COMMISSIONER

CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS

September 8, 2003

9:00 a.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 10/15/03

 

Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., and Anna Morrison present.  Former Commissioner Tom Lininger and Recording Secretary Daniel Lindstrom were also present.

 

1.  COMMISSIONER CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS

Commissioner Sorenson reviewed the process to be followed in interviewing candidates for appointment to fill the vacancy in the position of Commissioner from the Lane County East Lane District.  He said each candidate would be interviewed for up to one hour, the first five minutes being reserved for opening remarks by the candidate.  He explained that each Commissioner and former Commissioner Tom Lininger would have up to ten minutes to ask questions and receive answers, and that the last five minutes of each interview would be reserved for questions and/or closing remarks from the candidate.

A.  Candidate Michael Dean

Sorenson welcomed Mayor Michael J. Dean, 32654 West Dixon Street, Coburg, and invited him to make opening remarks.

 

Mayor Dean referred to his answers to questions submitted in writing with his application for appointment.  He said he believed County Commissioners held a service position and were charged with helping the County meet its highest and best goals.  He said he believed elected officials should be deeply committed to communication with their constituents.  He described how he fulfilled that commitment as Mayor of the City of Coburg and Chairperson of the Region 2050 Regional Policy Advisory Board.  He discussed matters scheduled to be considered on the agenda of meetings of the Board of Commissioners in the near future and described his experience with them.

 

Mayor Dean said concern had been expressed about the negative effect of the resignation of a mayor to fill a vacancy on the Board of Commissioners.  He said he had determined to apply for the appointment only after the approval of his City Council and because of the strong leadership and experience of the President of the Council whom the City Charter designated as the replacement for a resigning Mayor.

Commissioner Morrison asked, “In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?” 

Mayor Dean replied that processes for the expansion of an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and annexation were well defined and that they would need to be studied and followed in any attempt to annex the River Road/Santa Clara area into the City of Eugene.  He said he was familiar with the processes because of his service as Mayor of Coburg, but was concerned that his experience could mistakenly be seen as a hindrance to his understanding the unique needs of all of Lane County.  He said, in maters of annexation, he would seek to be especially well informed of the interests of all parties, follow prescribed guidelines, and seek the best solution for every situation.

Commissioner Morrison asked, “How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?”

 

Mayor Dean replied that he believed he was well prepared to deal with such situations because of his involvement in the Metropolitan Policy Committee and Region 2050 Regional Policy Advisory Board.  He said it would be most important to become well informed on the issues involved and to discuss them with representatives of the opposing viewpoints.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, “Do you feel the Region 2050 Regional Policy Advisory Board would be useful in such conflicts?”

Mayor Dean replied that it could be a vehicle in the “tool bag” to be used in discovering the implications of an issue.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, “How would you deal with a situation where a professional, business, or public policy advocacy group approached the Board of Commissioners with vested interests?”

Mayor Dean replied that such situations were difficult and described his experience with them in Coburg.  He said the role of Commissioners was to determine what was best for the County as a whole, without neglecting appropriate special needs that came before them.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, “Do you favor the concept of requiring a ‘double majority’ vote in annexation questions?”

 

Mayor Dean replied that he was not able to respond to the question because he had not considered all of the implications of requiring that citizens in an area proposed for annexation vote to approve it.  He said he was open to considering all options.

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Mayor Dean.  He asked, “Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other services?

 

Mayor Dean replied that he supported the surcharge to be used for education, youth, and senior programs.

 

Sorenson asked, “Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?”

Mayor Dean replied that he did not believe the Fairgrounds should be abandoned.  He recounted the experience of a county in the Middle West that faced issues of the disposal of animal wastes.

 

Sorenson asked, “Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improve regulation enforcement?”

Mayor Dean replied that he was not familiar with the work of the Animal Task Force, but that, in general, he believed animal control services should be improved and that he would support increasing fees and services.

 

Sorenson asked, “If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Commissioner, would you run for re-election?”

Mayor Dean replied that he would run for re-election, if appointed.

Sorenson asked, “Do you support Oregon Land Use Laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?”

Mayor Dean replied that he strongly supported Oregon Land Use Laws and that he believed they were in the enlightened self interest of local jurisdictions.  He said he did not believe the laws were perfect because they were instituted with a “heavy hand” and that there were specific areas which needed to be revised.

 

Sorenson asked, “Do you support Lane County efforts to protect private property from intrusions of excessive noise, air and water pollution?”

 

Mayor Dean replied that he believed personal property rights were basic in American society.  He discussed difficult questions related to property rights faced by the Board of Commissioners.  He said solutions were to be found in discussions of existing laws.

 

Commissioner Green described a scenario and asked, “You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?”

