BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
June 4, 2002
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners 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
Dwyer stated the AT & T Cable issue would be added.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Andy Stahl, 82787 Marlow Road, Eugene, was speaking on behalf of Earth Share, seeking the Board’s approval to allow Lane County employees to make charitable contributions voluntarily to environmental organizations. He added it would be the same as what the employees do for United Way. He passed out a written statement. (Copy in file). He said for the individual donor, the payroll deduction is an efficient means of making a charitable contribution to an organization. He said Earth Share access to Lane County would not affect United Way’s charitable contributions.
Lucy Vines, Earth Share, 1805 W. 34th, said changing the current County policy to subject neutral administrative criteria is a question of choice and fairness. She said the current restriction of the County’s campaign for basic human needs unfairly and unreasonably dictates to County employees where their donations should be directed. She added it singles out Earth Share of Oregon, as the sole fund raising organization for environmental work. She said including Earth Share sends a signal of openness and creates a positive public relations opportunity for county government. She hoped the Board would consider the request.
Frank Vignola, 2468 Parkins Lane, Eugene, represented one of the member organizations of Earth Share, the Solar Energy Association of Oregon. He stated Earth Share had been contributing funds to their organization.
3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Took place before the meeting.
5. COMMITTEE REPORTS
a. REPORT BACK/Discussion on Charitable Contributions Payroll Deduction.
Green reported the Policies and Procedures Committee went through the pros and cons about the requested shift in policy. He said the committee decided to forward it to the Board with no recommendation. He reported that Wilson suggested that Lane County should have a neutral stance toward whatever recommendation is made to the Board.
Dwyer asked if there had been any problem with other entities as a result of the policy.
Wilson stated the policy level question was if the Board was comfortable with the charitable campaign as it is. She stated the Board identified four basic purposes for a campaign: to encourage private support, lessen the County’s burden of meeting basic health and welfare needs, provide an avenue for steady private support and minimize time and expense for County employee participation. She added charity eligibility was set up.
Dwyer asked how much Earth Share charged for administration.
Vines responded they take about 9%. She noted the rest goes to their member organizations, 32 core and 43 national members. She added that the funds could not be used for litigation.
Wilson noted with the present criteria that Earth Share did not meet the legal framework. She said the real issue was access to employee’s personal contributions. She said it was a limited public forum and under the law the Board had the ability to regulate that as long as they do it in a manner that is not viewpoint discriminatory. She added the regulations were set up to comply with the Cornelius decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. She noted setting up contributions for human services needs was and is a legitimate policy choice. She added it was a legitimate policy choice to broaden the public forum and if the Board wanted to go ahead with it, she advised this go back to Policy and Procedures for review.
Sorenson said it was good to give employees greater choice, resulting in more money being given to the United Way and to Earth Share. He thought the Board should make the change.
Van Vactor noted that Lane County contracts with United Way to perform the service but it is the Lane County Charitable Contribution Campaign. He was reluctant to change the program because it had worked well. He said it matches the mission of Lane County government. He stated broadening it to environmental issues made it more political. He asked the Board if they wanted to let employees investigate the different environmental agencies on taxpayer time for the charitable campaign. He preferred to keep the campaign focused on human service issues.
Weeldreyer stated there had not been any indication that by adding this organization there would be a drop in charitable giving to United Way and other places. She noted that Vines and Earth Share had been in front of the United Way board and the United Way Board had not expressed any concerns about having any jurisdictions adding Earth Share to their charitable giving policies. She said Lane County’s employees were diverse and caring. She recommended having the unions ask their membership if this was something they wanted Lane County to do. She said if a vast majority wanted it, then the Board could decide whether to make the charitable giving program more complex than it currently is.
Dwyer said a letter would be given to the bargaining units and non-represented employees asking if they would be interested in adding another category of giving to include these type of neutral subjects. He wanted an answer back within 60 days.
6. PUBLIC WORKS
a. REPORT BACK/Proposed Design Modifications for the Marcola Road (Parsons Creek to Wendling) Capital Improvement Project - Reduce Construction Conflicts with Existing Marcola Water District Pipelines (NBA & PM 3/13/02).
Sonny Chickering, Public Works, explained this was a road project proposed for construction in 2004. He noted this project includes constructing curb, gutter and sidewalks on the north side of Marcola Road through the community of Marcola. He said as a result of their project, there are impacts to various utilities that lie within the roadway.
Chickering noted the original design would impact more than 1,400 lineal feet of district waterlines and it would have to be replaced in order to secure its continued use and benefit to the community. He said it places a financial burden on the district that is beyond their financial means, with the cost about $80,000. He noted that Weeldreyer asked them to meet with representatives of the district. He said they had discussions to limit the total number and frequency of impacts to the district. Chickering suggested eliminating the roadway super elevation. He said the original design included some super elevation through downtown Marcola. He added it is a low speed area and the super elevation is not necessary. They suggested a normal crown with a high point in the center. He said it raises the inside of the road up, causing more clearance above the water line. He said they were suggesting a new gutter design that extends the full width of the bike lane. He noted there was a cost savings of $50,000. He asked the Board to give direction to move ahead with the changes of the design.
