Yorkshire pudding becomes a classic toad-in-the-hole. by Pat Farr

 

Classic Toad-in-the-Hole doesn’t have to be rough or boring.

Classic “Toad-in-the-hole” does not have to be rough or boring. This Italiano version incorporates Italian Cheeses with basil-garlic chicken meatballs

When you take a time-honored Yorkshire pudding recipe and cooking technique, like the one I inherited from my mother and she from her mother, and add pieces of English bangers it becomes toad-in-the-hole.

TIH was served in school, at restaurants and in my home when I was growing up in Sheffield.  This simple variation lets you know how only your imagination holds you back from a broad variety of options.

Ingredients:

2c     Flour

1c      Milk and water

3        Eggs

1T       each, chopped oregano, chopped fresh garlic (or to taste)

pinch black pepper, salt to taste

12      cooked seasoned chicken meatballs or chicken sausage chunks

12T   Mozarella cheese

12×1/2t     Parmesan Cheese

vegetable oil for cooking

Beat the flour, liquid, eggs and spices until smooth.   Add more or less of the liquid to make a pancake-batter consistency smooth mix.  This can be made early and reserved until ready to cook.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Add the oil to muffin (or Yorkshire pudding) tins and bring to oven temperature.

Fill the tins nearly to the top with the batter, in the hot oil.  Place a meatball in the middle and spoon and sprinkle the Italian cheeses on top.

Bake in the oven until fully risen and golden brown, check after 15 minutes.

You can serve this version of TIH with a marinara sauce…

Substitute any meat you love and any spice blend to compliment the meat:  boudin blanc, Mexican, Hawaiian–you be the creator!

Students at Willamette High School are leading the way to government policy changes. by Pat Farr

Willamette High School seniors Nate and Harrison met with me in my office on February 3 2019 to plan strategies for implementing their ideas about shelter and housing

Willamette High School social studies teacher Leslie Simmons each school year has students complete a public policy project.  Together she and fellow teacher Steve Miller help them prepare a two-day Public Policy Forum.

The students select a policy they believe needs to be addressed. It can be anything from filling potholes to school funding to immigration. The student do the research and determine a pathway for moving their policy through local, state, or federal law.

Then they prepare a report and display.  Policy makers and educators participate in interviewing students and scoring these projects.

In January this year I participated for the third time.  I met groups of students from three classes over the course of the days on January 23 and 24 in the WilHi media center.  It is among the most enjoyable things I have done as an elected official.

Each year I have been amazed at the choices of policy changes–or laws–that they bring to the forum.  This year the preparation through research, report-writing and display presentation reached a new high.  The students were in groups of two to four and gave convincing arguments that would deliver results through formal city, county or state policy processes.

I personally attended 22 presentations by these remarkable high school seniors. Among the reports I reviewed and evaluated were:

  • Sex Trafficking–not in my state!
  • Delta Highway-Beltline Road interchange improvements
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Distracted Driving and Texting
  • Teen Homelessness
  • Bully Prevention
  • Fighting Hunger and Malnutrition
  • Homeless Shelter on Public Property
  • Protecting Pollenators

 

Several of the student teams will meet with me and others to plan strategies for implementation and expansion of their ideas.

Students receive this clear advise: “It is essential that students are in class while we prepare for the Policy Project. Failure to attend can devastate your grade!”  But my experience is that these high school seniors are participating for far more than just a good grade in a class…

 

To see the detailed assignment given to the students, including selection and preparation checklists,  visit this site:  Mrs. Simmons and Mr. Miller’s page

 

MLK Memorial quotes do not include “I have a dream…” by Pat Farr

“The measure of a man…” is one of 14 quotes carved in marble at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC is positioned steps away from the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King delivered his world-changing speech on August 28, 1963.

Along with the majestic statue of Dr. King, the Memorial includes 14 quotes carved in marble. The selection of quotes was selected by a specially appointed panel and includes selections from sermons and speeches delivered throughout King’s career. The selections intentionally omit King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in order to highlight some of his lesser known words.

Here are the quotes:

“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

“I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.”

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

“It is not enough to say, ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.”

“We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King Jr. gazes over the Tidal Basin at the Capitol Mall, only a few steps from the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his dream and momentous challenges on August 28,1963.

See the speech here.

 

Lane County’s strong commitment to housing and shelter is demonstrated by its Housing Improvement Plan. by Pat Farr

In 2018 Lane County Board of Commissioners, in its budget process, allocated $2,000,000 to its newly formed Housing Improvement Plan (HIP).

