BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
April 16, 2002
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., 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.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Weeldreyer’s report on the Cottage Grove Speedway will take place before Public Comment.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Mayor Gary Williams, 400 Main Street, Cottage Grove, spoke about the annexation of the speedway into the City of Cottage Grove. He noted the intent of the City was to move forward with that process by incorporating the boundaries of the speedway into the City. He added that it would encompass other areas of interest in the region of the urban growth boundary. He stated he faxed each commissioner a letter about the benefit and impact of the speedway to the South Lane economy. He said the businesses in Cottage Grove are dependent upon the people who support the racetrack. He said the City and the Chamber of Commerce of Cottage Grove are heavily dependent on room tax revenues.
Rob Leach, stated he was an owner of the Speedway. He said he also has a racetrack in Albany and had been associated with the racetrack since 1968. He said when the Cottage Grove Speedway became available, he was interested because they saw a racetrack that needed repair. He said the grandstands were ready to collapse. He said they had to make the grandstands safe. He thought the speedway should have been zoned because it had been at the location for many years. He said they want to be good neighbors. He said they knew the noise was a problem and the first thing they did was to rearrange all of their PA systems, so it was not blasting across the countryside.
Russell Leach, co-owner of the Speedway, thanked the Board for listening to them and thanked the Planning Department for their prompt attempt to resolve the issues.
Michael Allen, 28831 River Road, Junction City, stated he had been working on the advertising for the speedway to get total community and family involvement. He said an economic development impact study was done and that the racing season brings in $4 million to South Lane County. He stated he had a commitment of $100,000 in advertising and marketing for the speedway.
Dennis Shine, 2923 Game Farm Road, said a problem with Lane County is that there are no cities (except for the City of Eugene) that have a formal human rights committee that accepts processes and investigates complaints having to do with human rights concerns. He said that staff was needed to investigate these matters.
Doug Depree, 777 High Street, represented Larry and Chris Oakrate who are Cottage Grove residents. He said within the last ten years, the seating capacity at the speedway had increased from 1,500 to 5,000 seats. He asked if the new owners should be allowed to lengthen the racing meet and increase the use of the property without obtaining the use of the necessary permits. He asked what the County’s liability would be if they allowed the speedway to operate and someone is injured. He asked if the septic system was adequate for use by the thousands the track hopes to have in attendance. He asked if Cole had given the speedway owners any deadlines for filing land use applications and if so, what the deadline was. He requested that the Board postpone any action until they get to meet with John Cole regarding his recommendation to the Board.
3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
5. COMMISSIONERS BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Presentation of the Situational Analysis of the Commission on Children and Families and the Department of Children and Families.
Van Vactor reported this was the study the Board commissioned to examine where they are with the Commission on Children and Families. He added that Laurie Swanson-Gribskov would return on June 18 for the final report.
Swanson Gribskov gave a presentation of the Situational Analysis of the Commission on Children and Families. (Copy in file.)
Gribskov explained that the Commission on Children and Families would be in a constant transition. She added the group wanted stronger ties to the Board of Commissioners. She said they have to collaborate the lives of children and families. She noted she was returning to the Commission on Children and Families on May 15 for a facilitated discussion on further themes and issues and future possibilities. She said she would come back to the Board on June 18 with another report.
Sorenson thought a smaller commission would be more workable. He said there needed to be a closer connection between the commission and the Board of Commissioners with more reports to the Board. He thinks the commission itself should be encouraged by the Board to make more frequent and aggressive recommendations to the Board of Commissioners so the Board could receive more recommendations to improve the lives of children and families in Lane County.
Green said he needed to be convinced that something was broken with Children and Families. He didn’t think there needed to be a smaller commission. He was more interested in the Board of Commissioners as is understood by the state, as being the final authority. He wanted the Board to give clear direction to the Commission on Children and Children in conjunction with their legislative charge instead of reacting to the information.
Morrison had hoped they would see positive changes in Lane County and that had not happened. She thought there were problems in what they are doing and that a smaller commission who really understands what is happening is needed. She also thought a semi-annual report to the Board was needed. She added they had spent a lot of money on this but they have not seen any impacts on the benchmarks.
Weeldreyer noted that in the past there were so many worthy projects and this was a second chance to do this right and to move forward.
Dwyer stated that this was an evolving process that includes legislative action to the economy. He said that whatever structure they decide (as it relates to families in communities) that it needs to be educational, non-threatening and it has to have greater utilization of the extended families.
Morrison commented they have an opportunity with Senate Bill 555 Phase 2, for revision. She added if they focus on one or two things to start out and become successful, they will come a long way to accomplish things.
b. DISCUSSION/Presentation to the Board of County Commissioners from Human Rights Advisory Committee on Status of the Diversity Implementation Plan, and Report from Staff on County's Progress in the Diversity Program.
Linda Wagner, Past Chair Human Rights Advisory Committee, gave a presentation on the Diversity Implementation Plan.
