approved Approved 11/23/99
September 8, 1999
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 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, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
11. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. PUBLIC HEARING AND FINAL ORDER 99-9-8-12 The Petition to Vacate A. L. Parkhurst Road, County Road 1029, From the McKenzie Highway to the McKenzie River, Being Located 900 Feet Downstream From Rosboro Bridge Which Crosses the McKenzie River, in the Northwest Quarter of Section 11, Township 17 South, Range 3 East of the Willamette Meridian (17-35-11).
Bob Ezell, Land Management, reported that according to the Circuit Court documents of 1927, Parkhurst Road is an existing easement for a road that was used to cross the lands of Fred Meyer's, to access a ferry that crossed the McKenzie River to the Nimrod Inn. He said there was a threat to close the road that was disputed by Fred Meyers, but a fence was planned to confine the 16 foot easement. He said subsequently, the court received a petition to establish Parkhurst Road as a County road, a 60 foot road in 1927. He said it is now up to the Board to determine if it is in the public interest to vacate the public road. He said in December, a petition was received by the Countys surveyors office with 100% of the landowners adjoining the road, petitioning to vacate the County road. (Tax lot 300 and 400, Anthony and Linda Meyer, trustees of the Meyer family trust, 525 Middlefield Rd., Suite 140, Menlo Park, CA and represented by limited power of attorney by James Bickerman and tax lot 202, owned Darren and Sherry Fuller, 4950 McKenzie Highway, OR.) He stated the petition states the reason to vacate the road is that Parkhurst Road was established to serve as a ferry crossing of the McKenzie River to Nimrod Inn. He said the road does not provide any required or necessary access to any property and no road has existed in the public easement for more than 15 years. He added the road easement is not of sufficient width to allow vehicles to turn around, and the public use of the road at its intersection with the McKenzie River would be unsafe. He noted for the traveling public, Parkhurst seems to be a private driveway and some of the neighbors dont know if it is public or private. He noted the landowners who live along it have all the benefits of a private driveway. He added tax lot 300 came under the ownership of the Meyer trust and has a 50 foot width of land along the McKenzie River. He said if Parkhurst Road is vacated it would revert back to the adjoining landowners. He said with the vacation of Parkhurst Road, the property could be expanded from 50 to 110 feet of river front property on the McKenzie River. He said it is not uncommon for landowners to vacate unwanted or unneeded public roads to gain area for sanitary drain fields or septic tank to satisfy those conditions. He added in this case, the public had no further use of the road.
Ezell reported that Spickerman stated it is in the public interest to vacate Parkhurst Road. Spickerman said Rosboro Bridge provides access to the south side of the McKenzie River instead of the ferry crossing. Spickerman noted a surveyors plat plan showed the traveled road is on private land in certain places of the Meyers, and the ferry access road is only opened to the public for several feet, and most of the access from the McKenzie River is on private property. Ezell agreed that Rosboro Bridge provides a river crossing to private land that had been used as a boat launch area. He added the wood on the bridge is rotting and it could be possible that the bridge would be closed. He noted part of the width of the traveled road is on private land. He noted with regard to the building on tax lot 300, it was constructed after the Parkhurst Road right-of-way was established or they could have set the road earlier where they wanted to.
Dwyer stated he had information that the house on tax lot 300 was where the operators of the ferry had lived.
Ezell noted Spickerman had reasons on why the road should be vacated: the traveled road cannot be used legally or safely as it exists, the traveled road lies in the river bank nearly all on the adjacent property, except for a few feet, a person using the existing road at the river bank would be on private property. Spickerman noted that even if the existing traveled road were moved over, there would be difficulty as it is a one car road. Ezell agreed it is partially on private property and it is a narrow traveled road. Ezell contends it is a County road and the Public Works Department has the means to move the road onto a public right-of-way, to make a safe road.
Weeldreyer asked if the gravel that is on the road was put there by Public Works or by the residents that are using it.
Ezell responded he didnt know.
Ezell noted Spickerman said it was not technically feasible or practical to develop Parkhurst Road as a public access, even if funds to do so were available. Spickerman said the public access to McKenzie Highway would be unsafe as the vehicles using the existing traveled road would not be able to turn around and may have to back out onto McKenzie Highway.
Ezell mentioned a letter from Jeffrey Ziller, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, opposing the vacation of Parkhurst Road and noted the letter further stated: "The public access from those fish from the river banks has been acknowledged as limited on the McKenzie River. The McKenzie Subbasin Fish Management Plan was approved by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in 1988 and identifies increasing bank angling access below the Blue River as one of the highest priorities in the McKenzie subbasin. He said it is the objective of the Department to increase bank angling access, especially from the mouth upstream to Blue River." Ezell noted that Parkhurst Road was in conflict with this rule. He also learned that the McKenzie Rural Fire Department also objects to this vacation as they want to retain it as public access so they can provide a water access point for their fire trucks.
