JOINT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

EUGENE CITY COUNCIL

RIVER ROAD/SANTA CLARA CITIZEN COMMITTEE

WORK SESSION

September 18, 2002

5:30 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 10/16/02

 

Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present.Cindy Weeldreyer was present via telephone.Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer was also present.

 

Mayor Jim Torrey presided with City Councilors Bonny Bettman, Pat Farr, David Kelly, Scott Meisner, Nancy Nathanson, Gary Pape, Gary Rayor and Betty Taylor.

 

a.PRESENTATION/Final Report and Recommendations of the River Road/Santa Clara Urban Services Citizen Committee.

 

Jim Croteau, Principal Staff, River Road Santa Clara Urban Services Committee, stated the committee had been meeting for the past eighteen months.He noted the committee was formed by joint resolutions that both the Eugene City Council and Board of County Commissioners adopted in fall 2000.He said the resolutions that were adopted gave the charge to the committee to provide staff and elected officials with a local citizen perspective on selected service delivery issues.

 

Croteau explained they were also charged with reviewing a staff background paper to examine servicing issues and to act as a liaison to community groups and individuals to keep them informed about the urban service issues.

 

Croteau said there were ten service areas they were going to examine such as fire, water, and public safety.He added they reviewed the background paper and held a meeting with staff from that service area.He noted they brainstormed issues; themes, ideas that became part of the report.He added they attached Exhibit B as part of their material.He noted that both the committee and staff struggled to condense peopleís views into one common report. He said the format of the report lists the executive summary and background and goes through a series of themes.

 

Julie Fisher, Co-Chair, River Road/Santa Clara Committee, explained they would be discussing the four major themes identified by the committee:trust, voice, equity and collaboration.She said their three priorities for the future are establishing a transition manager, developing a transition plan and creating a new neighborhood plan.

 

Fisher commented that River Road and Santa Clara are in transition from a rural to an urban neighborhood and figuring out when to provide services is difficult.She noted the cityís decision in the 1990ís to annex properties as they are developed has created a confusing and inefficient mess of services.She said members of the committee asked if they could afford to have duplicate services in areas such as fire and police.She said it wasnít fair that city residents in Santa Clara donít have adequate access to a recreation facility.She asked if County residents have to abide by city land use codes when they have no political representation in city government.She said the answers to the question were urgent and important and they are committed to pro-active change.

 

Fisher noted the city had made a significant investment of staff time in the committee.She said the group had a mutual respect for diversity and the basis for trust, something that had been lacking between their neighborhood and the city.She urged the elected officials not to squander this unique opportunity to move forward with a transition plan, transition manager and a new neighborhood plan.

 

Jerry Finnegan stated the area is suburban and requires services at an urban level.He said it is in the urban growth boundary of Eugene and it seems logical to be part of Eugene.He said the residents of River Road and Santa Clara would like to avoid paying the city level of taxes.He noted their opposition to the City of Eugene is that they attempted to annex the area through a policy of conquest and supplying sewer service to the area to force annexation.He said this left the residents of the area feeling besieged, vulnerable and unified. He noted in 1987 the County entered into an agreement with the City of Eugene to manage planning and development for the area.He said the residents felt left out.He noted there were no elected representatives to represent their interests.He stated the City of Eugene might be the best provider of the services to the area but things need to be mended. He said the City of Eugene would be well advised to recognize that the communities of River Road and Santa Clara are unique and have special needs and the residents need to be treated with respect.He said the citizens of the area need to help plan for their own future.

 

Robert Bachelor, Santa Clara, recalled for the past two years many changes have taken place without effective neighborhood input.He said examples include housing infill, tree removal and sewer installation.He said the perception of the residents of Santa Clara/River is that their needs take a back seat to other residents in the city.He said the lack of parks and recreation opportunities in the neighborhood are poor.He added there is no branch library in either neighborhood.He said the city residents feel that the lack of these services is a reflection of the inadequate voice and representation for their area.

 

Bachelor noted the short-term solution would be to take a poll to ask the residents of the area their opinion on different topics affecting the area. He said in the long term, they wanted the city and county to support their suggestion for a transition manager.He noted this position would be a bridge between the elected officials and the neighborhoods.

