BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
July 21, 2004
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bobby Green presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Don Hampton and Peter Sorenson present. Anna Morrison was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Item 7. C. 2) pulled. Item 5. a. presented by Rob Rockstroh. Green indicated that Morrison was on her way home from Phoenix and was excused. Sorenson wanted to put on the agenda the item raised about the letter from the County Administrator to Springfield about the jail. Wilson indicated the Board received supplemental material about the library proposal.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
John Large, stated he is the owner of Willamette Valley Pump, Springfield. He distributed information. (Copy in file). He said he has been in the industry since 1968. He noted in 1995 the Oregon Water Resource adopted pump test requirements for Oregon groundwater holders and the new law was enacted in 1987 by the legislature and was a source for water rights. He indicated pump tests for domestic wells and stock wells are exempt. He said in 1989 the legislature enacted ORS 537.769 which provides that groundwater protection is a matter of statewide concern. He said no ordinance, order or regulation shall be adopted by a local government to regulate the inspection of wells, construction of wells subject to regulation by the water resource commission. He said in the summer of 2001 he received a call to conduct an aquifer test required by the County on a domestic well. He called Dwyer at that time who set up a meeting with him, Kent Howe, Ralph Christensen and the water master. He said that Lane County is requiring aquifer tests on domestic wells.
Dwyer asked what relief he was seeking from the Board.
Large responded that they are asking to be exempt in Lane County because the water aquifer test on domestic wells is impossible to do.
Janet Calvert, League of Women Voters, commented the League of Women Voters of Lane County continues its opposition to the proposal to build a 900-megawatt gas power plant north of Coburg. She said their primary concern is deterioration of air quality and the eventual build-out generating capacity that far exceeds future energy needs in the region. They urged the Board to carefully identify the County’s significant applicable land use criteria siting by the Energy Siting Council. She said they recognize that a thorough response to the application will be costly. She thought the research was necessary before the County issues any needed permits. She commented that it was a complex and sensitive issue. She said the permitting process of the Energy Siting Council does not encourage citizen input and the League appreciates the Board of Commissioner’s willingness to continue dialogue about the proposed power plant with all concerned individuals and groups. She said they are anxious to participate in any further discussions about the issue before the proposal moves forward.
Sorenson thought it was important to get this on the Board’s agenda, as the Energy Facility Siting Council was going ahead without their input.
Jim and Adele Varco, said he and his wife are in financial ruins and they are losing their home. He stated that Lane County played a significant role in that. He said they had a house built and spent money for permit fees and were supposed to have the house inspected by the County. He commented the inspections were a joke. He said the inspector approved everything their builder did. He said the County required, as part of the approval process, that part of their house be engineered and that took place. He said the builder ignored it, and the inspector passed it knowing the engineering wasn’t done. He said that later the County required them to fix it at great expense. He noted that numerous code violations were allowed to pass, many of which had to be fixed later at their expense. He said the entire burden was put on them. He added the County issued them a final inspection and it met all code requirements of the approved plans. He said once they brought it to the County, there was an issue. He said the County revoked the final, which forced them to spend a considerable amount of money fixing things that should never have had to be addressed. He said the County issued a second final and then they (the Varcos) had the Oregon Building Code Division come in and do an inspection. They determined that they still have serious structural issues with the house. He noted a report issued in early June said the County needs to pay attention to what they are saying and that had not happened. He said they have had no contact from the County. He said a County building official said they should make the repairs at their expense. He said they had an independent inspection done that revealed other code violations. He said the County didn’t deny it was negligent in their inspections. He asked that they have the inspections done and made whole as much as possible.
David Monk, Director of Oregon Toxic Lines, said the reason they came today is that they are concerned that the Facility Siting Council will go around the Board if the Board doesn’t participate. He encouraged the Board to initiate the process and to get it on the agenda as quickly as possible. He thought the Board could start to identify some issues regarding the applicable criteria.
Dale Parsons, Eugene, said she is a member of the Lane County Audubon Society. She said they want to be part of the dialogue opposing the siting of the power plant.