Tim Handley, Rainbow Water District, 1515 N. 42nd Street, Marcola, noted the water district serves 500 families in the dense community area of Marcola. He said the facilities in conflict are water mains that were constructed in the 60’s and 70’s. He said their work showed capacity that was adequate for any projected growth in Marcola. He estimated the equipment was good for another 20 to 40 years. He explained their difficulty was funding. He didn’t agree with the cost savings for them, as their costs would be $40,000 to $50,000. He said that was a difficult expense for a small district. He noted the water district’s budget is $75,000 to $80,000 per year and $50,000 was a large amount to handle. He asked the Board if they could receive some funding assistance for the project.
Dwyer suggested moving Option 1, working with the district to get some relief, with the understanding that if no relief is forthcoming that the Rainbow Water District would be responsible for the amount.
Handley supported Option 1 and asked the Board to do the same.
MOTION: to approve Option 1.
Weeldreyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
b. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 02-6-4-1/In the Matter of Approving a New County Road Connection to 30th Avenue Providing Access to the Oregon Military Department Facility (NBA & PM 5/8/02).
Chickering stated this was in connection with the Oregon Military Department’s application for a new National Guard Armed Forces center. He noted on February 12, 2002 the planning director issued a site review approval in compliance with a ruling in Lane County Circuit Court. He said there were three conditions in the site approval that related to road issues. He stated that number seven requires the applicant to obtain an approval from the Board to obtain access to 30th Avenue that is a limited access throughway. He stated on February 15, the engineering division received a letter from the Oregon Military Department requesting the department move forward with whatever steps were necessary to obtain the connection to 30th Avenue.
Chickering said they were scheduled to come to the Board to discuss this item on May 8 but on May 7 during the Work Session, the Board directed them to reschedule the item for a public hearing.
Vorhes explained the appeal from the hearings official decision was pending in front of the Board when the Oregon Military Department filed a mandamus action at Circuit Court. He said the Circuit Court examined the questions raised by the neighbors about whether the approval of the site review permit would violate the comprehensive plan. He noted the Circuit Court decided it would not and ordered Lane County to issue the site review permit. He added the question of access was an issue in the land use proceeding, but as part of that proceeding, the condition of approval was placed on the permit.
Commissioner Dwyer opened up the Public Hearing.
Dwyer stated he received letters and e-mails on the issue. He read a letter into the record from the Russell Creek Neighbors Association, dated May 31.
Jim Weaver, Seavey Loop, Eugene, stated he was a Veteran of World War II. He said he had the highest regard for the National Guard. He resented the National Guard being used to break the urban growth boundary. He said rushing through this road program before the appeals case had been resolved should not happen. He asked the Board to set up an independent investigation of corruption as to why this project is being rushed through before all of the court appeals had been issued.
Jim Bustle, 33456 Bloomberg Rd., stated he and his wife have adjacent property to the proposed site. He objects to any type of access road until all the legal proceedings had been completed.
Marsha Egberg, 33501 Berkov Lane, stated she is an adjoining property landowner. She had not received any notices that this meeting was to take place. She spoke with Mike Russell and her neighbors and that was how she found out about the meeting. She noted by approving this today, it would destroy four acres of her property. She asked the Board to not approve the road at any time.
Leandra Bell Matson, 33476 Bloomberg, said she is on the Steering Committee for the Russell Creek Neighbors. She noted that Craig Shelby is the president but could not attend. She read his letter into the record.
Daniel Johnston, 33494 Bloomberg Road, stated his property adjoined lot 600. He was not notified about any hearings. He asked the Board to consider other options.
Carlos Barrera, 2852 Willamette, was concerned about the threats to the urban growth boundary. He agreed this was an issue with special interests trying to break the urban growth boundary so they can take advantage of the large tracts of land they own around Lane Community College. He said he moved to his property for a better quality of life and wanted to preserve it. He said consideration should be given to maintaining the quality of life for the people who live in the community.
Cathleen Epstein, 33482 Bloomberg Road, said her property adjoins Lot 600. She noted there were 17 conditions pending for approval. She asked that the Board wait until the appeal is completed and then move forward.
Howard Epstein, 33492 Bloomberg Road, stated he didn’t know why they were hurrying this process.
Norm Maxwell, 79550 Fire Road said the armory needs to be replaced but the proposed armory site is not the right place.
Nick Urhausen, 2858 Warren St., said there are three objections with the armory: destroying wetlands, traffic problems and the aesthetics of an armory. He thought that the armory could use LCC’s sewage system and that would eliminate the need of seven or eight acres to be developed. He said that might free up enough land to have an off ramp from I-5. He didn’t see anything wrong with the armory being placed there.
Rob Castleberry, 86701 Franklin, explained the previous owner had development plans for the site and was told that access off of 30th Avenue was not a possibility. He questioned whether this was a driveway, or a connector that would carry thousands of cars. He didn’t think the public was given clear notice of what the County is committing to.
There being no one further signed up to speak, Commissioner Dwyer closed the Public Hearing.
