Archive for the ‘Pat Farr’ Category

Lane County moves forward in unprecedented ways in 2015. by Pat Farr

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
Board of Lane County Commissioners, Faye Stewart, Pat Farr, Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Pete Sorenson

Board of Lane County Commissioners, Faye Stewart, Pat Farr, Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Pete Sorenson

The Lane County Board of Commissioners agenda for this past calendar year centered on the priorities of its 2014-17 Strategic Plan.

The three strategic priorites of the plan are:

1.  A Safe, Healthy County

2.  Vibrant Communities

3.  Infrastructure

Throughout 2015 the Strategic Plan moved forward on a broad range of fronts.  While working closely with the full board and administration I was able to focus on a number of specifics that are of particular importance to me in the areas of accountable government, public safety and economic vitality.

Performance Auditor:  I chaired the committee that developed a work plan and Lane Manual Office of Performance Auditor charter.

Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP):  Lane County Commissioners also serve as the Board of Health for Lane County.

Behavioral Health:  identified as the greatest risk to the county, a new focus on solutions for behavioral health issues that includes housing, case work and wet beds has gained momentum.

Year-round Lane County Farmers’ Market:  the goal of establishing a year-round farmers’ market in downtown Eugene is movin closer to reality.

Poverty and Homelessness Board:  the enormous and unprecedented work of the the PHB has led to great strides in addressing homelessness, poverty, mental health issues and solutions.

Operation 365, housing homeless veterans:  I chaired the PHB’s Veterans’ Housing Subcommittee which teamed with the Mayor’s Challenge to place 365 homeless veterans and their families into housing.

Jail Levy audit:  an independent external audit found that the county is using the dollars from the Sheriff’s levy as promised and is exceeding stated objectives.

Equity and Human Rights Task Force:  a task force has started work to identify ways and means to ensure equity and diversity in  Lane County public practices.

 

Much progress has been reported and measured in each of these areas.  I will provide reports detailing specific accomplishments made by Lane County staff.

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year…beware the scammers. by Pat Farr

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015
This guy is not really Santa Clause...watch out for him and other scammers

This guy is not really Santa Clause…watch out for him and other scammers

Top 5 Holiday Scams to be aware of…

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Specials
This time of year, online scams use a variety of lures to get unsuspecting buyers to click on links or open attachments. Bad guys build complete copies of well-known sites, send emails promoting great deals, sell products and take credit card information – but never deliver the goods. Sites that seem to have incredible discounts should be a red flag. Remember that when a “special offer” is too good to be true, it usually is. For instance, never click on links in emails or popups with very deep discount offers for watches, phones or tablets. Go to the website yourself through your browser and check if that offer is legit.

Complimentary Vouchers or Gift Cards
A popular holiday scam is big discounts on gift cards. Don’t fall for offers from retailers or social media posts that offer phony vouchers or (Starbucks) gift cards paired with special promotions or contests. Some posts or emails even appear to be shared by a friend (who may have been hacked). Develop a healthy dose of skepticism and “Think Before You Click” on offers or attachments with any gift cards or vouchers!

Bogus Shipping Notices From UPS and FedEx
You are going to see emails supposedly from UPS and FedEx in your inbox that claim your package has a problem and/or could not be delivered. Many of these are phishing attacks that try to make you click on a link or open an attachment. However, what happens when you do that is that your computer gets infected with a virus or even ransomware which holds all your files hostage until you pay 500 dollars in ransom.

Holiday Refund Scams
These emails seem to come from retail chains or e-commerce companies such as Amazon or eBay claiming there’s a “wrong transaction” and prompt you to click the refund link. However, when you do that and are asked to fill out a form, the personal information you give out will be sold to cyber criminals who use it against you. Oh, and never, never, never pay online with a debit card, only use credit cards. Why? if the debit card gets compromised, the bad guys can empty your bank account quickly.

Phishing on the Dark Side
A new phishing email has begun circulating that tricks people into thinking they could win movie tickets for the highly-anticipated film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” due out on Dec. 18. However, the email is a phishing attack. Leading up to the film’s release, and shortly after, you need to watch out for this social engineering attack and not fall for the scam. Stay safe online!