Pat Bitner, Eugene, said she is conservation chair of Lane County Audubon Society. She opposed the Coburg Power Plant. She asked the Board to proceed so the public will have input.
Jonathan Manton, Eugene, was concerned about the Board taking an active role in the decision-making process regarding the power plant. He said public health and economy would be affected.
Lisa Arkin, Eugene, discussed the problems the City of Turner had with the same type of issue. She cautioned Land Management and the Board of Commissioners not to wait for a completed application as they might not get it, but move forward with public hearings and a thorough review of all the information they currently have.
Green wanted to find a similar case where the evidence showed that approach was beneficial and they were able to curtail the plant.
Kess Hottle, Eugene, said he has been a Master Recycler and a member of the Resource Recovery Advisory Committee. He read a resolution from the committee that had recently passed. He said they want to add to their work plan and development guidelines so they could publicize it in the community and encourage alternatives.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Hampton said the Board received an e-mail about the Regional Investment Board contract and how it suddenly went from item 18 on OECDD Review’s list to item number 1. He suggested not sending a letter as they had proposed last time.
a. ORDER 04-7-21-1/In the Matter of Proclaiming the Week of July 18-24 as Probation, Parole, and Community Supervision Week.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 04-7-21-1.
Green read the order into the record.
Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
b. ORDER 04-7-21-2/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 3 of the Lane Manual to Add the Positions of the Eugene and Springfield Police Chiefs to the Public Safety Coordinating Council (PSCC) and Approving a Corresponding Bylaws Change (Lane Manual 3.522).
Green recognized that on the PSCC they did not have both Eugene and Springfield Police Chiefs on the committee. He said that Jerry Smith had been coming to meetings. He said they are requesting the change to appoint Rob Lehner.
Sorenson thought involving the public and leadership in the PSCC was a good idea. He said the memo that lays out who is on the PSCC and what it does has to plan for services involving prevention treatment, education, employment resources, intervention strategies and coordination of local criminal justice policies. He said they downsized the PSCC and took off a number of people whose functions were in prevention, education and employment. He said if they are going to expand this to include a police chief, then they should leave it the way it is and not add another police chief. He was concerned that if they added another police chief they would be out of balance. He was also concerned about rural and urban splits.
Van Vactor said that Jerry Smith was elected by all of the police chiefs. He said the discussion at the PSCC is trying to deal with how things are going through the public criminal justice system. The reality is when they don’t have a representative from the largest police department in the criminal justice system at the table it is difficult to have those conversations. He noted there are still citizen members, along with the mental health director and public health manager.
Dwyer concurred with Sorenson. He said they worked hard to reduce the size of the committee and now they are increasing it. He asked why they had to add police chiefs.
Sorenson commented the representation by the municipal police departments on the PSCC is addressed by the policy they adopted when they downsized the group. He said the policy is that the police chiefs received one voting member and there is no prohibition for every police officer for a municipality to come to. He said if it is essential to add a police chief, they should take off someone else. He said to add a police chief would change the balance of the policies that emerge. He didn’t want to add another police chief. He didn’t think they were doing enough about intervention or prevention.
Dwyer didn’t want to add another position. He thought the group was balanced and there was a collective voice for the police chiefs.
Van Vactor disagreed. He said they struggled all year long and had four difficult meetings. He said if police chiefs are not at the table, they have an incomplete discussion.
Green said they could roll this and take it back to PSCC and indicate the Board wasn’t interested.
Van Vactor commented that key people in the public safety system need to be on the committee. He added they could modify it to make the position a non-voting.
Sorenson said three police chiefs could outvote a mayor of a city and two commissioners which represent 140,000.
Green noted final authority rests with the Board of Commissioners.
Dwyer said they could bring it back and make the second police chief a non-voting participating member.
Sorenson recommended making all law enforcement people non-voting.
Green pulled the item.
7. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes: None.
