Thanks for the spark, Jack Roberts. by Pat Farr


I was watching the 1994 elections very closely.  A County Commissioner who had been instrumental in helping Jerry’s Home Improvement Center with a tiny urban growth boundary change that allowed us to build our first large store in West Eugene was running for State Labor Commissioner.

Jack Roberts, previously Lane County Commissioner and then Oregon Labor Commissioner  was an effective Director for Lane Metro Partnership

Jack Roberts, previously Lane County Commissioner and then Oregon Labor Commissioner was an effective Director for Lane Metro Partnership.  He now serves as head of the Oregon Lottery Commission

Jack Roberts had made the arguments, in a joint meeting with the Eugene City Council, that it was good for local business and the economy to make the adjustment.  It happened.

Not long after the newly approved Jerry’s Store was opened Debi Farr talked me into running for the Bethel School Board.  I won.  It was right after that victory that I watched Jack Robert’s great victory in his bid for Labor Commissioner.

When Roberts was elected, the balance of the County Commissioners selected my City Councilor, Bobby Green, to replace him on the Board of Commissioners.

Then came the phone calls to me.  Would I consider replacing Bobby Green on the Eugene City Council.  I said no, but many calls and discussions with many people convinced me to do so.  And I won.

Eight years later Majority Leader Karen Minnis, later Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, called me to ask if I would run for the House seat in District 14.  Once again I said no, but was worn down by many phone calls and discussions.  I won that, as well.

Today I sit in what was Jack Roberts’ and subsequently Bobby Green’s seat on the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

So, thank you Jack Roberts for your initial spark.

Jack served admirably as Oregon Labor Commissioner for eight years, then led the Lane County Metro Partnership through many years of catalyzing the local economy.  Now he is serving, once again, admirably, as the Oregon Lottery Commission Director.

Drought in Lane County? by Pat Farr


Go here to view Lane County Board of Commissioners Agendas and accompanying materials (dated from current back to 2003) provided for deliberation.  (go here  for a guide on how to navigate)

The Lane County Board of Commissioners, after hearing testimony from staff and the State Water Authority has asked the Governor of Oregon to allow for certain provisions in the event of further deepening of the drought occurring currently in Lane County.

While the flow of the McKenzie River, while projecting historical lows, is not in jeopardy, the flow Willamette River (as clearly evident if you drive past Lookout Point Reservoir adjacent to Highway 58, The Willamette Highway) is in immediate danger of being inadequate to provide water to farms and other businesses down stream.

This order was passed on May 12.


ORDER NO: 15-05-12-07


WHEREAS, annual streamflows on the mainstem Willamette from snow pack, rainfall and stored water releases are 55% of normal and therefore insufficient to fully support public uses in streams and lakes; and
WHEREAS, the definition of “public uses in streams and lakes” inculdes fish protection, pollution control and recreational use; and
WHEREAS, restricting water rights to natural streamflows for two businesses in the construction industry in order to retain minimum flows for public instream uses would cause irreversible economic harm to the two businesses and, create financial hardship for their
approximately 200 employees and their families through potential layoffs; and
WHEREAS, Lane County has activated its “Emergency Operations Plan, Section ESF 7.2 Legal Services, Mitigation Phase” which provides legal advice to the Policy Group of Lane County to “advise and recommend county ordinance or orders to reduce the effects of disaster”;
WHEREAS, the Oregon Water Resources Department may exercise emergency water
rights authority following a Governor’s drought declaration to help industry in Lane County cope with low streamflows; and
WHEREAS, we find that appropriate response is beyond the capability of Lane County
because Lane County does not have the same authority as the Oregon Water Resources Department for addressing water rights which is the only remedy for this drought emergency.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of County Commissioners of Lane County ORDERS as follows:
1. A local drought emergency is declared within Lane County.
2. Pursuant to ORS 401.165 we are declaring a state of emergency for the purpose of protecting .local economy through the Oregon Water Resources Department’s authority to mitigate the impact of low streamflows on the Willamette mainstem.
3. Pursuant to ORS 401.165 that the Governor declare an emergency so that state assistance may be immediately released. 
ADOPTED this 12th day of MAY, 2015.

Navigating the Lane County Board of Commissioners Meetings website. by Pat Farr


Go here to view Lane County Board of Commissioners Agendas and accompanying materials provided for deliberation.  (go here for a guide on how to navigate)

This will open a page called:  Board of County Commissioners Meeting Agendas.

Click on the week of the agenda you are looking to review.  The date shown is the Monday that begins the week.  Regular meetings are typically held on Tuesday, but other meetings will be listed after you click on the week.  If the meeting week is in teal, meeting(s) were held that week.

Once you have the agenda for the meeting you wish to review, scroll down until you find the Agenda Item.  If there is accompanying material there will be a (view material) option.  Click there to review the material provided to the Board of Commissioners.


Go here to see signed board orders and adopted minutes reaching back by year to 1972, and select years beyond.

If you have questions, please contact me at 541-682-4023 or email me at:

Bethel School Board remains intact. by Pat Farr


Northwest Eugene and the adjacent unicorporated areas of Lane County stretching to Alvadore and beyond are blessed with their own School District: Bethel 52.  Bethel is centered on Willamette and Kalapuya High Schools and their feeder middle schools, elementary schools and kindergarten through eighth grade hybrid gems.