BONUS TIP: Never use an insecure public Wi-Fi to shop with your credit card!

Happy holidays to you and your family!

(Thanks to the Lane County Government Security Advisor for this message) (more…)

Providing more affordable housing will boost local economy, save lives (not necessarily in that order). by Pat Farr

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Portland Business Alliance, Portland’s Chamber of Commerce, is a strong group of mainly Portland-area members.

This program at PBA drew what may be the largest audience the group has attracted

This program at PBA drew what may be the largest audience the group has attracted

PBA is the Portland’s Chamber of Commerce (see link here) and its mission is clearly stated:

Advocating for commerce, building community and supporting regional prosperity.

When adding affordable housing to the most difficult people to house was the topic of their monthly breakfast at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland they had to move from their normal meeting room into the grand ballroom of the hotel. Because (by my count) more than 800 men and women, before going to work that morning, wanted to hear more.

I joined Matt Roberts at the University of Oregon’s table along with Lane County Housing and Community Services Agency (HACSA) director Jacob Fox, Dave Hauser of Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and Jim Jacks of Oregon Solutions to hear Lloyd Pendelton tell how Utah started and operated its “Housing First” program.

Utah’s program began by placing homeless people who were frequent users of hospital emergency rooms and the public safety system into stable housing. This included men and women who were suffering from alcohol and other drug addictions. And the results were immediate and significant.

The people who were suddenly housed suddenly quit causing police calls. Then, by being in a stable living environment they began healing. Kicking their addictions that often landed them in jail or the ER.

Just as suddenly the businesses located in the areas where the homeless men and women had been crashing experienced more business.

Men and women’s lives were being saved. Businesses were growing and thriving. People were feeling safer, both the ones who were newly housed and the families who wanted to go down town. Everybody was winning. (see more on Utah’s Housing First program here)

Later in the day I visited Bud Clark Commons, which is the location of a housing first model in Portland and also serves as an emergency shelter and day use center for homeless people.

Portland's Bud Clark Commons provides day use, emergency shelter and a housing first model

Portland’s Bud Clark Commons provides day use, emergency shelter and a housing first model

Utah’s model has elements that may not be replicable in Lane County, as does Bud Clark Commons. But some of the elements of both can serve Lane County as ways to save lives, make our community safer and boost the local economy.

Lane County, working with State Government and its cities including Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove etc. can employ a pilot project, possibly with as few as 12-20 living units, to demonstrate the effectiveness of providing housing to the men and women who have historically been the most difficult to help. Men and women whose lives can be saved.

Lane County Large Events Task Force delivers a product that will work for years. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

When I stood on Jim Evonuk’s farm on a warm Friday evening in a place where you would normally hear the frogs croaking and the water of the Willamette River rippling I knew that this was not the way this county should be governed. Jim stood within a foot of where I was standing, his mouth an inch from my ear, yelling–and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. I went back to my car, nearby, and Debi Farr from inside the Jeep said, “Let’s get out of here…” I concurred, realizing that Mr. Evonuk had to stay behind.

don't worry little brother (2)

Mt. Pisgah and its associated park and preservation land are a regional gem...

Mt. Pisgah and its associated park and preservation land are a regional gem…


Kayaking on Fern Ridge Lake in the shadow of three Lane County Parks

Kayaking on Fern Ridge Lake in the shadow of three Lane County Parks

Mr. Evonuk’s family farm is a few hundred feet away from the main sound stage that was set up in Buford Park for the “Kaleidoscope Music Festival” (see video here) on the opposite bank of the Willamette River. His family’s peace and quiet was destroyed completely over a three-day weekend during which mind-numbing techno music blared night and day.

The Large Events Task Force was formed within two weeks. When Steve Mokrohisky announced the makeup of the task force I was concerned that the membership, which had five of 14 members who were close neighbors of Buford Park, would be addressing a single park and responding to a single issue. But I was soon satisfied that the group would address issues surrounding all 70 Lane County Parks which encompass 4300 acres of a county the size of Connecticut and stretches from the Pacific Ocean surf to the top of the high peaks of the Cascade Mountains.