Wagner noted she had seen more work being done in the past six years than the previous 20 years. She said they have to take time to acknowledge the successes.
Laura Yergan, Management Services, reported she had been taking complaints for the Human Rights Committee. She said when she receives the complaints she records them and either makes a referral to another agency or a direct contact. She noted that Lane County doesn’t directly intervene.
Sorenson asked what cultural competency was and how they got the work done.
Yergan responded that it started as essential function in the Diversity Plan. She added it became confusing with the ADA language. She said they reworked that and cultural competency was what they were trying to get to. She said it is a checklist that departments can use when they are opening a posting to develop the need.
Morrison asked what type of complaints Yergan was receiving and the volume of them.
Yergan said that diversity is key to the future and if Lane County wants to succeed, it has to embrace it as being critical to the achievement of their mission. She added they have to rethink the way they approach diversity with respect and understanding for work of all cultures of people. She noted that putting that into practice takes conscious effort on everyone’s part. She said they were working on opening up extra help positions. She stated that was a way to get a broader group of people to come through Lane County.
Yergan announced that on February 27, the CEO’s of different groups signed a memorandum of understanding. She added that a diversity website was developed so people could access diversity information to find out who in the County is involved in diversity. She said the diversity factor and the performance is in place and is being used with all supervisors and directors. She noted that they had received approximately 50 complaints during 2001. She said race and law enforcement were the top issues.
Greta Utecht, Management Services, explained that the Human Resource portion of the Strategic Plan discusses the link between, performance and compensation. She noted the only thing the performance evaluation would do is either help average a performance evaluation to a higher or lower score. She said the only linkage they have if someone has a poor performance is that a supervisor could recommend that they not get a merit raise. She didn’t think there was a linkage between compensation and performance in a true sense in the County. She noted that seniority and longevity is what people are getting paid for as opposed to whether or not they are doing an excellent or mediocre job. She added the only place where the system currently allows for that is if a manager supervisor wants to recommend an extraordinary merit.
Utecht stated they would come back in 30 days after they have a work session with the Human Rights Advisory Committee. She was concerned about the things they have yet to accomplish within the organization with regard to diversity. She stated they don’t have the resources to gather data and to support the Human Rights Advisory Committee to the extent they had in the past.
c. ORDER 02-4-16-1 /In the Matter of Lane County's Diversity and Human Rights Programs.
Green noted that the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee should review its role and responsibilities and report back to the Board of Commissioners within 30 days from this date with options and recommendations as to how Lane County might best reach its objectives with regard to Human Rights and diversity.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
6. OTHER BUSINESS
John Cole, Land Management, reported that earlier in the year they received a complaint about the Riverside Speedway. He said the speedway was operating without current land use approval and questions about construction that had gone on at the property without taking out the required building permit. He stated they did a preliminary investigation and found that the complaints had merits and began their administrative enforcement process. He noted they had been in the process for a few months in an effort to get the park operators to apply for the correct land use permits from Lane County, to apply for the building permits that are necessary and to achieve the inspections and sign offs that are necessary to determine that the park is safe and operating in compliance with land use laws. He understood that would take time so they had been working with the park operators in an effort to make sure they are proceeding with their land use application. He made a commitment that he would refrain from issuing daily fines to the park operators if they made their land use applications and proceeded diligently through that particular process and abided by the outcome. He made the commitment that he would refrain from issuing Chapter 5 daily fines for use for some of the facilities, provided they obtain and receive approvals from the City of Cottage Grove Fire Chief and the State Fire Marshall for an interim life safety operation plan that would trade off some operational review and restrictions for receiving building permit approval. He noted the Fire Chief from the City of Cottage Grove, the State Fire Marshall and a Lane County building official are scheduled to be out on the property examining the bleachers and the fire access and developing that plan. He said it would take a while to work with this and he thought the park operators were being cooperative. He noted they had hired a land use attorney to work on the land use issues. He explained this speedway had been in operation for a number of years and has a level of support within the community of Cottage Grove.
Sorenson asked when they had to bring the speedway up to date.
Cole responded before they held an event and put people in the stands. He noted they had to gain land use approval before Roger McGucken, the building official could actually issue the building permit. He added until the people are occupying the stands, he didn’t see it as an issue where a fine would have to be issued.
Green wanted to make sure that they are consistent with their land management policies.
McGucken said if the same situation were there and it was a question of having a temporary occupancy for certain events, he said it could be possible if enough work had been done to make it safe. He stated at this point it remained to be established. He thought they would reach a time where that was possible, assuming the applicants would get the land use application and permits.
Weeldreyer asked if the fans were occupying the stands at the owner’s risk, if there had been any violations from the Land Management Division.
Cole responded he would issue a fine if they held a race at this time. He added if the Fire Marshall reviewed the stands and said it was safe and worked it out with the racetrack developers to hold the race, then and he would refrain from issuing a fine at that time.
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.