Lane County Oregon is named for the Oregon Territory’s first governor and 1860 Southern Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States, Joseph Lane. by Pat Farr


Joseph Lane, namesake of Lane County Oregon, was John C. Breckinridge’s running mate it the 1860 presidential election against Abraham Lincoln.  They received 72 electoral votes to Lincoln’s 180 and the southern states subsequently seceded from the Union.

On Facebook, June 18, a Lane County resident asks, “Pat Farr, just read the Lane County name change idea and the article seems to indicate that you are behind this idea. Are you?

Thank you for asking this question.  It is a good one.  You ask, am I behind the idea of changing the name of Lane County?

What I am behind is listening to what people ask for and letting them know that they have been heard.  If I don’t do that I will be remembered not for my actions and decisions but for my deaf ear.  What I have called for is a thoughtful and factual, facilitated community discussion about the history of the naming of Lane County and the man for whom it was named.  I think the KVAL TV News reporter and camera operator captured that in their report on June 18, 2020.  If I choose to ignore the call it will not go away, it will continue to grow louder.

Recently Debi’s and my youngest child changed their name from the name we had given them at birth. We supported that because we listened to the reasons and we knew it was the right thing to do.

Will I support changing the name of Lane County?  Yes, if it’s the right thing to do after the reasons for and against doing it are weighed.  No if it isn’t.  And after paying attention to the reasonable discussion I know I will not be alone in my support or opposition.

In answer to the question, am I behind the idea of the discussion?  Yes, along with a unanimous Board of Lane County Commissioners.

I have lived in Lane County for nearly a half-century and I love the beauty of this place that stretches from the Pacific waves to Waldo Lake and the slopes of the Three Sisters volcanoes…

Tall spruce trees in Honeyman State Park, Lane County

Heceta Head Lighthouse in Lane County is the most photographed view on the west coast of the USA…

The west slopes of the Three Sisters Volcanoes are in Lane County

Historic McKenzie Pass highway, Lane County, is the gateway to a world of experiences

A lonely mountain highway framing Diamond Peak near Waldo Lake , Lane County

Joseph Lane (1801-1881)  was the first governor of Oregon Territory. A leading Democrat, he was a U.S. senator and candidate for vice president in 1860. Fiercely independent and ambitious for personal political power, Lane was a successful advocate of his constituents’ interests and an outspoken and controversial defender of slavery.


Senate Housing Committee Pat Farr testimony June 5 2020. by Pat Farr

Senate Housing Comittee virtual meeting June 5, 2020

Chair Fagan, Committee, thank you conducting this public hearing. I am Pat Farr, Lane County Commissioner, North Eugene and former State Representative HD 14. I was Executive Director of FOOD for Lane County for three years. My pronouns are he and his

I am going to give positive news in a tiny snapshot about opportunities that have allowed Lane County to mover forward with our long-term strategies surrounding housing and homelessness. Lane County has developed strong partnerships with adjacent jurisdictions and nonprofits. You have heard from John Van Landingham, Emily Reiman and Jacob Fox, all of whom are significant partners in Lane County efforts.

Lane County’s Health and Human Services divisions began work early in the outset of the COVID 19 spread on the west coast. We are a county that is constrained by the fourth lowest tax rate of all counties in Oregon and the second highest acreage of land owned by the Federal Government. Over the past six years we have paid attention to building strong reserves and a structurally balanced budget

Which allowed the Board of Commissioners at the COVID outset to authorize the County Administrator to spend up to $5,000,000 without separate Board approval to respond to the health and human service needs of the pandemic. The $5m has been drawn from Lane County reserves and we are confident in state and federal assistance to help cover replacement of the reserves.

We have a history of working closely with our partner jurisdictions, the cities of Springfield and Eugene, with Homes for Good as well as our unusually strong coalition of local nonprofit agencies to address needs surrounding poverty and homelessness. Our already-in-place team structure allowed us to act quickly.

Lane County, like other west coast counties, has a high proportion of men and women and families living in homelessness or in housing challenged conditions.

We have been considering sites to locate low barrier shelters and have worked toward that end.

In April one of the sites became a clear choice to be utilized as a temporary respite for people displaying symptoms or actually having been diagnosed with COVID-19.

We spent $1.8 million out of reserves to purchase the former VA Clinic on River Avenue in my district with a very short turn around. This is how it happened: On Sunday a small group of county officials joined the property owners and listing agents along with me, Senator James Manning and Rep Nancy Nathanson to look at the building. It has separate sleeping and sanitary accommodations for a large number of private suites. Steve Mokrohisky acted quickly and prepared a Board Order authorizing the real estate transaction for Lane County to buy the propery at the regular Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday. It took only three days to authorize purchase.

