BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
April 2, 2003
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Tom Lininger and Anna Morrison present. Bobby Green was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
15. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. 2-03/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 6 of Lane Code to Add a Provision Prohibiting Discharge of Weapons in Property Owned or Operated by a Park and Recreation District (LC 6.510) (NBA & PM 3/12/03).
Wilson explained the Willamalane Parks and Recreation District requested this change. She said it provides for a prohibition that is identical to the prohibition that exists in Lane County Parks. She said the request to eliminate the use of weapons in a park gives parks and recreation the ability to control that type of behavior the County parks have.
Commissioner Sorenson opened up the Public Hearing.
Bob Keefer, 200 S. Mill, Springfield, stated they were updating their rules with weapons and guns in their parks and they found through state statute that special districts did not have the authority to control the use of weapons in the parks. He noted that had been delegated to the cities and counties. He said they could refer to Lane Countyís authority when they enforce the rules. He noted the City of Springfield has ordinances in place that prohibit the acquisition or holding onto a weapon unless there is a permit within a city park. He said there is not such a prohibition in the County. He said in an effort to be consistent in their rule making and to make sure the parks are as safe as possible, they requested the change in County code. He added the rule prohibits discharging weapons, it does not prevent someone from carrying one. He requested the Board support the ordinance and code change.
Lininger supported the concept. He commented that Section 6.510 weapons (1) stated that no person shall discharge (and they had deleted within a County park) any weapon capable of harming persons, wildlife or property. He noted they moved the modified "within a County park" after the targets. He said it read they cared about the targets but not the discharges. He said they care about the discharges in the park, not targets in the park. He thought the language was better the way it was written before. He suggested moving County parks after targets in section (1) and (2) so if something brought under the ordinance there would be no defense. He suggested in (2) moving the whole clause from "within either" at the beginning of the sentence or "after discharge."Wilson commented since the Board was not adding or deleting any language that they could do that without an additional reading, as it is not a substantive change. She said if that were incorporated into the motion that it is put in after the word discharge, she would have the order redone.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing
MOTION: to amend Section 6.510 of the Lane Code in (1)(2) to read as follows:
(1) no person shall discharge within a County Park any weapon capable of harming persons, wildlife or property. (2) No person shall discharge, within any public park owned or maintained by a Park and Recreation District, organized pursuant to ORS Chapter 266, in Lane County, Oregon, any weapon capable of harming persons, wildlife or property.
Lininger MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
ROLL CALL VOTE: 4-0.
b. PUBLIC HEARING AND DISCUSSION/Seavey Way Frank Parrish Bridge (NBA & PM 3/12/03).
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, explained this project had been in the Capital Improvement Program since 1997. He said Bob Keefer, then the Parks Manager, introduced it. Keefer pursued the project because it is consistent with the Howard Buford Recreation Area Master Plan. Snowden noted that under Goal 10, it indicates that the Parks Division was going to advocate for a two lane bridge to replace the existing single lane bridge as well as including shoulder areas for pedestrians, horse back riders and people fishing from the bridge.
Snowden recalled the Board agreed to add that project to the CIP. He noted it had originally been programmed for construction in 99/00 but because of the environmental permitting requirements, it took another three years to get the permits in place. He said the Board adopted a year ago the CIP and when they adopted it, the Board delegated authority to the County Administrator to award and execute any capital improvement contracts that came in below the amount in the CIP. He noted they had the Frank Parish Bridge programmed for $1.7 million in the CIP and the low bid was $1.22 million. He added if the Board wanted to overturn the authority, they had to have another vote to do that, otherwise the delegated authority remains in place and the County Administrator could award the contract. He noted a problem is timing. He said the project requires in-water work and the in-water window granted to the County by ODFW is from May 1 until the end of October. He added because of the preliminary work the contractor needs to do, they are up against the deadline for the award of the contract. He noted if they donít award the contract this week, they increase the chances of a delay claim from the contractor later on in the project.
Snowden explained the bridge that is proposed is a two lane concrete bridge. He noted what had changed since they began work on the project in 1997 is that the regulatory environment they face regarding fisheries is much more restrictive than it was then. He said a concern of the National Marine Fisheries is that the confluence area of the Coast and Middle Fork is critical habitat for salmon. He noted the bridge is immediately downstream from the confluence area. He added with a timber bridge, they would get some leaching of the preservatives into the water and without curbing on the bridge there is runoff that would go directly into the run. He said the concrete bridge avoids both of those situations and from an environmental standpoint is a superior alternative to a timber bridge.
Snowden stated the initial cost of the concrete bridge is higher than a two lane wooden bridge but over a 30-year period, the lifecycle cost for a concrete bridge is about $300,000 lower than a wood alternative bridge.