Dwyer stated when he was in the legislature it was his bill at the request of the County, to allow for the siting of an armory in proximity to a community college. He said they needed the armory. He said there was another site they had in mind that didn’t encompass wetlands. He said they had the public hearing because they wanted to hear how the people were impacted. He said there is something wrong with a process that allows them to move forward before the legal issues have been resolved. He added there are certain requirements that need to be resolved. He saw no public duty to move forward. He wanted the appeals process to work and if it shows that the County is entitled to do what it plans to do, then they would discuss that later.
Sorenson asked what the rationale was for putting a road through the facility and bisecting it, causing equipment and people to move back and forth across a public road.
Chickering responded over the past few years there had been discussions with the Oregon Military Department and ODOT. He said through the discussions, the “S:” alignment had been proposed as a potential solution for traffic problems along McVey Highway and the ramps along I-5. He noted that ODOT was interested in getting the intersection of McVey Highway moved away from the interchange in accordance with their proximity rules. He said today’s discussion was only for an access for the armory, not the “S” road. He added they were not approving the realignment of McVey Highway. He believed though the “S” road would be a viable alternative that would assist the situation.
Chickering said this was a complex issue He was concerned about specific road impacts. He said he has a valid application from the applicant to process a board packet on whether to allow the connection. He didn’t see a reason to hold it up.
Sorenson suggested postponing any action until they have a decision from the courts on the matters that the neighbors raised to challenge this.
Green noted that Attachment 2 from the Oregon Military Department discusses the transportation access in the center and maintenance shop. He noted they had been granted approval for a site review permit allowing construction. He said it gave three conditions for the approval. He was interested in how the court appeal is directly tied to what the Board’s decision is.
Vorhes stated the specifics of the connector are ongoing. He said the issue before the Board is access to 30th Avenue. Also, it had come to the Board because of a request by the Oregon Military Department driven by the land use decision that considered transportation and access to the property. He said they decided that the way access was presented, it should go to 30th Avenue to avoid other problems. He said the letter listed the conditions as a way of showing the Board they were doing it because of the land use approval. He added the appeal may or may not affect it. He said the appeal did not issue any stays. Lane County followed the direction of the Circuit Court order and issued the land use approval.
Weeldreyer asked what would happen if the military department was not successful and is not able to build on that site if the County approved this incrementally as the Bloomberg connector road project to realign McVey.
Vorhes said they wouldn’t start building until they have the approvals they need. He said if they were to build the road before the rest of the facility gets approved, the road is built and plays into the rest of the connector.
MOTION: to move to defer a decision on this matter at this time.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Sorenson said they need a better idea about transportation goals and a determination that the land use and environmental issues are resolved. He wanted to defer the decision.
Green would not support the motion. He didn’t think that by deferring the matter it would get them any closer to making a decision some time in the future. He said staff needed to be given guidance. He was concerned about the future problems at Bloomberg.
Dwyer supported the motion. He stated they hadn’t decided a design for the Bloomberg connector. He thought the process was flawed.
Weeldreyer stated this owner and the two prior owners had tried to develop the property but had not received approval for access on 30th Avenue because of limited access. She said the public agencies must follow the same rules private property owners follow. She said it seems that the federal government can get what it wants. She had been frustrated with this project from the beginning. She had ongoing concerns about traffic safety for the residents in the Russell Creek basin and for the people who attend the college and have to work at the college every day. She said having the county address the traffic issues for the LCC basin is imperative. She did not want to move ahead today because it is a principle policy issue that Lane County treats everyone fairly and equitably. She thought it would be in everyone’s best interest that they not take action.
Morrison did not support the motion. She was concerned about staff and direction given.
VOTE: 3-2 (Green, Morrison dissenting).
Weeldreyer stated this came down to an equity issue that they denied the previous private property owner access to 30th. She thought they had to make sure first that the armory project would move forward.
Dwyer said they need to let the process work and if the appeal is upheld and they could site the armory, they then need to deal with the issue of access and a design that is safe for people who have to use the highway.
Chickering asked if it would be in the Board’s interest to have them proceed with the beginning process on the Bloomberg connector.
Dwyer agreed that was the way to do it.
Weeldreyer wanted the safety issues to stay out in front. Also, if linking it to the armory project keeps that in front, she wanted it to go that way.
Sorenson said the livability and vitality of life in that area is threatened by transportation facilities and other facilities that locate near the urban growth boundaries. He wanted to address the legitimate transportation problems that exist with the community college, with I-5 and the local neighborhood access issues. He thought that could bring the Board to a solution.
7. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
8. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
9. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
11. OTHER BUSINESS
ORDER 02-5-29-1/In the Matter of Consenting to a Change in Control of TCI Cablevision of Oregon, Inc. (DBA as AT & T Broadband from AT & T-Comcast).
MOTION: to approve ORDER 02-5-29-1.
Sorenson MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Milo Mecham, LCOG, explained the order approves the change of control, setting forth conditions. He said what was discussed (but was not in the order) was initiating the franchise review. He said that would be discussed at the next MPC meeting.
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 12:10 p.m.