Lane County and the Homes for Good Housing Authority are partnering to break ground on this 51-apartment housing first project, The Commons on MLK, adjacent to Lane County Behavioral Health campus.  It is one of five permanent supportive housing projects recently funded in part by Lane County’s Housing Improvement Plan.

On January 12 the board gave $1.5m to five local housing projects that had been selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

The announcement the Board of Commissioners posted in 2018 stated:
“Lane County hereby solicits applications from cities, public agencies, private foundations, non-profit charities, healthcare organizations, affordable housing developers and supportive services providers for planning, development, and construction of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Applications may include new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of existing units for PSH. 

In addition to Permanent Supportive housing needs, Lane County recognizes that housing affordability is a significant countywide issue, particularly as it relates to the diversity, supply and affordability of housing options. Therefore, the County will also consider proposals that offer solutions to the broader challenges of housing affordability and that designate some of the units for PSH.”

The projects selected are directly tied to the Lane County Strategic Plan and the Poverty and Homelessness Board’s Strategic Plan.  The Poverty and Homelessness Board’s Governance Charter guides its ongoing work.  The PHB charter and strategic plan lay within Lane County’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan.

The projects selected for funding by the Board of Commissioners are:

  • Tiny House project, $200,000: Permanent supportive housing for individuals with criminal histories vulnerable to homelessness due to a shortage of affordable housing available to those with felony convictions. Five duplexes will be built to 10 people to live in on property adjacent to Sponsors’ Roosevelt Crossing facility. Sponsors will own and manage the units, offering below-market rents. Construction is slated to begin this spring.
  • Polk Apartments expansion, $550,000: Permanent supportive housing for 10 former foster youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. A mix of studio and single-room occupancy units will be added to an existing complex that currently houses 12 former foster youth for a total of 22. NEDCO owns the property and will manage the units. Construction is set to begin this fall.
  • Cottage Village project, $500,000: Thirteen tiny houses will provide affordable housing for those with low incomes (under 50 percent of median income) or very low incomes (under 30 percent of median income). The community will be built by SquareOne Villages and operate as a limited-equity housing cooperative. Construction is slated to begin this month.
  • Legion Cottages project, $250,000: A joint project of the American Legion, City of Cottage Grove and Homes for Good, it will develop four tiny homes to serve homeless veterans referred and case managed by the St. Vincent de Paul Vet LIFT program, which serves homeless veterans dually diagnosed with substance abuse and mental health issues. Construction is slated to begin this fall.
  • The Commons on MLK, $500,000: Fifty-one units of permanent supportive housing primarily targeted toward chronically homeless individuals who meet Frequent Users Systems Engagement criteria. Lane County also has transferred property adjacent to Lane County Behavioral Health to Homes for Good for this project. Construction is scheduled to begin in June.

These projects help fulfill goals of the HIP that include:

 Seed and incentivize a community effort to build Permanent Supportive Housing and to increase the supply of affordable housing in Lane County.

 Spark investment and leverage other public and private sector partners.

 Move quickly, with clearly defined outcomes, budgets and timelines to catalyze shovel-ready projects.

 

Justice for veterans: Lane County’s Veterans Treatment Court diverts veterans from jail into treatment. by Pat Farr

 

Retired US Marine Ron Cooper and I are stepping into Lane County’s Veterans Treatment Court. Ron has been a mentor and guide in the court since its launch.

Most veterans are strengthened by their military service, but the combat experience has unfortunately left a growing number of veterans with issue such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury. One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment (details here). One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance use issue. Research continues to draw a link between substance use and combat-related mental illness (details here). Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

Lane County’s Veterans Treatment Court, administered by Lane County Circuit Court Judge Valeri Love, requires regular court appearances, as well as mandatory attendance at treatment sessions, and frequent and random testing for drug and alcohol use. Veterans respond favorably to this structured environment, given their past experiences in the Armed Forces. However, a few will struggle, and it is exactly those veterans who need a veterans treatment court program the most. Without this structure, these veterans might re-offend and remain in the criminal justice system. The veterans treatment court is able to ensure they meet their obligations to themselves, the court, and their community.

TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE on Interstate 105. by Pat Farr

 

Washington-Jefferson Bridge preservation traffic jams are doubling travel times (photo courtesy dreamtime.com)

Traffic jams on Interstate 105 both directions on the Washington-Jefferson bridge entering and leaving downtown Eugene.  While it’s temporary, it is here!  Oregon Department of Transportation issues notices of changes in traffic pattern throughout the project.

To see ODOT update on changes that will be occurring in the near future,  click here.

Lane County’s strategic plan is the road map to effective, open government. by Pat Farr

Lane County’s one-page summary of its comprehensive strategic plan

In 2014 Lane County’s Board of Commissioners adopted what was its first comprehensive strategic plan encompassing four goal areas:

A Safe, Healthy County

Vibrant Communities

Robust Infrastructure

Our People and Partnerships

Since then, quarterly updates on progress toward the goals, tactics and strategies have been provided to the public and the Board to ensure that the plan is a living document that is understood and supported throughout Lane County Government.

Click here to see the one-page document.

Click here for a link to the entire strategic plan.

 

Lane County Poverty and Homelessness Board has a unified, coherent strategic plan. by Pat Farr

 

Lane County’s Poverty and Homelessness Board (see link here) has a unified, coherent strategic plan for working toward eliminating homelessness in the county.  Progress on the long road is reported in a living, breathing document (see document here) that details the goals, strategy and partners involved in each item’s execution.  While due dates are not fully determined, the subcommittee performing the work on each item in the living document is identified. (see committees here).

The Poverty and Homelessness Board (PHB) meetings are now broadcast live on Metro TV Channel 25, rebroadcast and accessible for viewing online (link here). Minutes of all past meetings are published (link here).

Every year on December 17 the few of us who knew Tom Egan and many thousands who did not reflect on the the place he froze to death and collectively call for an end to homelessness.  This annual reflection helps elevate the PHB’s goal to “Inform and Enhance Public Awareness and Advocacy Efforts” surrounding poverty and homelessness.

Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr, who served with Egan in the Oregon Army National Guard, tells a story about Egan during a ceremony remembering him on Dec. 18, 2017. Picture is from Jack Moran’s essay published in the Register-Guard on Christmas Day 2018. (Brian Davies/The Register-Guard)

When I first became deeply involved in issues surrounding homelessness I was an executive manager at Jerry’s Home Improvement Center who had recently became Eugene City Councilor from Ward 6, Bethel.

Like everyone else who first gets a taste of the plight of the homeless children, men and women in Lane County I vowed to do something about it.  I wondered why people had not been paying attention and why local government was doing nothing.

I quickly found out that many resources–including government, nonprofit and private–had been dedicated on a wide array of fronts to helping solve the issue.

My first touch was in 1993, when Jerry’s began planning the immense home center you see at 2600 Highway 99 North.  On the site we were going to build our new store there were six houses, all occupied and four of them in good enough shape to preserve instead of raze.

The Jerry’s flagship store stands where houses that are now on Hope Loop once stood.

Jerry bought the houses and commissioned me to work with local agencies to find a new place to move them.  Teaming with St. Vincent DePaul a new location was identified and a new street, Hope Loop, was platted in west Eugene to re-place the homes.

Fast forward a year and I am now a Eugene City Councilor, standing beside Eugene Mayor Ruth Bascom and Springfield Mayor Bill Morisette dedicating those homes to St. Vincent DePaul’s low income housing programs.  Mayor Ruth Bascom has appointed me to the newly-formed Council Committee to Finance Affordable Housing and my work on poverty and homelessness issues has begun in earnest.

Pat Farr with Eugene Mayor Ruth Bascom and Springfield Mayor Bill Morisette dedicating houses that were formerly located at the current site of Jerry’s Home Improvment Center to the St. Vincent DePaul at Hope Loop in west Eugene.

In the years since then I have been asked to participate in a spectrum of programs and efforts designed to give people safe, secure and sanctioned places to sleep, with a strong focus on permanent housing.  Understanding that the best progress is only possible through consolidated work and detailed coordinated planning, the PHB (see link here) was formed in 2014 to bring government, nonprofit, private industry and dedicated individuals together in a powerful policy-recommending group.

PHB and its subcommittee members (see document here) are focused on  strategic plan to reduce homelessness and poverty.  The Board keeps track of details of the plan in a living document listing its strategies and tactics and providing updates on progress.  (See document here)

Jack Moran’s well-researched essay on Egan, published on Christmas Day 2018  (see essay here) has helped forward the PHB’s strategy to inform and enhance public awareness and advocacy efforts surrounding poverty and homelessness but much work and coordinated effort still lay ahead.

Operation Welcome Home will inspire housing for homeless veterans. by Pat Farr

Welcome Home Oregon Veterans.

The signed declaration committing to seeking an end to veterans homelessness in Oregon

Here in Lane County we are redoubling our efforts to provide housing and services to homeless veterans. I’m proud to have represented our county and cities at Operation Welcome Home’s launch last Thursday. As usual, Lise Stuart and our Veterans Team are looking far into the future to find innovative ways to serve our military heroes today… Read more here.

Operation Welcome Home centers the goal of ending veterans’ homelessness and uses Lane County’s and national best practices and clear goalposts to advance that goal.