Commissioner Sorenson opened up the Public Hearing.
Paul Bell, Oregon Department of Forestry, 3150 Main Street, said the Oregon Department of Forestry had provided wild land fire protection for the Howard Buford Recreation Area since 1973 under a cooperative agreement with the County. He said they are concerned about the bridge as it provides the only access to the west entrance of the park. He added as a fire protection action, they had noted a change in land use in the park with an increasing amount of burnable vegetation where they are responsible for providing fire protection. He also said they noticed an increase in public use of the park that increases the risk of fire occurrence. He noted in 1999 a fast moving wildfire burned 117 acres of the western part of the park and during the initial attack of the fire they needed to move several pieces of equipment into the park for the suppression of the fire. He commented that for fires it is important that they have unimpeded access across the bridge and into the park. He added it was important that the public that is in the park has unimpeded access to evacuation out of the park and the present number of the park users makes access across the bridge less than desirable. He said to ensure adequate transit for fire fighting equipment and public safety, he encouraged the Board to replace a single lane bridge with a two-lane structure.
Jim Weaver, 33893 Seavey Loop, Eugene, stated the bridge is an important issue because it will set the pattern for Buford Park for the next generation. He said Mt. Pisgah is a place for walking. He said the Friends of Howard Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah believed in the sacred quality of the park when they prepared the master plan. He said they wanted to minimize development and preserve the natural rural character of the area. He said the new bridge would be a harsh intrusion into Mt. Pisgah Park and would lead to further indiscretions. He said if the bridge is built, Mt. Pisgah Park as they had known it would be gone. He asked the Board to preserve the natural rural character of Howard Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah by halting the construction of the new bridge.
Robert Emmons, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road, commented when he chaired the Lane County Parks Advisory Committee, 15 years ago, there was a movement in conjunction with the master plan in process to phase out the cows that had been grazing at Mt. Pisgah. He said the understanding was that Mt. Pisgah was a rural park and it would retain its natural and rural character. He asked the Board if the infrequent emergency justifies the environmental and social degradation of harm to the common good for this and future generations if the bridge is allowed to be built. He asked the Board to save Mt. Pisgah and as it is a bridge too large and too costly.
Bridgett Williams, 3085 Kincaid, Eugene, said her concern is the Frank Parish Bridge. She said she has crossed the bridge daily for almost 16 years and had seen increased traffic. She added that crossing the bridge had never been a problem. She said changing the one lane bridge to a two-lane bridge is unnecessary. She urged the Board leave the bridge a one-lane bridge and have the people who enter Mt. Pisgah yield to the people leaving.
Bill Montgomery, Seavey Loop, Eugene, stated he is a frequent user of the park and is a member of the Friends of Buford Park and the arboretum. He was in favor of the plan that is proposed. He noted it was a wise choice from an environmental point of view. He added from an aesthetic point of view, for a concrete bridge it is fairly attractive. He said from a safety point of view, the engineers had made a case. He noted financially, the existing bridge could be repaired to extend its life, but if they delay this, there would have to be another set of permits and they might not get as attractive a bid. He thought if they were going to replace the bridge this was the way to do it. He noted with the use of the park of over 800 cars per day, a good bridge is needed. He was concerned that this not be a green light for massive development in the park. He asked that the Board stick to the Howard Buford Recreation Master Plan. He was also concerned about a safety issue related to the speed both on Seavey Loop Road and on the bridge. He requested the Board put up some type of signage so there would be a 40 mile per hour zone consistently through.
Merle Bottge, 1777 W. 24th, Eugene, stated she is chair of the Parks Advisory Committee for Lane County. She noted in a meeting in March, the committee unanimously supported this proposal for a two-lane bridge. She said they had concerns for the safety of the people using the park in the case of an emergency being able to exit the park at the same time that emergency vehicles might be trying to cross into the park. She said they recognized this park is becoming more popular so they have to provide a better entrance and egress to the park. She added they supported this because the proposed bridge has only one pier into the water, whereas the current bridge has two piers into the water. She thought by reducing the piers it should improve the negative environmental affects to the water.
Kevin McGraw, 2192 Hilyard, President of the Friends of Buford Park. spoke on his own behalf. He said the Friends of Buford Park never expressed strong opposition to the bridge or strong consensus for support. He supports the new bridge for environmental reasons. He stated the safety concerns were important. He commented that the cement bridge over its lifecycle would be less costly and thought it was a financially prudent move. He wanted assurance from the Board that any restoration work that takes place would be done with native species and that it does not lead to more development and that traffic concerns are taken care of.