Ezell noted the full text of Spickermans letter was provided to the Board. He said it would be inappropriate for Lane County government to vacate Parkhurst Road without a comprehensive review by the McKenzie Watershed Council and interaction with federal, state and local recreation managers. He noted it was premature to consider vacating Parkhurst Road until goals and an action plan of the McKenzie Watershed Council for recreation and human habitat are given time to access Parkhurst Road. He noted action by the Board to vacate Parkhurst Road is irreversible, and a better plan would be to give Bob Keefer, Lane County Parks, an opportunity to develop and manage Parkhurst Road as a public access point for the public to enjoy the McKenzie River. He added there is no public urgency to vacate this road, and the Public Works director said it was not in the public interest to vacate this road, and vacation should be denied.
Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, stated what is in the publics interest is something the elected officials are charged with deciding as the representatives of the public. He noted there are facts he had seen that could allow the decision either way.
Van Vactor concurred with Kardell.
Weeldreyer clarified that the letter she passed out earlier this morning is from Dana Burwall, (who is the acting fire chief in the McKenzie Fire District) and as a general rule, the fire department does not support closing public access roads. Burwell noted the district has access to several houses as well as river access from the road and it is in good enough condition to provide access with their largest vehicles. Burwell said the district would recommend leaving the access road open unless there were other compelling reasons to close it.
Commissioner Green opened the Public Hearing.
Jim Spickerman, 975 Oak Street, Eugene, stated he looked at the site in October and then hired Gary McKinney, Traffic Engineer, to look at the situation. He submitted a report that was attached to his letter. He said there is nothing from County Transportation Planning to refute Mr. McKinneys report.
Gary McKinney, 2363 McMillan St., Eugene, noted they did the basic criteria for stopping sight distance and in his report, it pertained to passenger cars traveling on level roadways. He noted the most significant issue that he observed at Parkhurst Road and McKenzie Highway, had to do with it being a downhill grade, with a limited amount of sight distance looking back up river. He read from the standards regarding this situation. He said he sees the intensity of the use as significant.
Dwyer asked if this road didnt meet the standards, would it be a compelling reason to vacate it.
McKinney responded it is a significant factor, involving the public and the benefit from the use of the road.
Weeldreyer stated the conditions he described were true for over half of all of the entrances to the McKenzie Highway. She asked if advance signing on the other side of the curb could mitigate some of the safety issues that were raised.
McKinney responded that ODOT would have to deal with that issue. He added there were no warning signs and his conclusion is that the last time the highway was reviewed, ODOT was satisfied with the way it was signed. He said that the low intensity of use is related to the accident history. He added the accident that he would anticipate is a rear-end collision, with someone stopped waiting to turn in.
Weeldreyer asked if the current entrance to the highway is placed properly or if it needs to be adjusted.
McKinney stated he didnt do the survey, but the roadway is placed generally on the western edge of the right-of-way. He said if the road were moved to the east, it would be closer to the curve and might alter the sight distance slightly. He said moving it would have a marginal effect.
Spickerman (speaking on behalf of the petitioners, Tony and Linda Meyer and Darren and Sherry Fuller) gave a presentation regarding Parkhurst Road.
Dwyer asked if a public easement road could be converted by adverse possession. He said he maintains that private property is on a public road.
Kardell responded that it could not happen.
Spickerman said the use of the road for ferry use was short lived and it hasnt been used by the public since then. He added it is not functional public access as it exists and it is not practical to develop the area. He said two cars cant be on the road at the same time and the location of the road encourages trespass parking. He added it is not practical to develop the area. He said if the property would stay the way it is, it invites conflicts between users and parking on adjacent properties. He commented that it is a place where young people drink beer. He stated his client understands how precious access to the river is to the public and they are willing to financially facilitate that if possible. He said easements would be created for the people living adjacent to the road. He said it is not a public road, it is a road of public easement. He said the petition stands on its own merits and it is in the public interest to vacate the road.
Sorenson stated he was interested that an easement was granted over the property of Spickermans client, if there is title doubt that the County may not even own the property to grant the vacation.
Spickerman responded it is a road of public easement and the statutes have changed. He said it became an easement of necessity, limited to a purpose and expired by their terms. He said with the present statutes, these are the only means to vacate the road.