At the Lane County Commissioners meeting on November 10, 2015, Mary Moore, a member of the task force who lives near Buford Park, testified to a particular point that I was personally quite concerned about when the composition of the task force was announced.

She said, “I felt some of the ‘not in my back yard’ sentiment at times…”´ but ultimately “not in my back yard” was not a factor in the decision making of the task force. The recommendations made by the committee reflect the diversity and variety of Lane County’s broad offering of experiences and enjoyment available in our parks.

This report is the culmination of a year-long process that is nothing short of monumental. It is a model of public involvement that can serve as a template for how difficult and contentious circumstances and events can be addressed in a manner that delivers a strong and lasting product. A product that is unilaterally heralded and well-received.

While there is much detail and content in this report, I’m going to mention just a single passage that fully sums up the work of the Large Events Task Force and the product it has presented us with:

“It became clear during the Task Force’s deliberations that the mission of the Lane County Parks is challenging to accomplish…It also became clear from the public input opportunities provided by the Task Force that people are passionate about Lane County Parks—but often for different reasons. Some value natural and spiritual amenities that open space provides, while others enjoyu the chance to simply experience the outdoors while exercising, camping, boating, fishing or attending a festival or concert…”

The Task Force presented the Board with 34 recommendations for the implementation of its work. (Item 7C “view here)

Gratitude and thanks to the Large Events Task Force: John Hellmer, chair, Jeff Gaulton, Alan Murphy, Anna Lawrence, Brad van Appel, Bruce Newhouse, Dale Stoneburg, Don Hansen, Holly Stanley, Janis Ross, Larry Dunlap, Leslie Scott, Mary Moore, Randy Hledik, Mike Russel (staff support).

Resolution to direct federal funds toward mental health care and gun violence. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

In February 2014 I carried a resolution on gun violence to the National Association of Counties Health Steering Committee. The resolution focused on supporting the continuous and increased use of federal funds to improve early intervention community-based mental health programs, in coordination with local human service and law enforcement, as part of a comprehensive response to gun violence.

In 2014 I travelled to Washington DC to address the National Association of Counties Health Steering Committee about mental health care and gun violence...

In 2014 I traveled to Washington DC to address the National Association of Counties Health Steering Committee about mental health care and gun violence…

A growing number of communities have been forced to deal with the convergence of gun violence and mental health issues. A comprehensive response to gun violence must focus on funding for community-based mental health programs in addition to other types of regulations being discussed. Mental health services are critical to overall population health. Providing treatment in a community-based setting allows people the opportunity to stay connected with family, to learn the skills needed to be more independent, to be engaged in their community and when possible to enter the general work force.

As with most federal efforts, the effort to stream more funds to addressing gun violence through behavioral health care is taking time.

I will carry the resolution forward in 2016, anticipating broad support from other members of the National Health Steering Committee and making it a part of the National Association of Counties federal priority list.

The potential fiscal impact to counties across the nation will be significant as community-based mental health programs are typically underfunded as a whole. The recent rise in gun and ammunition sales suggests that funding for wildlife conservation under the Pittman-Robertson Act will not experience a decrease, but will be able to maintain its funding at a rate similar to that of previous years.

Go here to see Lane Counties federal and state priorities for 2016.

Focusing on Behavioral Health. by Pat Farr

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Behavioral Health was identified as the greatest risk in Lane County Government by Performance Auditor Shanda Miller. Her assessment placed it above all other departments in the need for attention and a full audit of the County’s efforts. It will be the first full audit on her work plan in 2016.

Coordination behavioral health help, support, advice, gudance and assistance with public safety will be a powerful focus in 2016

Coordination behavioral health help, support, advice, gudance and assistance with public safety will be a powerful focus in 2016

Lane County’s Behavioral Health staff, working with Trillium Behavioral Health, do an outstanding job of providing care to thousands of men, women and children who can and do benefit from our efforts–but greater resources and attention will be given to their efforts this coming year.

I serve on Lane County’s Mental Health Advisory/Local Alcohol and Drug Policy Committee (see our website here).