With extensive help from the Corps of Engineers, acting with FEMA authority we fast-tracked renovation and had the facility ready to house as many as 36 patients in separate accommodations within three weeks.

That facility is open now and available for COVID-19 respite.

After the COVID emergency the building will be repurposed as a low barrier shelter and navigation center designed, equipped and staffed to deliver people from homelessness into permanent supportive housing.

On another level, Lane County quickly acted to open a portion of our Fairgrounds and Expo Center to accommodate up to 140 non-symptomatic unhoused people and in a separate building as many as 20 symptomatic quarantined individuals. We also funded a smaller facility in Springfield to house up to 30 individuals who were non symptomatic.

Last week the Board of Commissioners authorized transfer of a portion of our fairgrounds to Homes for Good to develop permanent supportive housing for families, typically single mothers with children. That is coupled with our facility that is under way on Lane County Property adjacent to Autzen Stadium, MLK Commons, that will have 51 housing first apartments with 24-hour wrap around service.

In summary, Lane County is able to move with haste because of the strong partnerships that have been developed with adjacent jurisdictions, private business and nonprofit agencies. We have a long-standing intergovernmental human services commission and a Poverty and Homelessness Board to coordinate application and distribution of grants including the Continuum of Care grant.

Lane County can and must help bring about permanent binding solutions for racism. by Pat Farr

Lane County Must Step Forward Now


On June 2, 2020, during its morning meeting the Lane County, Oregon Board of County Commissioners discussed events surrounding the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis and others before him who suffered similar fate. 

The Minneapolis police officer has been charged with murder.

We discussed racism, brutality and oppression.

We are at a point in history where Lane County Government can help bring about permanent and binding solutions.  We’re at a point where there is focused attention on racism, brutality and oppression and we can be a part of that focus and deliver permanent solutions.

Lane County’s Equity and Access Board meets June 3 2020 at 5:30 pm

Staff has been called to work with the Lane County Equity and Access Board immediately, June 3 2020, to draft a resolution for consideration on Tuesday  June 9 by the Lane County Board of Commissioners as a board order.      Agenda and website here

The resolution and board order will:

  • Recognize this moment in time as one where we have a choice to make as an agency and community
  • Have actionable items for Lane County to perform
  • Not focus on rioting or property damage

The call for immediate action has unanimous support from the Board of County Commissioners.  Administrator Steve Mokrohisky will work with Lane County Equity and Access Coordinator Mo Young, chief staff for the Lane County Equity and Access Board, which will discuss and draft the resolution and board order for consideration by the Board of Commissioners on June 9.

I won my election by a huge margin, but…by Pat Farr

I won my election by a huge margin last night but this isn’t a time for celebration

Life for most of us will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good

Look around.  We are in disarray.
People are broke…
People are scared…
People are worried about the future.

But our sleeves are already rolled up and we already have plans in place
We need to get people back to work.
We need to get customers back in stores and restaurants.
We need to get our students back in schools and colleges.
And we need to give people confidence that they can be safe.

We have issued guidelines to keep people healthy,
There’s merchandise on the shelf ready to sell and buy,
There’s food in the kitchen ready to serve and eat.

If we follow the guidelines we have issued, we will prevent a new wave of virus and we can all shop and eat and travel with confidence…

At  the same time we will continue to give homeless people more safe places to sleep and make sure renters aren’t kicked out of their homes…
And  we can get our kids back in schools and colleges.

Life for most will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good.  Together we can do it.  Lane County can do it…

Lane County Commissioners are meeting via remote access. by Pat Farr

Not missing a moment of valuable public meeting time the Lane County Board of Commissioners is conducting its meetins via remote access.

My home office during a live Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting


The Board is addressing a full regular agenda (here) while allowing for live public comment and full presentations by staff and nonstaff experts.

Follow the link to see the full agenda and access the entire board packet discussed during the meeting.

Lane County Staff, including Diana Jones and Michael Finch, have worked long and hard to allow full public participation in these live meetings.

COVID-19 Update April 4, 2020. by Pat Farr

Lane County.  See the latest testing, resource and patient INFORMATION HERE
● Eugene Chamber releases small business owner’s guide to the CARES Act; FAQs on tax
implications and resources are available through the federal government.
● LTD now fare free, service reductions continue

● University of Oregon President takes a 12% pay cut, cannot rule out layoffs and pay cuts for staff
● Eugene Airport passenger travel down 90%
● As of 4/3 10:00 a.m., the Expo Hall at Fairgrounds shelter has housed 118 people today. Wheeler Pavilion, the shelter for mildly ill, has housed 0 people, and Springfield
Memorial Building has housed 29 people.
● There were 134 calls answered by the call center during operating hours on 4/2.
o About 37% were transferred to the Nurse Line to discuss exposures/symptoms.
○ Themes included: symptoms, potential exposures and business complaints. There was an increase in calls from employers who need advice on how to respond to
employees who state they were in close contact with a positive or sick person.