Bill Neil, 33262 Dillard, Eugene, urged the Board to approve the vacation. He said the petitioner has worked with the neighbors and associates on the best ways to resolve the problem. He said the right-of-way in question has no present use but it does have the possibility to create a difficult situation in the future. He said it is of insufficient size to provide meaningful recreational access to the river, and the options for the right-of-way would be to sell it intact, keep it either undeveloped or developed. He said as an architect, if he were to ask the County to acquire this single piece of property and create an access point and parking lot, these difficulties would be presented the other way. He noted that property could be abandoned, to be divided between the two adjacent property owners, that would assure that no additional development could take place in the area because it would not change the zoning and would become part of the existing pieces. He added the difficulties of an unpoliced, undeveloped piece of public property would be alleviated and he urged the Board to consider it and grant Mr. Meyers request.
Tony Meyer, 525 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA (Oregon 49488 McKenzie Highway, Vida) stated he was one of the property owners adjacent to the right-of-way. He assured the commissioners that if their application is granted, they have no intention of altering the terrain or vegetation. He said their goal is to preserve it as it stands. He added the trespass issue is important, that inviting more traffic and usage would present a problem for them and their neighbor.
Jim Baker, 51013 McKenzie Hwy, Finn Rock, stated he was representing the McKenzie Guardians, an environmental group. He said they oppose the request to close Parkhurst Road because river access by the nearby privately owned bridge is not certain. He stated that public access to the river is curtailed. He said it is important to keep all public access and this site does not need to be improved, it just needs to be there as it is walkable public access that no corporation could close.
Darren Fuller, 49504 McKenzie Highway, commented on the sign that was on the trees. He said it was there when he moved in five years ago and didnt know if it was on County property or not, but no one had been denied access. He said the sign was to keep people off of his property. He added the school bus refuses to pick up his child heading westbound because of the lack of view for the traffic. He asked the Board to leave it the way it is.
Bill Hill, P. O. Box 117, Vida, stated he used to live in the Meyer Family Trust property for 12 years. He said he sold it to the Meyer Family Trust and is familiar as to what has taken place with the property. He noted it had never been used by anyone and it cant be used because it is overgrown. He said in living there, the river is shallow at the bank and if someone wanted to use it as a boat landing, they couldnt because it is a wading situation unless it was a high water year. He commented that he knew it was a public access and never did anything about it and didnt want the public to get there because of the litter, drinking and trespassing. He said the best use of this would be to vacate it.
Les Howard, 49150 McKenzie Highway, said the easement is not a problem and is a good opportunity for recreational facilities. He said he wants to see it stay in public use.
Bob Keefer, Parks, said as Parks Manager, he tries to take a long-term perspective for public access to a river. He noted this is a public access point to the river and there is not enough room to do a nice boat landing. He said there would be no intention on his part to develop a boat landing there. He noted that Eagle Rock Park is 1500 feet downstream from this access point, it is 13 acres in size and does have the conditions of development but provides a resident living there could perform as a caretaker. He added there are several boat landings up and down the river that are not publicly owned, but are allowed to be used by companies. He said he met with Mr. Spickerman and he would be interested in looking at other options, if it was a win-win situation for the public.
Van Vactor stated that Spickerman had handed him a formal letter from Mr. McKinney that will be placed in the record and Bob Ezell received a phone call from Sandy Brown, an E-Mail from Dennis Allen and information about the McKenzie Watershed Council.
Sorenson received a letter from a Harry L. Jalnke that he read into the record.
Green read a faxed copy from Michael L. Fox, into the record.
Sherry Fuller, 49504 McKenzie Highway, Vida, said she understands the public wanting to enjoy the river but is worried for her eight year old daughter when people come off the highway, as they dont pay attention to signs and go as fast as they want. She said she has had cars skid in her driveway to go down the road and when her daughter rides her bike, she fears for her safety.
Commissioner Green closed the Public Hearing.
Weeldreyer said the issue about what right the County has, and if could it be used for something other than just a road to the river is an important point that needs to be clarified for her. She said she is still scarred from the Goodpasture boat ramp, and access to the river is not something that will be a win-win situation for everyone, because the adjacent property owners are impacted by the publics use. She said she understands why the Meyers are asking the County to vacate the road. She asked for more opportunity to get the legal point answered and give the Parks Department an opportunity to look at the options for this and to not take action on it today.
Dwyer said he has enough information to make a decision and didnt want to delay the vote.
Sorenson asked if they werent going to take action today, would the Board object to having more public hearing opportunities limited to what is received by the Board from legal counsel.
Kardell said if the Board is asking for further staff input, the entire proceeding would not have to be reopened.
Weeldreyer said it was suggested earlier valuing this property at a certain amount that would be equal or better public access to the river. She said she would like the opportunity to get more information. She agreed it is difficult to get new access to the river and is not clear to her what the uses are based on.