 

Jay Bosevich said city residents living in the Santa Clara/River Road area think they are not receiving their fair share, that other parts of the city and county are receiving favoritism.He said although the people in the Santa Clara area pay the same tax rate as a city resident, they do not get the same level of service.He noted that police coverage is incomplete and inadequate at times.He added the area thinks they are subsidizing improved service for county residents that might live nearby that are not paying for it.He said the transition plan they are recommending would address the inequities.

 

Charles Kittleson hoped the group would have continued and careful collaboration in order to address the larger issues they discovered.He said the committee found that democracy was being abridged in River Road.He noted there are approximately 30,000 residents in the River Road/Santa Clara area and they donít have anyone living in their area serving on the city council or the Board of Commissioners.He said their concern is that majority rules are between urbanists and ruralists.

 

Ann Vaughn, Santa Clara resident, Co-Chair, said they are recommending the city and county appoint a high level staff position to oversee the transition process.She said the transition manager would serve as a resource and communication link for the residents with city staff and elected officials.She noted the manager would supervise studies, committees, programs and policies related to improving the urban services in the area.She added this appointment is a critical next step in addressing the issues that were mentioned about representation and trust building.She said they recommended that the transition manager work with the residents to develop a comprehensive transition plan incorporating the themes and recommendations of the committee.She said the plan should include a fiscal analysis of revenue and costs related to urban services in the River Road/Santa Clara area.She noted that sharing information is a trust building activity and they think that the more information they share with residents will help in building trust.†† She added the committee recommended that the outdated River Road/Santa Clara Urban Facilities Plan be replaced with a new plan that focuses on issues that are important to the community today.

 

Farr stated he was impressed by the hard work the committee did in bringing this together.He wanted to make sure they continue the process.

 

Kelly thought the next steps for the committee were sensible.He supported a motion to move the report forward.He thought in the short term that a poll made sense.He noted the recommended steps will cost money but the same patchwork system with the Santa Clara/River Road is also costing money as well as aggravation.He thought it was worth spending the money to solve this.

 

Meisner said he wanted the committee of the Santa Clara/River Road area to hear the comments, prepare the recommendations and do the work.He hoped in the beginning that the committee could work through the various service areas to come up with practical recommendations to solve some of the immediate problems.He noted none of the solutions were simple or without cost but all recognize the responsibility of the taxpayers and the elected officials.He said the recommendation for a transition manager to assist developing a plan with the committeeís help would make sense and would provide an opportunity for professional staff and neighborhood residents to continue to make the transition.He hoped they could use some of the reserve funds for Santa Clara/River Road for a transition manager

 

Bettman hoped to see the community involved in the issues.She noted in reading the service area themes and proposals there were some inconsistencies.She asked the committee what they anticipated from the elected officials.

 

Croteau responded the committee examined each service area by itself.He said it was a group of ideas that were generated.

 

Bettman asked how a transition manager might be funded.

 

Myra Wyle said they didnít have the revenues and costs relating to River Road/Santa Clara.She added that was why they were asking for a feasibility study.She thought the funds might be readily available to initially perform the economic feasibility study.

 

Bettman was in favor of a feasibility study.She also thought the transition manager was a good idea but she wanted to study it in terms of the entire budget.She noted when the city council looked at their six-year forecast, they would not be creating any new services because they couldnít afford it.

 

Taylor asked if most of the committee would feel resentment about annexation.

 

Finnegan noted that was an issue that was brought up previously.He said that eventually River Road/Santa Clara would become part of the city.He said it is already within the realm of the city with the urban growth boundary.He stated the issue long term is getting the transition into the city.He added for the short term the question is what to do with the problems that currently exist.He noted resentment came from the idea of being conquered.He said if the elected officials could work with the committee that people would be friendlier and not as resentful.He said if the city comes off as honorable that the resentment would fade.

 

Taylor supported a poll.

 

Ann Vaughn said their transition process is meant to help enlighten residents in their area and have a collaborative effort with the city. She stated they learned that some people in the city found they were benefiting in areas they didnít realize, and some who did not live in the city realized how they were benefiting from some of the city services.She said communication, sharing information and collaboration is what the whole transition recommendation is about.