The committee advises the Board of Commissioners and Health & Human Services Department on matters relating to mental health, developmental disabilities, and alcohol and other drug abuse in Lane County by reviewing major policies of the community mental health program and makes recommendations to the Director and assists in identifying needs and priorities.

At our annual retreat in October I spent half a day with the professionals who serve in this important advisory role. The first item on the coming year’s work plan will be finding ways for Lane County’s Public Safety and Behavioral Health efforts to weave together into an increasingly effective fabric.

By linking public safety with behavioral health and substance abuse we will identify means of finding the most appropriate ways to help people with disorders–people who often are the “repeat users” of both emergency police calls and emergency room visits.

The traction that is being gained now will pay dividends ongoing in caring for the people who need help to stabilize their lives and far more effectively using our public safety and public health resources.

Citizen Involvement at the University of Oregon. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

University of Oregon Professor Richie Weinman asked me and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy to talk to his Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM325) class about citizen involvement on October 12.

Deady Hall at the University of Oregon was the first hall build on campus, dating from 1873...

Deady Hall at the University of Oregon was the first hall build on campus, dating from 1873…

Kitty and I talked and answered questions from the upper-level students that ranged from “why did you first seek elected office” to “can we take money from other services to fund services for the homeless…”

Professor Richie Weinman chalks our names on his blackboard in front of about 40 upper-level PPPM students

Professor Richie Weinman chalks our names on his blackboard in front of about 40 upper-level PPPM students

The upper-level students had very detailed questions about current affairs and about how they could get involved and help affect decisions.

I often have chances to speak in front of PPPM classes at the U of O and find it both enjoyable and uplifting. Seeing and hearing young college students (and their professors) who are deeply involved in local affairs gives me hope that the University, the County and the cities in Lane County can continue to strengthen ties to help this tremendous resource that resides in our community to leverage services like never before.

Known far and wide for its athletic team prowess on the track and on the fields and courts, the U of O has nearly 20,000 active students who want to get involved in civic affairs.

They volunteer their services at nonprofits like FOOD for Lane County, help design public places and buildings, clean up the river front and provide valuable input to businesses and governments.

I have interns who work closely with me on detailed research as well as outreach and communication. They have proven to be an indispensible resource to me in my office and in return they receive valuable insights about government and public affairs that they cannot receive inside a classroom.

Maximizing the staff, student and infrastructure of the University of Oregon and Lane Community College can and will help to increase the effectiveness of the teaching programs while pooling public resources to get the best return on public investment.

Travel Lane County–a history of bringing people here. by Pat Farr

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

I have served on the Board of Travel Lane County since 1995 when Mayor Ruth Bascom first appointed me as Eugene City Councilor. Serving on the Board has given me even greater insight about the place I live than I had gained through my 42 years living here. I now serve on the Board as County Commissioner.

Autzen Stadium becomes Oregon's tenth largest "city" seven times each year

Autzen Stadium becomes Oregon’s tenth largest “city” seven times each year

Kayaking on beautiful Fern Ridge Lake near the Orchard Point Marina...only eight minutes from my front doorstep.

Kayaking on beautiful Fern Ridge Lake near the Orchard Point Marina…only eight minutes from my front doorstep.

The Board of Commissioners is charged with allocating revenues raised from the County’s tax on visitor lodgings. Under the Lane Code, a large proportion of the revenue raised must be allocated to tourism marketing. Since its inception, Boards have typically elected to allocate all or nearly all of the tourism marketing funds to Travel Lane County, a local nonprofit formerly called Convention and Visitors Bureau of Lane County (CVALCO).

The County has levied a percentage tax on paid transient lodgings since 1974, codified in Lane Code Chapter 4 (here). Since 1993 a fexed proportion of the revenue raised from this tax has been dedicated to marketing the tourist industry. The amount allocated this year is about $1,800,000 ($1.8 million).

Debi and I with our grand daughter Roxanne at Richardson Marina, about 12 minutes from home

Debi and I with our grand daughter Roxanne at Richardson Marina, about 12 minutes from home

Travel Lane County uses its website and other aggressive marketing techniques to bring people to visit our county. Go here for an exciting view of what people around the world see when deciding on where to spend their vacation.