Mayor Dean replied that he believed the involvement of financial considerations in the situation would affect his approach to gaining support for a project.  He described his experience in leading Coburg citizens to a decision to develop a wastewater system.  He said it was his style to listen to those affected by a decision, seek data related to the concern, and reach a decision that would be open to public comment.  He said he favored consensus decision making in policy setting groups.

Commissioner Green asked, “Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?”

Mayor Dean replied that he was not familiar with the plan, but that he “liked the sound of it.”

 

Commissioner Green asked, “How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources – their appropriate use and protection?”

Mayor Dean said he supported having many different things happen in a single place as possible.  He said he supported mixed-use developments in urban commercial, residential, and open space planning.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger expressed appreciation for Mayor Dean having applied for appointment to the position of East Lane Commissioner and asked, “How would you represent the wide diversity of interests of the district?”

 

Mayor Dean described his understanding of the many different interests of residents of the district, especially issues that resulted from interface with urban areas.  He said his experience on the Metropolitan Policy Committee and 2050 Regional Policy Advisory Board and as a mayor of a small city gave him unique qualifications to deal with such concerns.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, “If you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners, what assurance could you give that your experience as Mayor of Coburg did not give you a parochial preference?” 

Mayor Dean replied that all of the candidates for appointment were “from some place” and that a similar concern would be valid for each.  He said established State and Federal guidelines were established to avoid such preferences by local officials.  He also said the focus of the Board of Commissioners was different than that of a mayor.  He said he would be able to fairly represent all areas of the district.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, “What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?”

Mayor Dean replied that his most important concerns would be economic development, youth programs, and law enforcement.

 

Sorenson invited Mayor Dean to make a concluding statement.

 

Mayor Dean expressed appreciation for the opportunity to appear before the Board and the questions that were asked.  He said the work of a Commissioner was not simple and that he believed he was able to deal with its challenges.

Sorenson declared a five-minute recess in the meeting.

 

B.  Candidate Donald Hampton

Sorenson welcomed Mayor Donald E. Hampton, 76513 Sanford Street, Oakridge, reviewed guidelines for the interview process, and invited him to make opening remarks.

 

Mayor Hampton referred to his answers to questions submitted in writing with his application for appointment.  He said all of the candidates were well qualified, but his depth, breadth, and balance of experience made him the most qualified.  He said he believed the person chosen for appointment should be skilled in developing consensus.  He described his experience in education, elective government, regional planning, budgeting, and social work.  He said he had balanced experience as a member of a labor union and as a manager, as a member of the Democratic and of the Republican political parties, and as a resident of urban and of rural areas.  He said the diversity of his experience prepared him to be a County Commissioner.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?”

 

Mayor Hampton replied that he was familiar with opposition to annexation to Eugene by residents of the Santa Clara area.  He said he believed it was self-defeating to annex areas with residents who did not want to be part of a city.  He said it was important to make an annexation option attractive and provide something that was wanted at a price that could be afforded.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?"

Mayor Hampton said he believed the most significant example of such a conflict was the desire of rural residents for better law enforcement and that he believed residents in the urban areas should be more sensitive to those needs.  He said he was distressed that when cutbacks in services needed to take place, they happened first in rural areas, where they were most needed.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "Do you favor the concept of requiring a 'double majority' vote in annexation questions?"

 

Mayor Hampton replied that he believed annexations were best accomplished when both residents of the annexing city and of the area to be annexed were supportive.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, “With finite resources and law enforcement taking up to 70 percent of the resources of Lane County, how would you maximize the effectiveness of what was available?”

Mayor Hampton replied that he believed increasing cooperation between law enforcement jurisdictions would produce cost savings and improve service.  He said additional planning was also needed.

 

Commissioner Dwyer said he did not believe representatives of the Oregon State Police, Sheriff’s Office, or city police agencies would agree with Mayor Hampton.

Mayor Hampton said he did not believe that as much law enforcement coverage was provided to rural areas as was possible.

 

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Mayor Hampton and asked, "Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other services?

Mayor Hampton replied that he supported the surcharge as a temporary solution to a major problem faced by the State of Oregon.  He said more basic revision of state taxing practices needed to be made.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?"

Mayor Hampton said he did not believe selling the Lane County Fairgrounds was a good idea.

 

Sorenson asked, "Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improve regulation enforcement?"

Mayor Hampton replied that he did not believe rural areas received adequate services from the Animal Regulation Authority and that he supported increasing license fees to support its work, if it was the only option available.

 

Sorenson asked, "If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Commissioner, would you run for re-election?"

 

Mayor Hampton said he would run for re-election, if he found out he was qualified for the position and enjoyed the work.

 

Sorenson asked, “What do you believe is the role of the Board of Commissioners in dealing with people and businesses who live or are located outside the city limits but within an urban growth boundary?

 

Mayor Hampton said it was the responsibility of the Board to support development of available land before agreeing to expand an urban growth boundary.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Oregon Land Use laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?"

