water quality and coming up with a comprehensive protection and restoration plan for the watershed.

Dwyer asked about the dams in the McKenzie, and how it affects fish.

Runyon responded the dams are constrained on fish populations in the McKenzie. He said they have cut off the spawning grounds and the watershed council acknowledges that. He said in addition, the dams have changed water quality in the basin and the watershed council had been working for a number of years to try to improve the situation, and the Corps of Engineers has committed to providing temperature control at Cougar Reservoir.

Howe noted that the plan is to go back into the communities this winter and engage in discussion of rural densities, adding ground water and riparian areas to their program. He added he will be coming back to the Board in June with new plan amendments to the community.

Sorenson asked what the County has done differently about protecting endangered fish.

Mann responded by looking at the development scenarios, there needs to be changes to County policy in terms of the densities. He noted a proposal to deal with the update of the riparian ordinance should provide a greater level of projection for riparian areas, a lower density than outside riparian.

Howe stated Lane County is in a reactionary mode and is trying to be progressive in development of provisions to the Four D Rule. He said the Four D Rule is a federal provision that governs when an incidental take occurs. He added local governments will develop their own regulations to avoid an incidental take. He said with regard to Land Management proposing an RR2 density for the McKenzie Watershed, they are not. He said they are looking for the rural character for the community.

Van Vactor asked about the cost implications and about extending the whole project for six months.

Howe responded they are proposing two years per watershed and if they do the McKenzie in a pilot effort, they should be able to move to the other watersheds in less than a two year time frame.

Mann noted the deadline is December 31 and a six month extension would take them to June 30, and that is what they are proposing to do. He noted to go beyond June, they would have to amend their work program and have it reapproved.

Weeldreyer noted that an important point that was made was that there was not a plan on the part of Land Management staff to create a uniform density for the McKenzie Valley.





There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 3:35 p.m.


Melissa Zimmer, Recording Secretary

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