 

Pape appreciated the efforts of the City of Eugene and Lane County to form this committee.He said if they were going to move forward, they would have to get past the sewer system implementation. He added they need to follow through with dollars.He said the dollars are hard to come by but he would work hard to get the dollars to implement the three recommendations the committee came up with.He said they have to listen to the residents in the area.He said they would do a disservice to the community if the report is accepted and they donít continue to interact, collaborate and follow through on the recommendations that were put forth.

 

Morrison said because the committee produced something on its own they have to educate people around what services they do receive and how they are impacted.She wanted to see the process moving forward.She noted the dollars were the issue and Lane County didnít put a lot into the initial step.She asked if the polling meant a vote of everyone in the area or a random phone survey.

 

Fisher responded their thought was more of a random sampling of people.She thought it was premature at this point.She said the results of their work needed to be disseminated.She said a lot of people donít know if they are in the city or the county.

 

Morrison supported moving forward.

 

Kittleson said city actions caused problems in the past with wrong assumptions about the point of view of the people.He said they werenít sure their committee was a good cross-section.He said they wanted to get reassurance that they are a good representative sampling.He said a scientific sampling of some type that provides valid information about the broad point of view in their communities is what they are after.He added they needed something more reliable than what they currently have to make policy decisions.

 

Nathanson noted that the City of Eugene and Lane County are following state and federal law with regard to land use, zoning and environment issues.She added that not everything was under the control of the City of Eugene or Lane County.She was interested in equity.She wanted to understand and help with the issues of equity.She commented it would be a challenge to redistribute resources to make sure they equitably serve everyone in a fair manner.She considered this report as a request for a beginning.She thought this process was remarkable.She asked the executives to consider whether the efforts of this group could be submitted to either the League of Oregon Cities or to a national organization (such as the American Planning Association) as an example of an excellent process.

 

Green complimented the group on their work. He thought the product was unique. He agreed with the group that there needed to be an updated plan so when hearing officials make decisions, they are using current information.He wanted the group to stay involved so they could get an accurate reading on whether the group is an accurate representation of the neighborhood.He thought the trust level started when Croteau asked the group to write the plan.He wanted to make this a living document.He suggested taking the recommendations and asking staff to assess the implications of the financial picture.He said it has to be folded into the budgeting process.He stated whether people live in the area or not, what happens in the area impacts everyone as people travel through the area.He asked the elected officials to take this seriously and empower the representatives to continue working on this process.He supported the recommendations.

 

Sorenson viewed this as a difficult problem.He said areas outside of the incorporated cities should be handled consistently.He said the problem was the area did not have specific unified representation and that complexity leads to the difficulty.He favored a random sample survey in the area.He was concerned that despite all of the work that went into this, there are different voices and their perception of what is going on is part of the educational process.He thought they could get a better idea on how to approach the questions that should be directed to city staff.He didnít think Lane County had the kind of money for an analysis.He added if the city acquires this section then they should go slow with annexation.He recommended having the citizens who are on the committee and the elected officials have a public hearing for the purpose of gaining perspective from the people that live in the area. He said from the Board of Commissioners perspective, they have to make sure that people who live outside of cities are treated equally in the process by which they become part of their nearest city.He favored continued work by the city government and the committee and the commitment of money.He favored in part a random sample survey to gain perspective on the views of the public affected by this decision and a public hearing to allow the public an opportunity to comment on the report.

 

Rayor complimented the citizen members.He wanted to see the cover of the report have a Lane County logo as well as the City of Eugene, as it is a joint advisory committee to Eugene and Lane County.He wanted to make sure the residents know that the local governments are trying to work together to resolve these issues.

 

Torrey stated he hadnít made up his mind on what is in the best interest for the people in the area. He noted there are things of value that would be a benefit to the people of the area but the question is whether they want them enough to pay for them.He said if they donít, there should be a discussion to decide whether they should proceed.He stated he would vote for the committeeís recommendations and he will work with Pape to try to find the money.He said they need to do this for all the people who live in the area.