Kardell stated his opinion is the 1927 document does read for road purposes and there are conveyances that are restricted to those kinds of uses. He said the County may end up with an asset that provides access to the river, but not the ability to develop further without condemning some other right-of-way.
Dwyer stated he objects to the delay. He said the question is: "Is it in the public interest to vacate Parkhurst Road?" He said he wanted to deal with the question today and not delay it.
Morrison agreed with Dwyer. She said some of the issues raised regarding private property could be addressed and parking on private property is a non-issue as there is a fence. She said she has a concern about the verbiage in the 1927 language. She wondered why they requested the vacation. She said she was willing to go forward.
MOTION: to deny the request to vacate.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED
Green said he agreed with Weeldreyer and Keefer. He said he is interested in a win-win situation and is wondering why they cant get to that point with Spickerman. He added once the property is vacated, they cant reverse the decision.
Sorenson said they can come to some improved position on the related issues of protecting the river and providing access. He said the issue is the road vacation and nothing in the decision of the road vacation precludes any discussion or information to be provided to the Board or opportunities for Spickerman on behalf of his clients and Keefer to work together. He added the petitioners had not met their burden in this case.
VOTE: 3-2 (Weeldreyer, Green dissenting).
12. OTHER BUSINESS
13. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
ORDER 99-9-8-14 Authorizing the Expenditure of an Additional $161,009, in Additional SCAAP Grant Funds To Complete the Corrections Administration and CREF Space Remodel.
Dave Garnick, Budget Analyst, stated he tried to display what the various options were, and to remind the Board how much SCAAP funding was available. He said on the first page of the file note, there is an additional $21,000 for HVAC design specifications that should be there. He added there is a way to mitigate the 90 to 120 day deadline, as the state needs to have this project closed out by December 10 in order to close out their biennial books on the State CCA grants. He said they have a limited time frame and that choice one would be to go with a higher bidder, but in doing so the project is done within a 90 day time frame. He added that is why the bid came in so much higher, because of the time of the year and getting it done fast. His recommendation would be to spend the CCA grant money first. He said the project needs to be closed out first. He said the other option would be to take the low bid on all the individual projects.
Green noted to get the work done within 90 days would cost about $13,000 more.
Van Vactor added the project management is a significant task and trying to have two different contractors with the different projects will present some issues of project management.
Mark Graham, Sheriffs Office, stated what will have to happen is that they have to make sure they get the people in and out of the jail on a daily basis, maintaining a secure perimeter inside the facility. He said it was easier to have one contractor for project management.
Paul Sachet, Captain, Sheriffs Office, said they are looking at $12,353 between option 1 and option 2, but they are also looking at the difference of $117,000 if they dont do this within 90 days.
Green noted the desire would be to have the project done in 90 days, having one construction project manager.
Graham stated if the custody referee space is not completed, and they dont have the document to show that the project is finalized, state money would go away.
Sorenson asked why the cost had doubled for the project.
Graham noted when they received the estimates from the architects, it was based upon the normal costs in the community, but at that time, they didnt adjust those seasonally for the amount of commercial and jail work that is being done and it is a remodel job. He said the problem with remodeling is that there are hidden things that happen that contractors try to cover. He said normally only three people bid on remodel jobs for Lane County and because they are commercial jobs, they are more expensive. He added between the architects estimate and the cost, they came in about $70,000. He said now they have a 90-day time period where overtime will be paid, to get the project done.
Dwyer said he thinks the County is being punished for wanting to be more cost effective because competition is limited. He said he is not happy because there is something wrong.
Morrison asked what would have happened if the County did not receive the SCAAP funds.
Graham responded that the fund that is set up for remodels in the County would be used.
Sachet noted the County is looking at a working conditions there is liability due to the amount of staff working in the space.
Sorenson said this work needs to be done. He asked if they went ahead with the 90 day project, what assurance would there be that the County would receive the state money.
Graham responded the contract will end up paying the penalty if the work is not completed within 90 days.
Dave Factor, Court Administrator, stated the state money has been in the control of the County, State Community Corrections Act money gets allocated through the Department of Corrections, through each county. He added the $117,000 that has been identified as state money in this project was allocated to the Custody Referees office, that was unexpended over the course of the biennium due to vacancy savings and other factors in that office. He noted some general fund money was also paid to AIRS for programming ($16,000) to free up additional money when the bids came in on this project. He said the Board approved $98,000 in January for expenditure on this project.
Green recommended option 1, completing all four packages of the project.
Sorenson said he wanted the motion and order to say that the job will be completed within 90 days, and if it is not completed in 90 days, that penalties will be charged.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 99-9-8-13.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
VOTE: 3-2 (Dwyer, Morrison dissenting).
There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.
Melissa Zimmer, Recording Secretary
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