  • 809 tests conducted for Lane County residents (including private labs)
    • This number is likely below the actual number of tests conducted. Private labs are processing tests from Lane County residents and there is variability in reporting of negative results. Lane County Public Health is being notified of any positive test results.
  • 24 positive test results for Lane County (presumptive cases)
  • 1 death in Lane County due to suspected Coronavirus infection


Oregon Situation
● Oregon Search and Rescue capacity constrained to “loss of life” missions only, per an Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) report
● Jackson County Public Health requests residents to wear face coverings outdoors. This is based on recent information that people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic may be spreading the virus to people and not know it.
● OLCC released a resource guide for distilleries/breweries producing hand sanitizer;
available on OLCC website
● Portland-area hospitals report 57 healthcare staff have contracted COVID-19.
● First Oregon prison inmate tests positive for COVID-19 at Salem’s Santiam Correctional
● Oregon DOJ has sent 17 cease and desist letters to OR businesses suspected of price gouging; 125 reports taken via hotline and DOJ website
● Oregon Nurses Association notes no hospitals statewide have more than a 7 day supply of PPE remaining.
● Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) has received multiple reports of fraudulent activity. The activity includes people showing up at job sites and pretending to be division compliance officers. The fraudsters attempt to issue thousands of dollars in fines and demand immediate cash payments. This is not how OSHA operates.

Source Lane County Public Health, Lane County Oregon, Eugene Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Update April 3, 2020. by Pat Farr

Lane County  See the latest testing, resource and patient  INFORMATION HERE
● There were no new cases announced 4/2. One positive announced late in the day on 4/1,
thought to be a Lane County resident, has been determined to be a Douglas County case.
The total number of positives remains 20 in Lane County. Public Health nurses are
conducting contact tracing for multiple patients.

● Eugene-Springfield 911 callers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms by dispatchers.
Responders will meet symptomatic patients outside the home, or respond in full
protective gear.
● In partnership with Lane County, FOOD for Lane County is coordinating with several
local restaurants to provide food for the two respite shelters for the unhoused.
● As of 4/2 9:00 a.m., the Expo Hall at Fairgrounds shelter has housed 140 people today.
Wheeler Pavilion, the shelter for mildly ill, has housed 1 person, and Springfield
Memorial Building has housed 27 people.
● EOC is working with hospitals to ensure that HOSCAP data is consistent across hospitals
● There were 200 calls answered by the call center during operating hours on 4/1.
o About 33% were transferred to the Nurse Line to discuss exposures/symptoms.
o More calls with heightened frustrations, particularly about businesses and settings
where social distancing does not seem to be observed.

Oregon Situation
● New COVID-19 epidemic trend projections and health system needs for Oregon released
here indicates that measures currently in place are reducing transmission.


● Oregon Board of Pharmacy amended a rule on 4/1 to allow malaria drug
hydroxychloroquine to be used to treat confirmed COVID-19 cases in long-term care
facilities and prisons.
● OHA amended a rule on 3/30 to include reporting within 24 hours of individuals with
COVID-19 who are hospitalized and of deaths from COVID-19.
● The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released updated Interim Investigative Guidelines:
4/1 Updated Guidelines for COVID-19
● OHA is working with CMS on removing barriers for Oregonians to qualify for, enroll in,
and stay enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Nearly 1in 4 Oregonians currently
receives health coverage through OHP.
● There have been 21 deaths in Oregon from COVID-19 as of 4/2.
Lane County
● There were no new cases announced 4/2. One positive announced late in the day on 4/1,
thought to be a Lane County resident, has been determined to be a Douglas County case.
The total number of positives remains 20 in Lane County. Public Health nurses are
conducting contact tracing for multiple patients.

Source:  Lane County Public Health, Lane County OR


Lane County will open a 20,000 sq ft medical services building for COVID-19 cases. by Pat Farr


Lane County Board of Commissioners unanimously supported my motion to buy a former VA Clinic and immediately prepare and open it to treat /COVID-19 patients.

NEW LANE COUNTY COVID-19 RESPONSE FACLITY will open in former VA Clinic in North Eugene

A facility capable of being used for providing medical services is urgently needed as part of the County’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This building is planned to provide non-congregate shelter, as an alternative to providing private hotel rooms for unhoused individuals who have been determined to meet the criteria for being tested for COVID-19, but who do not need to be admitted to a hospital. The County will be able to house individuals in isolation at this facility until such time as their test results are negative or until they have gone 72 hours, without the aid of medication, with no fever or cough. Additionally, this building will provide discharge capacity for unhoused individuals coming out of a hospital to enable maximum capacity in the area hospitals.

