Archive for the ‘Pat Farr’ Category

Thanks for the spark, Jack Roberts. by Pat Farr

Monday, May 25th, 2015


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

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015


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

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015


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

Friday, May 22nd, 2015


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

Thursday, May 21st, 2015



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

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

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 []



Operation 365 Veterans goal: no homeless veterans in Lane County. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Flyer designed to bring attention to the consolidated efforts to place homeless veterans and their families into safe housing.

Flyer designed to bring attention to the consolidated efforts to place homeless veterans and their families into safe housing.

A color guard of veterans marches at the opening of veterans' housing units.

A color guard of veterans marches at the opening of veterans’ housing units.

Brigadier General Norm Hoffman, who I served alongside in the 2nd Bn 162nd Infantry, addresses an appreciative group at St. Vincent DePaul while I look on with Mayors Kitty Piercy (Eugene) and Christine Lundberg (Springfield).

Brigadier General Norm Hoffman, who I served alongside in the 2nd Bn 162nd Infantry, addresses an appreciative group at St. Vincent DePaul while I look on with Mayors Kitty Piercy (Eugene) and Christine Lundberg (Springfield) along with retired Army Veteran L. Joelle Rankins Goodwin


On Veterans’ Day 2014 we received the grim news:  there are between 300 and 400 men and women who have fought in the armed forces of the United States who are homeless in Lane County.  Hundreds of heroes among us who didn’t have a roof over their heads that night.  It was news that made it nearly impossible for me to sleep in my own home, safe and dry and warm while they had no door to lock, no heat to turn up, no kitchen to prepare a meal.

So we launched Operation 365 Veterans with the goal of finding a home each day for the next year for one of these men and women and their families.

By Veterans Day 2015 we intend to be able to say, “There are no homeless veterans in Lane County.”

And we are off to a good start.  With partnerships forged between St. Vincent DePaul of Lane County, the cities of Eugene and Springfield and Lane County we are exceeding our daily goals and with public , private and nonprofit groups working side-by-side we will be able to make that a true statement.

See Operation 365 Veterans Facebook Page for more details and updates on our progress.




Lane County’s new auditor is selected to “Catch people doing things right.” by Pat Farr

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Lane County logo blue

Lane County Government operates efficiently and openly.

An early order of business given to the new County Administrator, Steve Mokrohisky, was to help the Board of County Commissioners select and hire an internal performance Auditor.  The position had been in place in the County Budget but had not been filled for several years.  Past auditors reported to the Administrator, the new auditor will report directly to the Board of Commissioners.  The auditor will be one of only three employees of the County to report directly to the Board, joining the Administrator and County Counsel, Steve Dingle.

A selection committee was assembled, consisting of me (the Board Chair), Commissioner Sid Leiken, Assessor Mike Cowles, a county budget committee member, a Sheriff’s department sworn officer and an HR staff member.  Initially an outside auditing firm was contracted to perform some of the functions that will be part of the job description of the internal auditor.

Marsha Edwards, the county’s Human Resource Director, conducted a search and produced two excellent finalists for the position.  The committee conducted interviews and Commissioner Leiken and I subsequently engaged in further interviews with the candidates.  After meeting two more times, members of the selection committee agreed upon recommending Shanda Miller  to the full Board.  Each of the other three Commissioners then had individual meetings with Ms. Miller.

The Board approved the recommendation made by the committee unanimously at its regular Board meeting on Tuesday January 13, directing the Administrator to finalize a contract with Ms. Miller for the Board’s approval.

Having an auditor reporting independently to the Board of Commissioners is essential to demonstrating that the county is not only operating efficiently but is responsive to needs for improvement in Board policies and operation.

During the interview process, Ms. Miller talked about her approach to the job, if selected.  She emphasized that her view of an auditor is not to find errors and imperfections, but to find where the work is being done well, and if improvements can be made to suggest them.