 

Mayor Hampton said he believed it was good to prevent urban sprawl, but that some land use laws were enforced more rigorously than was appropriate.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Lane County efforts to protect private property from intrusions of excessive noise, air and water pollution?"

 

Mayor Hampton replied that original land owners should have their rights preserved, but that incompatible land uses needed to be prevented.

 

Sorenson asked, “Do you have anything else you wish to say about these questions?”

Mayor Hampton said he did not.

 

Commissioner Green expressed appreciation for the willingness of Mayor Hampton to appear before the Board.  He commented that he did not believe rural residents in the Mohawk area should complain about the lack of law enforcement when they turned down formation of a special taxing district to support increased services in their area.

 

Mayor Hampton replied that he did not believe those who lived in rural areas should be forced to pay for services that other residents of the County received for free.

 

Commissioner Green described a scenario and asked, "You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?"

Mayor Hampton said Commissioners should rely on staff available to provide background information needed for decisions.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?"

Mayor Hampton replied that he was not.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources - their appropriate use and protection?"

 

Mayor Hampton replied that he did not believe prohibiting multiple uses of natural resources was wise.  He said natural resources could be used in productive ways and that cooperation among all concerned was important in developing appropriate plans.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger expressed appreciation for Mayor Dean having applied for appointment to the position of East Lane Commissioner and asked, "How would you represent the wide diversity of interests of the district?"

 

Mayor Hampton replied that he had lived in Lane County for 35 years and that it had been an intentional choice.  He said he had traveled throughout the County and was familiar with all areas of the East Lane District.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "If you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners, what assurance could you give that your experience as Mayor of Oakridge did not give you a parochial preference?"

 

Mayor Hampton said he would speak to the question in his closing remarks.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?"

Mayor Hampton replied that his priorities would be around economic development, law enforcement in rural areas, and public services.

 

Sorenson invited Mayor Hampton to make a concluding statement.

 

Mayor Hampton said a concern that sitting mayors would not be able to represent the interests of all residents of the East Lane District was baseless.  He said mayors would have no more parochial preferences than any other person living in the District.  He described ways he had been involved in regional concerns and said that he believed he would easily be able to represent the entire district.

 

Sorenson thanked Mayor Hampton for his appearance before the Board and declared a 15 minute recess in the meeting.

 

C.  Candidate Joachim Schulz

Sorenson welcomed Mr. Joachim Schulz, 1511 Bennett Creek Road, Cottage Grove, reviewed guidelines for the interview process, and invited him to make opening remarks.

 

Mr. Schulz said he would not make an opening statement, but would seek to highlight special concerns in a closing statement.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?"

 

Mr. Schulz replied that the River Road/Santa Clara area was not in the East Lane District, but that he believed it would be important for the full Board to work in partnership with residents in the affected areas on a case-by-case basis.  He said each situation should be dealt with on its own merits.  He said he favored a cautious, deliberative decision-making process.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?"

Mr. Schulz replied that he believed it was most important to listen to all sides of a controversy. He said that disagreement was often over details, not basic concepts.  He said urban/rural issues were often divisive and that the Board needed to remain aware of the need of rural areas for economic development and better access to services. 

 

Mr. Schulz said it would be important to look for options that could replace timber as the primary industry of the County.  He said all participants in a disagreement needed to be brought together, patience was important, the higher expense of service in rural areas needed to be considered, and all available Federal and State resource needed to be utilized.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "Do you favor the concept of requiring a 'double majority' vote in annexation questions?"

Mr. Schulz replied that he believed residents in areas proposed for annexation should support the action.

 

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Mr. Schulz.  He asked, "Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other services?

Mr. Schulz replied that he supported the surcharge.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?"

Mr. Schulz replied that he did not support selling the Fairgrounds, unless a “good deal” for it could be made.

 

Sorenson asked, "Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improve regulation enforcement?"

 

Mr. Schulz replied that the Animal Regulation Authority was understaffed and that he supported efforts to make it more effective.

 

Sorenson asked, "If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Com-missioner, would you run for re-election?"

Mr. Schulz replied that he would.

 

Sorenson asked, “What do you believe is the role of the Board of Commissioners in dealing with people and businesses who live or are located outside the city limits but within an urban growth boundary?

 

Mr. Schulz replied that he believed Commissioners should meet with such people and increase their understanding of the situations in which they find themselves.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Oregon Land Use Laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?"

 

Mr. Schulz replied that he did support the laws and that some proposals for it to be changed needed consideration.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Lane County efforts to protect private property from intrusions of excessive noise, air and water pollution?"

 

Mr. Schulz said he supported the efforts.

 

Sorenson asked, “Do you have anything else you wish to say about these questions?”

Mr. Schulz replied that he had nothing to add at this time.