The people who live in the school district are always–ALWAYS supportive of schools at the polls, in the classrooms and buildings as volunteers and in parent-teacher organizations.

One very evident reason of the high marks and support for the district is its long-term and highly effective board of directors.

The recent election (May 19, 2015) kept the board intact.  The longest-term member, Ginger Poage, had a hearty challenge from a worthy newcomer, but won easily on election day.

The rest of the board consists of long-term members Paul Jorgenson, Greg Nelson, Alan Laisure, Debi Farr, Dawnya Johnson and Rich Cunningham.

If you visit the district this week you will see two new schools under construction, replacing the aging Malabon and Fairfield.  You will also see a high school, Kalapuya, which graduated 100% of its seniors last year.  Go by Willamette and see the new science and technology wing.  Stop by and see the shining and recently-built Prairie Mountain and Meadowview K-8 schools, which place teachers and students together in pods of learning that bring out the very best in both.

In short, after I served on the Bethel School Board from 1992-1995 it has rocketed the district to new heights of educational excellence, driven by Superintendent Colt Gill and his remarkable team of administrators and educators.

I’m proud to be a part of this district.

Housing Veterans. by Pat Farr



At the beginning of the year there were between 350 and 400 veterans who were homeless in Lane County.  Some had returned from service to find themselves out of work and out of a home.  Others have money to pay rent but not enough for security deposits.  Many conditions surround the issue of our men and women who have served our nation not having a safe place to sleep at night.

We are addressing the conditions and so far we have surpassed the mid-point to our goal.

In early June I will be hosting a round table discussion (along with Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy) to identify and act on strategies to complete our goal.

Many of the more achievable ways to do so have already been addressed.  Invited guests at the discussion will include those who might have the greatest insights and provide the most powerful actions to help eliminate Veterans’ homelessness in our county.  Including landlords, employers, service providers, a few elected officials, educators and veterans.

I will provide more details as we begin to form strategies.


Pay more to register your car? Not now. by Pat Farr

People are telling me how to make Lane County roads last longer.  Here’s a sample of an email I received and my response:

Subject: Reg fee

I’m sorry your reg fee went down in vote but I am 66 years old retired and live on SS. My wife has a car with over 200 k and I have same. I also own a 1974 14 ft travel trailer I use 1 time per year so for a man on a fixed income of $1240.00 per mo to live on your reg fee was hard to choke down. So based on that my reg fees would have jumped from $255.00 every 2 years to $455.00 so I would be giving up almost 1/3 of 1 months income to you.

As it is I have difficult time keeping warm and housed. Let’s deal with all county vehicles sitting on streets in park, engines running to keep them warm and cool in summer for employees while 6 stand around watching 5 work. Spend a day with me sir lets ride around in one of those county vehicles I can show you first hand the waste of resources I see daily. Not just in county but city of Eugene as well. Reduce pollution shut the vehicles off same loads in fuel. That would be an interesting experiment for 60 days. You can tell me you have such a rule and maybe so but out on the street it just does not happen. Maybe a 3 cent gas tax in lane county for roads then everyone using our roads get to pay not just the few who try and live here the best they can. Ban studded tires which we all know do far more damage to our roads then my 1974 travel trailer.

How about the tons of log trucks that run highway 36 every day and take poodle creek road to avoid weigh station and overweight tickets. Maybe no good because there NEVER is an officer there to inspect.

It’s just not fair, to single out Lane county residents when thousands of non Lane drivers use our roads tear them up and drive away.

Not your issue but odot repaved hwy 36 last fall. Not 2 days after it was done log truck over turned cut big groves in the road. Messed cleaned up but the deep ruts cut into new road bed were left and not repaired do new surface already is being to become a pot hole on the road we just spent millions to fix. Did trucking company insurance get billed for road damage? Most likely not.


Thank you for your message.

I know that I am not alone in wanting to find ways, at all times, to use time and resources more effectively and efficiently. Your input is valuable and, by me, well-received.

I intend to work ever more closely with my colleagues and with the men and women who work hard every day in public works, health and human services, the Sheriff’s Department and throughout Lane County to make our place a great place to live, work and raise our families.

Please rest assured that my observation, and I have worked at school board, city, state and county levels as well as in private industry and non-profit, that our staff wastes little or no time in doing their work in as professional and effective a way as I have ever seen at any level.

I urge you to please remain in contact with me.

Pat Farr,
Lane County Commissioner,
North Eugene
From: Michael []



Big Gap Among Democrats by Region on Vehicle Registration Fee (Conducted May 11-12, 2015)

Polling on the proposed Lane County Vehicle Registration Fee, by major party (and region), can be seen here.

Lane Vehicle Registration Fee Gaining (Conducted May 11-12, 2015)

Updated tracking on the proposed Lane County Vehicle Registration Fee can be seen here.


Edited to include the most recent polling dates in the title (May 11-12, 2015). The original post read March 9-10, 2015. 

Lane Vehicle Registration Fee Latest Tracking

Latest tracking on the proposed Lane County Vehicle Registration Fee can be seen here.

Comparing Piercy’s and Torrey’s Ratings

This post, which can be seen here, compares two Eugene mayors, Kitty Piercy this past February, and Jim Torrey in May of 2003, at about the same time before they left office.