This is consistent with my concept of management:  Catch people doing thing right and let them know that you noticed.  Praise and redirect if redirection is needed.  Otherwise, simply praise publicly and specifically.  If a leader continually observes the work that is being done and continually reinforces positive behavior the likelihood for continued improvement is high.  When professionals who are doing a good job know that it is being noticed they will be incented to continue with their rewarding and productive work.

Shanda Miller is currently working as an auditing team supervisor for the Oregon Secretary of State.


Operation 365 aims to house homeless veterans. by Pat Farr

Saturday, January 10th, 2015


AT THE PLACE WHERE US ARMY AND OREGON NATIONAL GUARD VETERAN TOM EGAN PERISHED, HOMELESS AND ALONE, plans to end homelessness for veterans in Lane County are underway.

The American Legion Honor Guard stands at Parade Rest

The American Legion Honor Guard stands at Parade Rest in honor and recognition of homeless veterans as I talk about Operation 365


With Anne Williams, Kitty Piercy and Jan Bohman as a US Air Force Veteran and his family are moving into their new home

With Anne Williams, Kitty Piercy and Jan Bohman as a US Air Force Veteran and his family are moving into their new home

EUGENE, Ore. — Homelessness is a problem many veterans experience locally and across the country. But, a collaboration between Lane County and the cities of Eugene and Springfield is hoping to put fourth a housing first model, so no veteran has to live on the streets.

Charles Platt is a local veteran who’s now managing a St. Vincent De Paul property. But, before moving into this housing community he was living on the streets.

“I drank when I was outside a lot and it was hard, but it didn’t stop me from wanting what I wanted. I wanted a job, I wanted to change my life, so I quit drinking, I quit smoking, I quit everything,” said Platt.

He’s not the only veteran in the area who’s gone through a tough time after serving his country. The St. Vincent de Paul housing program director expects there are around 300 or 400 vets living on the streets and another 600-700 in rural areas. “So we’re dealing with a problem now and we’re going to be facing another group of folks who have housing issues,” said Anne Williams.

Now Lane County, the city of Eugene, and Springfield are collaborating to end veteran homelessness. “The program represents a real serious commitment by a broad cross section of our community to end veteran homelessness by the end of next year,” said Williams.

It’s called Operation 365. The goal is to house 365 veterans by this time next year. “Housing first initiatives like Operation 365 provide realistic opportunities for these community members to experience wellness and save public safety and health resources because the demands on these systems are decreased.

While the goal may seem lofty, project organizers say people like Platt are proof change is possible.

Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr and Mayor Kitty Piercy announced a big fundraising goal for their Veterans Home for the Holidays campaign. They’re hoping to raise $60,000 this holiday season.

Thanks, Stacey Kafka, KEZI

I have open office hours for drop-in visits. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014


My Commission office on the upper floor of the Lane County public service building has 16 feet of windows facing the main hallway of the administration floor.  I keep my blinds open so it is easy to see when I am in there.

My County Commission office is open for inspection.

My County Commission office is open for inspection.

County Commissioners who previously worked in this office opted to keep the blinds closed and work in private.  That is not my choice.  I keep open office hours for drop-in visits usually on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 am until noon.  A visitor can confirm that I have not been called away or that I am not out of town by calling the front desk at 541-682-4203.  No appointments are necessary during those hours, but a call ahead will confirm that I am there.

Or just walk by.  You’ll see me.

Other hours appointments are easy to get:  call the same number and ask Deeni, who manages the front desk, to set one up.

PS:  you might notice the neon “O” that I keep lighted on the far end of my office.  Since Debi and I met on campus at the University of Oregon when we were freshmen before we had attended even our first class we both maintain a strong allegiance with the Ducks.  Our daughter Hayley attended Oregon State University, so don’t judge too harshly, Beaver fans.  Our son Patrick has an advanced degree from University of Arizona and is currently a graduate student at Arizona State.  Evan, our younger son, graduated from Lewis and Clark and mastered and PhD’d at University of Virginia.  So we have plenty of good feelings for other schools, but the neon “O” will stay lit.