 

Commissioner Green thanked Mr. Schulz for his application for appointment and asked. “What would a “good deal” be that would make selling the Fairgrounds a consideration?”

Mr. Schultz said the Fairgrounds was a major asset of Lane County and that any sale of it should only be considered only if the offer made was beneficial and made moving its activities to another location possible.

 

Commissioner Green described a scenario and asked, "You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?"

Mr. Schulz replied that he would, first of all, become familiar with the details of the situation and seek input from other Commissioners.  He said he would also contact any who were opposed to the proposal for their input.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?"

Mr. Schulz replied that he was not familiar with details of the plan, but supported Lane County’s commitment to diversity.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources - their appropriate use and protection?"

 

Mr. Schultz replied that consideration should be given in such matters about how the County wanted to grow and how it would affect the quality of lives of residents.  He said family wage jobs and protection of the natural environment were both basic needs of the County.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger expressed appreciation for Mr. Schulz having applied for appointment to the position of East Lane Commissioner and asked, "How would you represent the wide diversity of interests of the district?"

Mr. Schultz replied by reviewing his diverse interests, skills, and experience.  He said he was familiar with rural and urban life, the work of nonprofit agencies and the Commission on Children and Families, and complex budgeting processes.  He said he was an idealist with a practical side that was not tied to special interests.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "If you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners, what assurance could you give that your experience as a resident of Cottage Grove did not give you a parochial preference?"

Mr. Schulz replied that it would be his intention to make contacts with representatives of all areas of the East Lane District.  He said acting parochially would be counter productive.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?"

 

Mr. Schulz replied he would proactively emphasize representation of rural interests, what the County could do to support education, and improvements to physical infrastructure, public safety and preservation of the environment.

Sorenson invited Mr. Schulz to make a concluding statement.

 

Mr. Schulz said he was a proponent of the importance of prevention in social services.  He referred to persons who were attending his period of questioning and said it would be important for him to study their concerns.  He said he held no special interests and was committed to upholding the law.

 

Sorenson thanked Mr. Schulz for his answers and presentation.

 

Sorenson stated that Former Commissioner Lininger would make a report of his impressions of the interviews of each candidate for appointment at the September 10 Regular Meeting of the Board.  He suggested that the agenda be altered to allow him to make his presentation immediately following the Public Comment agenda item. 

Former Commissioner Lininger agreed to the request and there appeared to be consensus to adjust the agenda.

 

Sorenson declared that the meeting was adjourned until 1:00 p.m.

 

D.  Candidate Gordon Howard

Sorenson welcomed Mr. Gordon B. Howard, 38055 Lobo Lane, Dexter, reviewed guidelines for the interview process, and invited him to make opening remarks.

Mr. Howard expressed appreciation for being invited to interview for appointment to be East Lane District Commissioner.  He said the most important attribute he brought to the process was accountability.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?"

 

Mr. Howard stated that he was a long-time property owner in the River Road area and had been active in a previous attempt to annex the area to Eugene.  He said the City needed to take the lead in annexation, but needed to avoid giving an impression of arrogance in the process.  He said careful explanation of the costs and benefits should be made.

 

Mr. Howard said annexation processes begun by Coburg and Creswell were clouded by issues related to the Oregon Department of Transportation of which the Board of Commissioners needed to be informed.  He encouraged the Board to support the efforts of the cities.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?"

Mr. Howard replied County Commissioners needed to be in the role of facilitator.  He said it was important that the County not become a “bottleneck” to progress.

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "Do you favor the concept of requiring a 'double majority' vote in annexation questions?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that the question was difficult because the desires of those being annexed and residents of the annexing city both needed to be considered.  He said he believed the burden of making the decision was with a city and that if it did a poor job of presenting the case for annexation, opposition would develop.  He said an exception to his belief that the wishes of both parties should be considered would be if environmental protection issues were involved.  He said, in such a case, regional considerations would need to prevail.

 

Mr. Howard said he supported requiring a “double majority” vote in annexations, but that it was better for support for the effort be decided without a divisive vote.

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "How would you deal with a situation where a professional, business, or public policy advocacy group approached the Board of Commissioners with vested interests?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that he had experience dealing with lobbying efforts and had witnessed the influence of money on political processes.  He said he heartily disapproved of it.  He read a letter that showed his commitment to resolution of differences through mediation.  He said he believed he would be able to work with all members of the Board.

 

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Mr. Howard and asked, "Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other services?

Mr. Howard replied that he supported the surcharge because there had been no other viable option considered by the Legislative Session.

Sorenson asked, "Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that he did not believe it was wise to sell the Fairgrounds because it was self-supporting and was a major investment that would be recovered only over time.  He said he could envision an offer for its purchase that would be beneficial enough to be considered.

 

Sorenson asked, "Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improve regulation enforcement?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that the problems of animal regulation were more complicated than could be solved by increased revenue available through an increase in licensing fees.  He said he supported the licensing of both dogs and cats.

Sorenson asked, "If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Com-missioner, would you run for re-election?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that he continued to have a memento of his previous attempt to be elected Commissioner and would likely run, if he was appointed or not.

 

Sorenson asked, "What do you believe is the role of the Board of Commissioners in dealing with people and businesses who live or are located outside the city limits but within an urban growth boundary?

Mr. Howard replied that he believed the Board of Commissioners had a facilitator role in such situations and needed to remain connected with all of those involved.

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Oregon Land Use Laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?"

 

Mr. Howard stated that he supported the laws and was convinced that they could be improved if changes were made.  He said the system was too complicated for an average person to make them work.

 

Commissioner Green expressed appreciation for Mr. Howard submitting an application for appointment.  He described a scenario and asked, "You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?"

Mr. Howard replied that the role of an individual Commissioner was to get all parties in a dispute together to work out a solution to a problem.  He said he would need to “have a product to sell,” know the issues, and be familiar with the positions of advocates for all sides.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?"

Mr. Howard said he knew that Lane County had such a plan, but was not aware of problems in its implementation.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources - their appropriate use and protection?"

Mr. Howard replied that he would need to identify what uses were viable on a particular property being considered.  He said he would also need to determine how a use would affect adjacent properties and their use.  He said it would be most important to avoid problems by determining what they could be in advance.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger expressed appreciation for Mr. Howard having applied for appointment to the position of East Lane Commissioner and asked, "Where do you currently own property in Lane County?"

Mr. Howard replied that he owned property in Pleasant Hill, Dexter, and the River Road area on River Avenue, in the Florence area, and out of state.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "If you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners, what assurance could you give that your property interests did not give you a parochial preference?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that he was well aware of the possibility of real or potential conflicts of interest.  He said he would remove himself from any consideration that would raise such a question.  He said that he did not know of any such issues that were currently pending in the work of the Board of Commissioners.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, “What is unique about your broad spectrum of interests, in comparison to other candidates for appointment?”

Mr. Howard replied that his background showed he was honest and principled and had a great deal of experience with issues faced by the County.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?"

 

Mr. Howard replied that his highest priorities would be economic development, public safety, and any specific issues of concern to constituents in the East Lane District.

 

Sorenson invited Mr. Howard to make a concluding statement.

 

Mr. Howard said he believed examples of unexplored revenue recovery for Lane County included user fees for recreation vehicle parking and septic tank dump fees.  He said home entrepreneurial businesses should be encouraged to provide jobs needed for the County's economy.  He described his service on the Lane County Planning Commission and said it made him familiar with the broad range of issues faced by the Board.  He said if he was appointed, he would be able to work with all of the sitting commissioners.

 

Sorenson thanked Mr. Howard for his presentation and declared a five minute recess in the meeting.

 

E.  Candidate Martha Roberts

Sorenson welcomed Ms. Martha Roberts, 30112 Hamm Road, Creswell, reviewed guidelines for the interview process, and invited her to make opening remarks.

Ms. Roberts stated that she had spent much time since submitting her application for appointment learning about the workings of Lane County.  She said she had found that the experience of being a County Commissioner would be exciting, challenging, and rewarding.  She said she felt suited for the job and was confident that she would be able to be successful at it.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?"

Ms. Roberts said her first concern about the annexation of the River Road/Santa Clara area was how its residents felt and why there might be opposition to it.  She said she would take the same approach to annexation wherever it was considered.  She said she believed residents in the area to be annexed needed to favor the action.

Commissioner Morrison asked, "How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?"

Ms. Roberts replied that the nature of a situation would determine her approach to resolving a disputed issue.  She said her decision would be influenced by how the largest number involved would be affected.  She said economic development issues needed to be taken into consideration.  She said she had no bias regarding any issue and described her experience with issues faced by the City of Creswell.

 

Commissioner Dwyer expressed appreciation for the interest of Ms. Roberts in being appointed to the Board of Commissioners.  He asked, "Do you favor the concept of requiring a 'double majority' vote in annexation questions?"

Ms. Roberts replied that she did favor such requirements and said she believed annexations needed to be supported by all concerned to be successful.

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "What do you see as the most pressing issues, outside the traditional concerns, that face Lane County?  How can you be beneficial to your constituents?"

Ms. Roberts replied that she believed it would be most important for the residents of her district to be well informed on issues that pertained to them.  She said notices of public meetings should be published in rural area newspapers.  She said broadband/cable access in all areas of the county was important.  She said it was important to bring citizens together around common interests and to encourage citizen involvement.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, “Why do people live in rural areas?”

Ms. Roberts replied that she believed there were many different reasons for choosing a rural lifestyle – the beauty of the out of doors, being able to experience wildlife and vegetation, climate, the other people living there, family ties, lack of traffic congestion, and peace of mind.

 

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Ms. Roberts and asked, "Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other ser-vices?”

 

Ms. Roberts said she supported the surcharge because the current state of the Oregon economy and the plight of public schools required it.

Sorenson asked, "Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?"

 

Ms. Roberts replied that she would be hesitant to sell the Fairgrounds because doing so could negatively affect the future of the County.  She said it was valuable property and would continue to appreciate.  She suggested consideration be given to refurbishing it into a fully developed convention center, possibly including a major hotel.

 

Sorenson asked, "Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improve regulation enforcement?"

Ms. Roberts said she was aware of difficulties caused by having too small a percentage of dogs registered in the County.  She said she was encouraged by recent cooperative efforts to address animal control issues.  She said she supported raising fees to support services of the Animal Regulation Authority.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Oregon Land Use Laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?"

 

Ms. Roberts replied that she supported the laws and that she believed they had stood the test of time well, but that she believed there were changes that should be made.

 

Sorenson asked, "If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Commissioner, would you run for re-election?"

Ms. Roberts said she would run for re-election.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Lane County efforts to protect private property from intrusions of excessive noise, air and water pollution?"

Ms. Roberts said she supported efforts to protect the environment.

 

Commissioner Green described a scenario and asked, "You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?"

Ms. Roberts said in such a situation she would first gather all of the relevant information she could, especially on how it would affect residents.  She said she would work cooperatively with all members of the Board.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?"

 

Ms. Roberts said the plan was posted throughout Lane County facilities and that she was proud of it.  She said she did not believe it was possible to minimize its importance in building cooperation among employees and furthering the goals of the County.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources - their appropriate use and protection?"

 

Ms. Roberts said she believed sustainability of natural resources was most important in their use and protection.  She said it was important to avoid incompatible uses of them.

Former Commissioner Lininger expressed appreciation for Ms. Roberts having applied for appointment to the position of East Lane Commissioner and asked, "How would you take care of the diverse interests of the residents of the East Lane District?  Would your experience as a defense attorney affect your ability to deal with budget concerns of the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office?"

Ms. Roberts replied that she had no biases regarding any issue faced by the Board.  She described her contacts throughout the County and said she was a “global person” who made an effort to see all sides of an issue.  She said she also sought consensus solutions to problems.  She discussed her relationships with representatives of the District Attorney and Sheriff and said she believed she would approach any issue related to them without prejudice.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?"

 

Ms. Roberts said she would concentrate on issues related to public safety and seek to develop better cooperation between law enforcement agencies.  She said she did not support forming a regional police agency.  She said she would also concentrate on ways the County could address school funding problems and rural economic development.

 

Sorenson invited Ms. Roberts to make a concluding statement.

 

Ms. Roberts expressed appreciation for her experience in the appointment process and commended Commissioners for the fair approach.  She said she would be honored to be chosen to fill the position of East Lane District Commissioner.  She said she found the issues faced by the Board to be exciting and believed she had the skills and experience to deal with them.  She said she would work for the entire County, if she was appointed.

 

Sorenson thanked Ms. Roberts for her presentation and declared a five minutes recess in the meeting.

 

F.  Candidate Gary Williams

Sorenson welcomed Mayor Gary L. Williams, 443 South Third Street, Cottage Grove, reviewed guidelines for the interview process, and invited him to make opening remarks.

 

Mayor Williams explained his motivation for seeking appointment to the Board of Commissioners.  He said he liked being Mayor, but that the authority of that office stopped at the city limits, even though decisions that were made affected rural areas.  He said he had visited extensively throughout the East Lane District since submitting his application for appointment.  He said he was committed to seeking consensus in decision making and believed that diplomacy and decency were important attributes for elected leaders.  He said his conciliatory attitudes should not be mistaken for a lack of “toughness” and gave examples of his strong leadership abilities.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?"

 

Mayor Williams replied that his full understanding of issues related to the River Road/Santa Clara annexation was based on what he had learned through the media and that he was reluctant to express an opinion without adequate information.  He said that his experience in Cottage Grove had led him to believe annexations should be based on the desire of residents in the area affected.  He said each situation should be evaluated independently and without bias.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?"

 

Mayor Williams said he believed it would be important to listen to both sides of a disagreement and treat everyone fairly.  He described his experience with such a situation during the expansion of the municipal water system in Cottage Grove.

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "Do you favor the concept of requiring a 'double majority' vote in annexation questions?"

Mayor Williams said he was most sympathetic to the feelings of those being annexed to a city and supported having a decision about it approved through a vote.  He said he believed evidence for annexation needed to be compelling.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "How would you deal with a situation where a professional, business, or public policy advocacy group approached the Board of Commissioners with vested interests?"

Mayor Williams replied that he was able to make difficult decisions without being inappropriately swayed by the efforts of special interests.  He described his experience in creating a Local Improvement District and establishing a City gas tax in Cottage Grove in the face of significant lobbying efforts by persons on both sides of the issues.

 

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Mayor Williams and asked, "Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other services?”

 

Mayor Williams replied that he did not support the surcharge.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?"

Mayor Williams said he did not believe there was any immediate or long-term benefit that would result from selling the Fairgrounds.  He said he also had a nostalgic attachment to it.

 

Sorenson asked, "Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improve regulation enforcement?"

Mayor Williams said he favored raising dog license fees to support work of the Animal Regulation Authority.

 

Sorenson asked, "If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Com-missioner, would you run for re-election?"

 

Mayor Williams said he would run for re-election.

 

Sorenson asked, "What do you believe is the role of the Board of Commissioners in dealing with people and businesses who live or are located outside the city limits but within an urban growth boundary?

 

Mayor Williams said he believed Commissioners should treat all interests fairly.  He said he supported the Oregon concept of urban growth boundaries for cities.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Oregon Land Use Laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?"

Mayor Williams said he supported the laws, but that he believed there was a need for more flexibility in their enforcement.  He said some relaxation of their limitations was needed to support economic development.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Lane County efforts to protect private property from intrusions of excessive noise, air and water pollution?"

Mayor Williams said he supported the efforts and that he believed the work of the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality was beneficial.

 

Sorenson asked, “Do you have any other comments to make?”

Mayor Williams said he would make additional comments in his concluding statement.

 

Commissioner Green expressed appreciation for Mayor Williams' application for appointment.  He described a scenario and asked, "You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?"

 

Mayor Williams said he believed it would be important to assess the merits of any such project, getting as much information about it as possible.  He said he would discuss any project with County staff and other members of the Board.  He said he would do his homework and committed himself to working hard as a member of the Board of Commissioners.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?"

 

Mayor Williams replied that he did not know much about the plan but that he believed diversity in the Lane County work force was an important goal. 

 

Commissioner Green asked, "How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources - their appropriate use and protection?"

 

Mayor Williams said he believed natural beauty and resources were the most valuable assets of Lane County.  He said he did not believe the timber industry would ever return as a dominate economic force and that efforts should be made to manage forests for recreational purposes.  He said such efforts would bring benefits to all areas of the County.  He said he supported harvesting timber on property damaged by fire.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "If you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners, what unique experiences have you had that would enable you to represent the wide diversity of interests in the East Lane District?"

Mayor Williams replied that he had lived in Lane County all of his life.  He said he enjoyed the people of the County and described his experience relating to those of a variety of life-styles.  He said he believed his experience as a mayor was not a liability, but an asset he would bring the Board.  He said he was familiar with issues faced by the Board and that he had a strong desire to take the positive momentum of Cottage Grove and apply it to the rest of Lane County.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, “Can you give assurance that you would be “neutral” if you were appointed and issues related to Cottage Grove were considered?”

 

Mayor Williams replied that he based his decisions on the merits of what was being considered.  He said he was familiar with having to deal with constituent pressure and that his bias was for neutrality.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?"

 

Mayor Williams replied that his highest concerns would be law enforcement, public health, and public safety.  He said he was also concerned about transportation issues, maintenance of infrastructure, and cuts that had been made to social services.

Sorenson invited Mayor Williams to make a concluding statement.

 

Mayor Williams expressed appreciation for being invited to experience the appointment process.  He said he had discovered that his interests paralleled those of Former Commissioner Lininger in committee assignment.  He said he had a record of 99 percent perfect attendance at all meetings related to his civic service and had worked as a community volunteer for seven years.  He thanked Commissioners for their service on the Board.

 

Sorenson thanked Mayor Williams for his presentation and declared a five minutes recess in the meeting.

 

F.  Candidate Al King

Sorenson welcomed Mr. Al King, 36890 Edgehill Road, Springfield, reviewed guidelines for the interview process, and invited him to make opening remarks.

Mr. King said he believed his experience as an elected official made him the most qualified candidate for appointment to the Board of County Commissioners.  He said voters in the East Lane District had twice chosen him to serve in the Oregon Legislature and once on the Springfield School District Board of Education.  He said the voters knew him and that he knew the district and had a record of public service known to all.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "In regard to annexation, do you have any thoughts about annexation of River Road/Santa Clara, and/or about the process of annexation in general and how that ought to be dealt with by the Board?"

 

Mr. King said residents of the River Road/Santa Clara area would not likely support annexation to the City of Eugene, putting an extra burden on Lane County.  He said he believed it was a “legacy” issue that it should have been addressed earlier, but that something would likely happen in the future to force it to be considered.

 

Mr. King said he had helped draft legislation that regulated annexation in Oregon and was familiar with requirements for a city to have a 20 year supply of buildable land within its urban growth boundary.  He said rural economic development issues were important to consider in annexation processes.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked, "How would you deal with a situation within your district resulting from the conflict in interests of metropolitan and rural constituencies?"

 

Mr. King replied that such situations were difficult and that he believed that priorities of economic development were needed.  He said he wanted to do all he could to deal with such situations.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "Do you favor the concept of requiring a 'double majority' vote in annexation questions?"

Mr. King replied that he supported the concept because both those who were being annexed and residents of the annexing city needed to accept the action.  He said the process ensured fair and equitable treatment of all concerned.

 

Mr. King said he did not favor the concept of a “super majority” required for the approval of some revenue measures in Oregon.

 

Commissioner Dwyer asked, "How would you deal with a situation where clients or friends approached the Board of Commissioners with vested interests?"

Mr. King said such situations would be difficult, especially if they were “win-lose” in nature, but that it was the responsibility of Commissioners to be fair to all in their deliberations and decisions.  He said he supported business interests, but that he did not want to “give away the store.”

 

Sorenson listed questions he would ask Mr. King and asked, "Do you support the recently enacted three-year Oregon Income Tax Surcharge to support schools and other services?

 

Mr. King said he supported the surcharge because it was the best answer available to the Legislature. 

 

Mr. King said he believed the State of Oregon should change its fiscal year to provide local jurisdictions with more advanced notice of revenue availability.  He said he also believed issues related to the Public Employees Retirement System needed to be resolved to protect the ability of local jurisdictions to provide services.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you favor selling the Lane County Fairgrounds?"

Mr. King replied that he did not believe consideration should be given to selling the Fairgrounds unless an offer was made that would ensure its relocation and replacement.

 

Sorenson asked, "Are you familiar with the difficulties facing the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority and the Lane County Animal Task Force?  Do you favor raising dog license fees to improvement of regulation enforcement?"

Mr. King replied that he believed additional revenue needed to be produced to support Animal Regulation Authority services.  He suggested that consideration be given to enlisting veterinarians as license fee collection agents.

 

Sorenson asked, "If you are appointed to the position of East Lane District Com-missioner, would you run for re-election?"

Mr. King replied that he would seek re-election.

 

Sorenson asked, "Do you support Oregon Land Use Laws and do you believe there are changes that should be made to them?"

 

Mr. King replied that he supported the laws, but that he believed there were elements that needed revision.

 

Sorenson asked, "What do you believe is the role of the Board of Commissioners in dealing with people and businesses who live or are located outside the city limits but within an urban growth boundary?

 

Mr. King replied that he believed policies were needed to encourage development within urban growth boundaries.  He said if established regulations did not work, ways should be considered to enable development outside the boundaries.

Commissioner Green described a scenario and asked, "You have a project that requires a change in policy/ordinance/funding that requires Board action.  How would you go about achieving success for that project?"

 

Mr. King replied by saying it would be important to consider all stakeholders in such a situation.  He said revenue models and public policies were also involved.  He said he had experience working on such situations with the Board of Commissioners and Oregon Legislature.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "Are you familiar with the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan?"

 

Mr. King replied that he had studied the plan, but would not be able to quote it.  He said he believed it needed “fine tuning,” but that was fair.  He said diversity was an important goal for the County.

 

Commissioner Green asked, "How do you prioritize multiple uses of natural resources - their appropriate use and protection?"

 

Mr. King described his legislative experience with issues related to natural resources.  He said he did not believe rural Oregon would be able to recover economically without the return of the timber industry.  He said he was concerned that if forests in other parts of the world were depleted, pressure would be put on Oregon for renewed use of its resources.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger expressed appreciation for Mr. King applying for appointment and asked, “Are there any special qualifications that enable you to represent the diverse interests of the East Lane District?”

 

Mr. King said that his experience representing the district had given him the opportunity to meet and work with many diverse interests.  He said he had a great deal of experience with forest issues and had a background in financial planning.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, “Will it be possible for you to separate yourself from previous involvements and adopt a Lane County perspective?”

Mr. King replied that he already had such a perspective and discussed his involvement with local issues.

 

Former Commissioner Lininger asked, "What would be your top three issues of concern, if you were appointed to the Board of Commissioners?"

Mr. King replied that he would emphasize economic development, law enforcement, and improving the transportation infrastructure of roads and highways.  He said he was also concerned about support for education.

 

Sorenson invited Mr. King to make a concluding statement.

 

Mr. King described economic development opportunities that he had discovered in a recent trip to China.  He said such opportunities should be treated as “jewels.”

 

Sorenson thanked Mr. King for his presentation and announced that the meeting of the Board would re-convene in Creswell at 7:00 p.m.

 

There being no further business, Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 4:40 p.m.

 

 

 ________________________________

C. Daniel Lindstrom

Recording Secretary