In 2021 the World Track and Field Games will come to the United States for the first time ever. Lane County has been chosen as the host. See ESPN’s announcement here.

Thousands and thousands of athletes and spectators and media people will converge here showcasing Lane County to millions and millions of viewers and followers around the world.

And what a showcase they will see:

From the west slopes of the Three Sisters Volcanoes

From the west slopes of the Three Sisters Volcanoes

To Heceta Head Lighthouse--the most photographed view on the west coast of the USA...

To Heceta Head Lighthouse–the most photographed view on the west coast of the USA…

…and everything in between:

A lonely mountain highway framing Diamond Peak near Waldo Lake

A lonely mountain highway framing Diamond Peak near Waldo Lake

forest ferns

forest ferns

Historic McKenzie Pass highway, gateway to a world of experiences

Historic McKenzie Pass highway, gateway to a world of experiences

a sunrise over the city of Eugene from our west Eugene bedroom window

a sunrise over the city of Eugene from our west Eugene bedroom window

Looking up the Willamette River from the Valley River bike bridge

Looking up the Willamette River from the Valley River bike bridge

Snowy waterfall in our west Eugene back yard

Snowy waterfall in our west Eugene back yard

Tall spruce trees in Honeyman State Park

Tall spruce trees in Honeyman State Park

Water lilies abounding in Cleawox Lake

Water lilies abounding in Cleawox Lake

Mount Pisgah Arboretum and natural area near the confluence of the Middle and Coast Forks of the Willamette River

Mount Pisgah Arboretum and natural area near the confluence of the Middle and Coast Forks of the Willamette River

Sunset over farmland and the West Eugene Wetlands

Sunset over farmland and the West Eugene Wetlands

Lane County is a World Class place to live and visit

Lane County is a World Class place to live and visit

Tiny gifts for a giant vision of tiny homes. by Pat Farr

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Giving gifts to donors to nonprofit organizations is an often-used method to attract attention, but more significantly give the donors a lasting memory of their contribution to the cause. I offered a tiny gift of a hand-turned pen to donors to Square One Villages’ efforts to fill a gap in the housing ladder that allows homeless people to climb out of homelessness and into possible home ownership (go here).

Samples of pens that were given to donors of $250 or more at Square One Villages fundraiser for Emerald Village Eugene.  More than 50 donors gave over $100,000

Samples of pens that were given to donors of $250 or more at Square One Villages fundraiser for Emerald Village Eugene. More than 50 donors gave over $100,000

Homeless people will have a chance to not only live in a home but build equity. Dan Bryant’s vision of housing homeless people and allowing them to build equity is moving very close to reality. On Sunday September 20 a fundraiser was held at Sweet Cheeks Winery to tell people how building “tiny homes” can give men and women a step up in life that has never been offered before. A chance to live in a very dignified home in a very dignified development and, while paying rent, build equity that can be transferred to down payments for other types of housing.

After seeing samples of the quality of the housing and the remarkable return on investment, both in terms of houses built and opportunities where none existed before, more than 50 donors gave a total of more than $100,000 in cash to help fund the Emerald Village Eugene (EVE) housing project.

Tom Bowerman started the evening with a generous donation which shone a light on the path for other donors to follow.

This example of a tiny home shows that they can look dignified and fit into any neighborhood...

This example of a tiny home shows that they can look dignified and fit into any neighborhood…

Over a dozen architects have provided innovative plans to ensure that Emerald Village will be a welcome addition to Eugene’s housing mix. I believe this pilot program will fuel the drive for other such projects not only here in Lane County but throughout the country.

My National Guard Unit, 2-162d Infantry, stands down. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

We welcomed home the 2nd Battalion of the 162nd Infantry–the “First to Assemble” at a stand-down ceremony on Friday September 26 at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

Welcoming veterans home to housing, jobs and supportive services with Tim Angle of St. Vincent DePaul and SSVF

Welcoming veterans home to housing, jobs and supportive services with Tim Angle of St. Vincent DePaul and SSVF

Thanks to the men and women of my former unit who did what I was never called to do:  serve overseas in combat.