B. Children and Families
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 04-7-21-3/In the Matter of Designating the Lane County Success by 6 Leadership Team as the Local Council for the Purposes of Applying for a Discretionary Grant Under the Early Learning Opportunities Act (ELOA) Program.
C. Public Works
1) ORDER 04-7-21-4/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract to Peterson Machinery Co., in the Amount of $628,408.00, for the Purchase of One (1), New Landfill Compactor, Contract FY04/05 FS-02.
2) ORDER 04-7-21-5/In the Matter of Awarding a Requirements Contract to Philip Services Corporation for Hazardous Waste Disposal Services in an Estimated Amount of $71,000, and Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute the Contract (WM 04/05-6).
3) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 04-7-21-6/In the Matter of Authorizing a Sheriff's Sale of Surplus County-Owned Real Property Identified as Assessor's Map 18-03-11-30, Tax Lot 1800, Located at 88660 McVay Highway.
D. Workforce Partnership
1) ORDER 04-7-21-7/In the Matter of Appointing a Member to the Lane Workforce Partnership Youth Council.
MOTION: to approve the balance of the Consent Calendar with item 7. C. 2) pulled.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
8. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
a. ORDER 04-7-21-8/In the Matter of Approving the Addition of a 1.0 FTE Limited Duration Deputy District Attorney 1 (DDA1) Position in the District Attorney's Office August 1, 2004 Through June 30, 2005.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 04-7-21-8.
Dwyer MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.
b. DISCUSSION/District Attorney's Office.
Green thanked Alex Gardner, District Attorney, for his communication on a consistent basis and for his willingness in engaging the Board in what they perceive to be responsibilities for the next six months.
Gardner commented that he has found all participants in the system to be very cooperative and good to work with. He had been trying to emphasize solutions that are win-win scenarios and might not be as favorable as they would have been a few years ago when they had more money. He said he had been working with Parole and Probation and the other components of law enforcement and the treatment environment to try to find those. He had tried to solicit feedback from the public to see where the priorities lie. He said they are making headway.
Green asked what crimes would not be prosecuted.
Gardner said he originally encouraged participation from not just the print media but also the television media and wanted to get the question as widely disbursed as he could. He believed some communication with the public was better than none. He realized the request for public input was imperfect but better than nothing. He said if they weren’t able to accomplish his objectives, it would heighten awareness and encourage participation from the public and that is what they need. With regard to the crimes they are not going to prosecute, he said the general areas are those that were identified in the paper, areas subject to reduced prosecution. He said they would be able to do most of those things. He said the intention is to get the feedback and the value of the poll in the paper is proportionate to the weighting of the data it produces. His intention is to bring the data to the Board and to involve human resources and the law enforcement community to come up with a plan that won’t forfeit community correction dollars two years down the line. He said it is his intention to implement a violations program of some type.
Green asked Gardner how he would respond to some of the assertions to the Springfield City Council and their disappointment and failure of the District Attorney’s office not to prosecute crime. He said they were willing to add a jail and a prosecution court.
Gardner said they had published the information they had access to. He said they have control over what they do in the City of Springfield. He said they were frustrated with inability to control the creation of a larger system at the County level. He said they have the opportunity to ask Springfield if they were willing to increase their tax base as necessary to fund those items. He said if everyone in Lane County were willing to undertake the increase in tax base being proposed in Springfield, they would be back to a status quo budget.
Green asked how the next six-month period would be different from the previous years.
Gardner said he would do his best. He said he is open to a violations policy that will affect not just the contact from their office, it would reduce the failure to appear costs. He noted they have a bad check problem in Lane County that is substantial and they have not been effective in recovering money from the merchants. He said he is working on that problem. He said he would be implementing a program to negotiate bad check cases and there would also be forgeries that would be picked up. He said the City of Springfield has adopted the State Criminal Code and the City of Eugene has not. He added that some of the cases they are not currently prosecuting couldn’t be prosecuted by the City of Eugene. He said the City of Eugene needs to adopt the State Code to fund the prosecution, ignore those offenses or to work out a cooperative solution with the District Attorney’s office. He hoped that because of the efficiencies in their office and the economy of scale they would be able to handle the crimes in Eugene and throughout Lane County with Eugene’s financial response on an intergovernmental contract.