 

Dwyer concurred with Sorenson about bringing the report to a public hearing so the people who are impacted by the decisions could give their concerns to the committee.He thanked the committee for its work.He noted there had been resentment and deception and hard feelings. He hoped whatever the city did, they would make a commitment that it would require the consent of those people that are going to be impacted by the decision to move into the city.He said part of the problem is the government tax policies and how they affect land development.He said the committee should continue to work with this but they need to honor the will of the people who moved out of the city to a rural area.He was concerned about trust of the committee in the transition manager and how they would decide who would be that person.He suggested the group pick five or six people and decide whom they want.

 

MOTION:move to direct the City Manager of the City of Eugene to prepare a work program and proposed budget including possible funding sources for the high priority recommendations as presented in the final report and recommendations of the River Road/Santa Clara urban services committee.

 

Kelly MOVED, Pape SECONDED.

 

Taylor suggested considering a public hearing where all the residents could be present.

 

Bettman noted the residents of Santa Clara/River Road havenít had a chance to react to the report.She wanted to hear that before they took any action.She wasnít opposed to how much this would cost to implement the recommendations.

 

Kelly noted that all the motion would do would bring back to the City of Eugene and the Board of Commissioners a proposal to do the three priority issues:a transition plan, transition manager and an updated urban services plan.He asked how long it would take, who needed to be involved and how they would pay for it.

 

Meisner supported the motion.He noted that both the written record and the tapes of the meetings were a public session with substantial public input.He added they were also well advertised but they were not public hearings before elected bodies.He said the citizens of the committees advertised them and it did bring people to the meeting.

 

VOTE: 6-2 (Bettman, Taylor dissenting).

 

MOTION: to move to direct Lane County staff to work with the City of Eugene staff to prepare a work program and proposed budget for the following high priority recommendations for consideration in the FY 2003-2004 budget process:

 

1.Establishment of a staff person (Transition Manager) to oversee the River Road and Santa Clara Transition issues.

 

2.Development of a Transition Plan incorporating the recommendations of the committees and an economic analysis of the provision of urban services.

 

3.Replacement of the River Road/Santa Clara Urban Facilities Plan.

 

Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.

 

With regard to a public hearing, Green thought it could be a recommendation.He noted the citizens responded to a public process that was put forward some time ago.He said the group needs to be empowered and the elected officials need to embrace the study and give staff direction to go forward and bring something back.He thought a public hearing at that time would be warranted.

 

Dwyer asked what they were transitioning into.He asked if a Transition Manager was someone hired to manage the transition of the area into the city.He said the development of the plan that incorporates the concepts is important and they have to do that.He said that Lane County had entered into a transitional agreement with the City of Eugene where they relinquished all of their rights and responsibilities as it relates to the development of the City without representation.He said they have to be careful to control the development within the urban growth boundaries so the citizens have more of a say in the matter.

 

Morrison said a public hearing could be part of what the staff brings forward.She would be agreeable to that.She commented that having a public hearing prior to having anything go out to the public is counterproductive.

 

Green wanted Board support for the document.He wanted to wait to have a public hearing so more people could weigh in.He said people want to know what had been endorsed or accepted.

 

Weeldreyer supported the motion.She believed there needs to be more neighbor to neighbor sharing so there is a community effort, not a city or county top level approach.She said because the area has demonstrated a strong desire to work toward a smooth transition, they should be given the autonomy to work with the county and city in a way they would come into the city for the future.She noted there is currently a high level of trust and it needs to be maintained as the recommendations get disseminated into the community.

 

Sorenson stated he wanted to make sure the people that are in the city want this to happen and if they think it is a good thing for the Board of Commissioners to be doing.He didnít think asking for a public hearing was out of line.

 

Green said the Board had the obligation to endorse the plan by accepting it and giving staff direction to come back by developing a work plan and proposed budget.He wanted to know all the implications.

 

VOTE: 3-2 (Dwyer, Sorenson dissenting).

 

There being no further business, Mayor Torrey recessed the meeting for the City of Eugene at 7:20 p.m.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer recessed the meeting for the Lane County Board of Commissioners at 7:20 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary