Continuing to house homeless veterans in Lane County. by Pat Farr

I took this photo of Mrs. Obama from my seat in the White House East Room as she delivered a powerful speech supporting creating and maintaining housing for our nation’s veterans

A year ago I was called to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama in recognition of Lane County housing 404 homeless veterans in the year ending in March 2016.  Former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was also invited.  I took as my guest Jon Ruiz, Eugene’s City Manager and Terry McDonald of St. Vincent DePaul of Lane County joined us as Kitty’s guest.

Revealing the number of veterans housed during Operation 365 with Terry McDonald and Kitty Piercy

Since then the work of finding housing for veterans here continues.  436 veterans have been housed since that date in 2016.
Each month Lise Stuart from Lane County Human Services compiles the record of the continuing services and forwards a copy to me and to the people and agencies who are tirelessly working to place men, women and families in housing.
Here is the list distributed by Lise on December 8.
Lane County Highlights:
·            436 Homeless Veterans on the By-Name List have been housed (temporary or permanent) since 03/2016 (20 months) 
CoC-HUD APR Veteran Destinations (This is an unduplicated count, therefore this number may go down because veterans return to homelessness)
·            159 Veterans currently on the By-Name Active List
·              97 Number Veterans had a Coordinated Entry Assessment to get on the homeless housing wait list since 03/2016
·                0 Number Veterans had a Coordinated Entry Assessment to get on the homeless housing wait list in the past week 
         (0 in past 30 days)
·          1418 Individuals have been assessed for the Homeless Veteran By-Name List since 03/2016
·              20 New Homeless Veteran By-Name assessments in the past week
·              36 Unscreened homeless Veterans on the list
·                6 New Homeless Veterans (unscreened) added to ServicePoint CMIS/HMIS in the week
The agencies and staffs involved in this effort include:  Lane County, Cities of Eugene and Springfield, Catholic Community Services of Lane County, FOOD for Lane County, St. Vincent DePaul of Lane County, Community Supported Shelters, Lane County ShelterCare.

Safe and legal camping in Lane County. by Pat Farr

 

Lane County Commissioners acted Tuesday to help local homeless people who are living in their cars. The commissioners have faced reality.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to allow overnight car camping on private property in the Santa Clara area, north of Randy Papé Beltline.

While this would be a pilot project, a similar car camping program, called the Overnight Parking Program, already exists in Eugene. The Eugene program, a partnership between the city and the nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, has been operating smoothly since the late 1990s. Last year, OPP helped 81 individuals, and 27 families with 41 children, at a cost to the city of $89,000.

The sad reality is that these are people who will be living out of their vehicles regardless of how the commissioners voted. They just wouldn’t be as safe or as stable — which is particularly hard on families with children. Nor would they have minimal provisions for sanitation.

Eugene’s program, in contrast, provides screening and placement of campers, sanitation, trash pick-up and parking site management at no cost to the host. It also reduces the amount of time police have to spend responding to reports of illegal camping, allowing them to focus on more important law enforcement needs.

Living in a vehicle isn’t a lifestyle people generally choose if they have other options, but it’s a better than living on the streets, often the only other alternative for car campers. St. Vincent de Paul has found that providing a safe, legal place to camp in a vehicle helps families and individual in crisis stabilize their lives and gain better access to services that can help them get back on their feet and into employment.
Eugene is far from the only city that has approved legal places for car camping. For example, Ashland, which has been struggling with soaring housing costs, began a vehicle camping program this year when a Unitarian church stepped forward and offered space.

The number of police citations for illegal camping in Ashland plummeted — from 146 in 2016 to 29 in the first half of this year, the Medford Mail Tribune reported. (Citations carry fines of around $100, and failure to pay or appear can result in an arrest warrant — a heavy price to pay for being unable to afford housing.)

An effort earlier this year to open a homeless camp in a part of Santa Clara that is within Eugene’s city limits, on an undeveloped city park site near the Fred Meyer store, fizzled in the face of neighborhood opposition.

The reality is that whether some Santa Clara residents like it or not, there are already homeless people camping in their area — they just don’t have a high profile.

What a legal homeless camp will do is bring them out of the shadows, improving their safety and making sure they have access to basic needs.

Santa Clara residents will deal with homelessness one way or the other — by paying for law enforcement, trash pickups and other byproducts of illegal camping, or by allowing adults and children to park their vehicles in a legal, safe and sanitary place, making it easier for them to get back on their feet. The latter option makes more sense.

Thank you Register-Guard for this article:  Facing car-camping facts, printed in the November 29, 2017 Register-Guard.

Clackamas County Housing Panel Discussion. by Pat Farr

Eclipse in Lane County: tips for your safety on August 21 2017. by Pat Farr

The eclipse in Lane County will look something like this

Eclipse tips for Lane County residents

Lane County is gearing up to help residents and visitors make the most of the 2017 solar eclipse on August 21st!
With much of Lane County at or close to ninety-nine percent totality we have a great opportunity to view the eclipse without fighting traffic and the risk of being stuck on the road during the event,” said Lane County Emergency Manager Linda Cook. “We encourage residents to enjoy the eclipse from a location near them – a backyard, balcony or similar place can provide a great and convenient view.”

Tips for Lane County residents during the eclipse:

• Consider the eclipse a multi-day event with increased traffic and visitors between August 16 and August 23.
• We are on the “path to the path” of totality. Roads on and off major highways might be busier than usual August 16–23 so be sure to pack your patience!
• Keep your cool and be kind in crowds and traffic. It’s sort of like a busy holiday that only comes once every 100 years or so. (The next total solar eclipse to cross Oregon will happen in 2169!)
• Don’t get stuck! Bypass the lines by filling up your gas tank and grocery shopping early in the week before the eclipse.
• Be patient with the internet, the ATM and your cell phone. With the increased number of visitors, internet and cellular service may become slow or overwhelmed (especially on Monday).
• Don’t fall for a fake: wear certified glasses made to protect your eyes from an eclipse. Learn more from NASA at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.
Reminders for visitors during the eclipse:
• Pack ahead. Skip the lines and make food, beverage and other purchases before you leave.
• Remember cellular service is limited in much of Lane County and Oregon.
• Bring a printed map in case cellular service is slow or unavailable.
• Help keep Lane County green: If you packed it in, pack it out.
• Be water wise and carry plenty with you.
Know the tides if you visit the beach during the eclipse. Tidal changes affect rivers too.
• Know where your safety areas are & be familiar with tsunami evacuation routes on the coast.
• Be aware of beach hazards: keep an eye on the waves & don’t play on logs as they can shift and injure climbers.

 

Thanks Sergeant Carrie Carver, Lane County Sheriff’s Department, for these tips and text…

Lane County Commissioners will interview candidates to replace Faye Stewart on April 12 2017. by Pat Farr

Commissioners will interview candidates to replace Faye Stewart, seated on the left.

I will join Board of County Commissioners vice-chair Jay Bozievich and Commissioners Sid Leiken and Pete Sorenson on Thursday April 12 to determine who will replace Faye Stewart as East Lane County Commissioner.  26 candidates will participate.

Interviews for the District 5, East Lane commissioner seat will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions.

Beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene), the 26 candidates who met minimum qualifications and were available for the interview will each be asked to “Tell us why you applied for this position.”

Each candidate will have three minutes to speak. The order will be determined by having candidates draw numbers prior to the start of the meeting. Commissioners will not comment or ask additional questions of the candidates at this time.

After all 26 candidates have spoken, commissioners will deliberate and each commissioner will choose no more than three candidates to move forward to the afternoon session. We anticipate those deliberations will begin around 11:00 a.m.

The Board will break for lunch while staff from the Human Resources Department notifies candidates of the selection.

The second round of interviews will begin at 1:00 p.m. The candidates who were chosen to move forward to this round will each have 15 minutes to answer three questions from commissioners. The order will again be established by drawing numbers.

The questions will be selected from a list provided by the Human Resources director. The Board chair will direct questioning with the three remaining commissioners each asking one question.

After the second round of interviews is complete, commissioners will rank their top three choices. Each commissioner’s first choice will receive three points, second choice will receive two points and third choice will receive one point.

The three candidates who receive the highest number of points will move forward to answer a final question.

After the three top candidates are given three minutes to answer the final question, the Board will deliberate toward a decision.

In order to be appointed, a candidate must receive a minimum of three votes from commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners may recess for the evening and resume the process on Thursday morning if it is unable to come to a decision in a timely manner on Wednesday evening.

The meeting is open to the public and all deliberations will be conducted in public session. The meeting is also available at Comcast Channel 21 (Metro TV) to Eugene/Springfield-area Comcast subscribers.

The meeting is also available as a live webcast at http://lanecounty.ompnetwork.org.

Approve or Disapprove of How New City Hall Project Handled

Do you approve or disapprove of how the project to build the new Eugene City Hall has been handled?

For complete poll results, click here.

Is Eugene’s New City Hall Project Going in the Right Direction or Off on the Wrong Track?

Do you feel the project to build the new Eugene City Hall is moving in the right direction or do you think things have gotten off on the wrong track?

For complete poll results, click here.

How to be a hero: wild Coho salmon a’la orange. by Pat Farr

I served this dish with grilled and sliced rib-eye steak, steamed new potatoes and asparagus.

Wild Coho salmon a'la orange was pleasing and popular

Wild Coho salmon a’la orange was pleasing and popular

Here’s the recipe:

  • Wild coho salmon filet, skin on
  • Slices of clementine oranges
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh squeezed clementine juice and zest
  • Olive oil

Sear the salmon, skin down, in hot olive oil.  As it is searing sprinkle with salt and pepper and top it with slices of clementine.  Add the clementine juice and zest plus a little water to bring the liquid level up to about half-way on the filet.  Cover and steam for about four to five minutes (don’t overcook of course).

Remove the lid and reduce the liquid.  Lift the salmon off the skin and serve, using the liquid as a base on the plate.

Serve with steamed new potatoes and asparagus.

You will be a hero.

 

Where to Build Eugene’s New City Hall?

Where should Eugene’s new City Hall be built?

For complete poll results, click here.

Key Demographics: Clinton and Trump Strong Unfavorables in Oregon

Key demographics for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Oregon, during the 2016 General Election, can be seen here.