Gardner indicated they took a senior lawyer and put her in charge of the misdemeanor division so they could make more critical intake decisions to assist the junior lawyers in prosecuting more volume. He said that Lane County’s District Attorney’s staffing level (by national standards) is low for their case volume. He added they have agreed to stop filing a large block of probation violations. He said it had adversely affected Linda Eaton’s ability to do her job. He said he is making those changes and trying to find a cooperative solution.
Green commented that they were sending the message that it was okay to do crime in Lane County due to the lack of resources.
Gardner responded that it was not okay to do crime in Lane County. He added that crimes of violence would be their highest priority. He believes that the most important cases involve people who are violent and harmful to the community. He said that is one of the reasons they have to review how they handle lower level offenses. He didn’t want the criminal population to think they could pick and choose crimes that are not going to be handled aggressively in Lane County. He said the intention is to get the feedback and collaborate to form a policy that would be effective and a discretionary component that would allow District Attorneys to look at particular cases.
9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Green said that Marilyn Mays attended the national convention of the NAACP and she brought back tee shirts for the Board.
Dwyer said on Friday in Salem they are selecting the replacement for Bob Cantine.
Hampton announced the Blackberry Festival is taking place in Lowell.
11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To take place after the meeting.
12. COMMISSIONERS’ BUSINESS
Dwyer said he asked the Sheriff and Captain Clague to prepare for him credentials, real operating costs and staffing ratios so he would have an idea of what the true cost of operating the jail would be. He wanted cost effective government to be able to maximize returns to the citizens in terms of safety and dollars. He wanted Board approval to ask Captain Clague those questions.
MOTION: to move to ask the Sheriff to answer the questions that Dwyer posed and to come back to the Board with a presentation of the results so the Board could be more informed.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Hampton wanted the Sheriff to comment that the course the City of Springfield was taking is going to reduce crime.
Van Vactor indicated at agenda setting, Green and Hampton suggested they draft a letter for the chair’s signature that would be a request that Springfield withhold any action until they could present the issue to the Public Safety Coordinating Council on August 26. He suggested having that letter on next week’s agenda. He agreed that a two-year vision with regard to Springfield is the issue they want to address. He said they should give serious consideration to a public safety district in 2006, where they might have a countywide solution. He encouraged including in the letter a statement that Lane County is trying to move forward to solve the problems, and a short-term solution would be more preferable to a long-term commitment to the jail.
With regard to the water pump test, Dwyer said the law is clear on what is required and what is exempt. He wanted to have Land Management explain what the middle ground would be where they could save taxpayers money in doing things that are not required by law.
With regard to the Energy Siting Council, Dwyer said they need to assert some type of authority.
Sorenson suggested that this item be referred to the agenda team with the idea that they would try to hear this on August 4. He said they need some time for Land Management and legal counsel to be brought up to speed on this matter and then come to the Board to have a work session on the alternatives. He said they don’t want to have their dismissive attitude be the status quo.
Hampton said they have to respond immediately and he suggested telling the governor that the system is not right.
Dwyer commented there is a conflict because the Energy Facility Siting Council’s role is to site a facility, not to site facilities. He said the burden falls on the local government to show why siting the facility in those particular places would be against the public interest.
Green said Lane County’s role is limited but they don’t have to be ignored.
Lane Library League
Green indicated there was a request by the Lane Library League for individual commissioners to submit letters of support. He suggested they could have a Board letter on letterhead with his signature. He said that the Board of Commissioners supports LCOG and the Lane Library League to expand and improve library services to the 87,000 Lane County residents who lack access.
MOTION: to move to send a letter to the Lane Library League.
Sorenson MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.
Wilson indicated that next week the Board would be considering placing a measure on the ballot with final action on the formation of the Lane Library District.
There being no further business, Commissioner Green recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 11:40 a.m.