Rob Castleberry, 86701 Franklin, Eugene, stated he is part of the Mt. Pisgah community. He is currently Chair of the Goshen Neighborhood Association. He commented the speed will affect both the park and the neighborhood and he didnít think signage would be enough, that additional measures would need to be taken. He thought the bridge would eliminate a bottleneck, but it is also a transition from people coming off the freeway to the park. He thought there would be more vehicles coming into the park. He asked the Board to slow the traffic approaching the park.
Dick Lamster, President of Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, Board of Directors, 30495 Fox Hollow, Eugene explained there are two projects on the land, the arboretum has 200 acres that it leases from the County on a 50 year lease and the Howard Buford Recreation Area with 2,000 acres. He said they support replacing the old one lane bridge with the new two-lane bridge with pedestrian and equestrian lanes. He noted this bridge is the only access going into the arboretum. He said they have five full-time employees who work inside the arboretum He added they have as many as 4,000 students per year coming and thousands of visitors to their annual wildflower and mushroom festivals, all who have to cross the bridge. He thinks it is most prudent of Lane County to replace the bridge before it is unsafe.
Susanne Dwight Alexander, 5455 Donald, Eugene, commented she didnít think a two lane bridge was needed. She had concerns with the road into Pisgah as drivers go too fast.
Bob Keefer, 942 Northridge, Springfield, stated he was speaking as a private citizen. He noted the master plan went through a significant public process starting in 1992. He added throughout the process they used the advisory committee to examine different issues at Mt. Pisgah and the Howard Buford recreation area. He recalled in 1994 this plan was approved as a Metro Plan Amendment by the Board. He commented the biggest need for this bridge is for emergency problems. He said the one-lane bridge is inadequate to handle increasing traffic. He stated this park would continue to grow in attendance and popularity and they need to provide safe access. He encouraged the Board to support this endeavor.
Bonny Bettman, 2191 Friendly, Eugene, stated she was not testifying on behalf of the City of Eugene. She stated she is a long time park user of 25 years. She commented the CIP didnít mention the Frank Parrish Bridge or note that it was an extension. She stated that bigger is not always better. Her main objection to the project is the scale and the cost. She noted the bridge was being built to the maximum standard in every respect. She added the additional cost for the bridge was 8% of the whole project to build it bigger than what is actually needed. She commented building to the maximum standard is not appropriate and this is an appropriate project to economize.
Carolyn Partridge, 3575 Knobhill Lane, Eugene, stated she had concern about the project. She asked about the appropriateness of carrying out a capital improvement plan at this time. She said she is a frequent hiker at Mt. Pisgah and there is concern among park users where a new bridge could be built that a parking fee may be imposed. She requested the Board consider immediate needs when spending County road funds. She thought some of this money could help the City of Eugene with its large backlog of road maintenance. She thought if the speed limit was 10 to 20 miles per hour, traffic would slow and they wouldnít need such a big bridge. She commented that if the bridge must be built, to build only what they reasonably need.
Charley Huntington, 33522 Hampton Road, stated he is a Captain with the Sheriffís Posse. He thought putting in the bridge was a smart move.
Randy Wood, Chief, Goshen Fire District, 30105 Del Monte, Eugene, said that they are first into Mt. Pisgah when there is an emergency. He said for them replacing the bridge is a safety issue.
Paul Rey, 34204 Seavey Loop, commented this is a project that would be a nice thing to have. He didnít think this was the appropriate time to be doing this. He said it is a lot of money to be spending and it didnít look well to taxpayers.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing.
Sorenson commented that Green asked that they not make a decision today, as he wanted to review the public record.
Dwyer stated there were time constraints associated with this and it takes an affirmative action by the Board to stop this. He noted this process had been in the works for a number of years. He commented unless there are three votes to stop this, nothing would change.
Van Vactor explained when Arlene Marshall had learned from Snowden about the time constraints, she placed a call to Bobby Green and he understood the circumstances. Van Vactor indicated Green was supportive of the construction of this bridge.
Morrison supported the bridge. She noted she had been on the Roads Advisory Committee since she had been on the Board and watched this go forward.
Dwyer commented he is on the Roads Advisory Committee and the Parks Advisory Committee and they had been dealing with this for several years. He said the cost of the bridge is $1.2 million. He heard no compelling reasons to stop this project. He said it was part of the Buford Plan. He said it was critical in terms of the 4 D Rule and the taking of the salmon. He said designing something that is environmentally sensitive makes the river safer for rafters and boaters because there is one piling in the river instead of two and there is access and egress to the park. He added speed control issues could be dealt with on a separate basis. He noted the Friends of Buford Park had testified they were in favor of the bridge.
Lininger understood the safety concerns, but he said if he had started from scratch, he would have wanted a smaller bridge.
Sorenson stated there are some legitimate questions about the current bridge before they build a new one. He said before they embark on construction, they should see what the maintenance needs are and fund those ahead of new construction.
16. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
17. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 3:15 p.m.