Funds for the purchase of the building and preparation of the facility will be drawn from the General Fund’s ‘service stabilization reserve.’ The County will apply for reimbursement of the costs for this facility from state and federal sources.

Lane County has opened two emergency sheltering locations for people who are unhoused and need a place to “stay home, save lives,” per Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-12 dated March 23, 2020. This space provides people with a place to sleep as well as access to basic needs they are accustomed to locating elsewhere in the community but can no longer receive because of COVID-19-related closures. The county also opened one congregate shelter site that provides care for people who are mildly symptomatic to separate them from the general population in the emergency “stay home” shelters and encampments.

A. ORDER 20-03-31-10/ In the Matter of Purchasing Property at 100 River Avenue for $1,800,000 for Use in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency, and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute Documents Necessary to Complete the Purchase and Prepare the Facility.  Moved by Farr, seconded by Sorenson, passes unanimously.
See full description of agenda item here

COVID-19 Lane County Update March 27, 2020. by Pat Farr

March 27, 2020 2:30PM (most recent information here)
● There have been 12 deaths in Oregon from COVID-19.
● Oregon health centers receive nearly $1.9 M from HHS to help with coronavirus
● OR Department of Education is working on student mental health initiatives in response
to COVID-19 and school closures, such as collaborating with LinesForLife for remote
risk assessments and safety planning for schools. They have created guidance and
resources for schools and families located here.
● – new resource to register for tracking/coordination of
donations of private resources
● PPE stock continues to be strained across the state and nation, and in Oregon. The
projected patient influx will cause significant shortage. There is a forecasted blood supply
shortage due to reduced donation. Current state mortuary capacity is stable.
Lane County:

LANE COUNTY Cases as of 3/27/2020 3:20AM
Confirmed 9
Negative Test Result 432
Deaths 1

● Weekend EOC hours will be from 10am-2pm; Call Center from 8am-8pm
● New case announced 3/27, bringing total to 9 in Lane County.
● First emergency respite center open in the Expo Hall at fairground, 118 served on 3/26 &
113 served as of 4:40pm today; Wheeler Pavilion will be a shelter for mildly ill;
Operations continues to secure transportation, care, food, locations for people awaiting
results and is facing challenges with hotels.
o Second respite shelter in Springfield will open Saturday night
● We are working with hospitals to begin tracking ED/ICU beds, COVID-19 admits,
COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and supplies of PPE and ventilators.
● Impacted County services are now listed on the Lane County Government website.
● Staff are experiencing technical difficulties with Orpheus for electronic lab results (due to
# of users, # of lab records, etc.)
● There is now a standardized messaging and enforcement process for non-compliant
business operations. Call Center can now record business complaints by region (Eug,
Spfld, Rural). At the end of every day, ESF-18 will export the list to the appropriate
jurisdictions for enforcement.
● Admin has begun preparing FEMA reimbursements.
● JIC has new staff; has moved to Charnelton 471 (computer training room). Currently
working with Logistics to secure Spanish translation of press briefings.
● Over the past 2 days, Call Center volume continues to decrease (239 calls Thursday, 22%
went to nurses); provider call turnout and duration has decreased; number of inquiries
about business concerns has decreased as well.

Lane County Climate Action Plan. by Pat Farr


Tall spruce trees in Lane County

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of clean fuels, public transit, cycling, alternative energy, technology enhancements, and higher efficiency vehicles and facilities has positive impacts on community health and will have positive impacts on Lane County’s economy.

Lane County is beginning the first phase of a three-phased approach to the development of the Climate Action Plan.

The Climate Action Plan will encompass:

Conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and develop an internal plan (Climate Action Plan-Phase1) for county operations to establish greenhous gas reduction targets and implementation plans to meet County targets.

Developing a comprehensive countywide plan (Climate Action Plan-Phase 2) with community engagement to outline aggressive goals and strategies, aligned in partnership with city climate actions, to establish countywide community targes and high priority areas of action.

Developing a resiliency plan (Climate Action Plan-Phase 3) to identify adaptation strategies to mitigate the risks and impacts of climate change anticipated for Lane County.

Developing Action Initiatives supporting green jobs, clean energy projects and climate-friendly industries in Lane County.

Providing open and transparent public communications to monitor and evaluate progress toward climate action goals.

Lane County is in the process of establishing a Climate Advisory Committee to provide recommendations and advise the Board of Commissioners on the County’s ongoing climate action work.

See links to Board of Commissioners meetings on the Lane County Climate Action Plan Here