Archive for the ‘Pat Farr’ Category

Mental Health/Drug and Alcohol advisory committee has an opening. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015


I have served on the Mental Health Advisory/Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee for the past 2-1/2 years.  This high impact committee is a board of professional private and public care providers (plus me) who take the work of giving the Board of County Commissioners expert advise on how to best serve their clients and those in need of service while using resources as effectively as possible.

The Lane County Public Service Building, site of Harris Hall.  The City of Eugene is currently leasing space in the building while City Hall is reconstructed.

The Lane County Public Service Building, site of Harris Hall. The City of Eugene is currently leasing space in the building while City Hall is reconstructed.

The work ranges from reviewing strategic planning and operational tactics to identifying new effective ways to provide cures and treatment.  I have listed the current opening on the committee below.  If you’re interested you would join certificated professionals and clients in this important line of work.  For more on the committee work click here.


DATE:        July 16, 2015


CONTACT:  Diana Avery, 541-682-8781

The Lane County Board of Commissioners is seeking applications from citizens interested in serving on the Lane County Mental Health Advisory/Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee (MHA/LADPC).  Committee members’ responsibilities, in addition to serving on the MHA/LADPC, may include serving on a steering committee and will require two daytime meetings per month.  People with interest and background in mental health, developmental disabilities, and addiction issues are encouraged to apply.

MENTAL HEALTH ADVISORY/LOCAL ALCOHOL & DRUG PLANNING COMMITTEE:  Advises the Board of Commissioners and Health & Human Services Department on matters relating to mental health, developmental disabilities, and addiction issues 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.

METING SCHEDULE:  Monthly, third Wednesday of the month at 2:30p.m. – 4:30p.m.  In addition, the successful applicant may also volunteer to serve on the MHA/LADPC steering subcommittee which will entail attendance at that meeting one or two times per month.

VACANCIES:  Three (3) lay-member position representatives of the community with a specific interest and knowledge in mental health, developmental disabilities, and/or addictions issues is open at this time.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT:  Four-year term

MEMBERSHIP:  Thirteen (13).

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Monday, August 17, 2015, 11:30 a.m.

People representing the diversity of our community are encouraged to apply. Applications are available online at and in the Board of Commissioners’ Office located on the 2nd floor of the Public Service Building, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene.

To request an application by mail, please call 541-682-4203.


Lane County has a plan in case of emergencies. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015



Earthquakes?  Tsunamis?  Volcanoes?

In the event of the unimaginable, Lane County Commissioners have a plan.

Lane County logo blue

On June 2, 2015, the Lane County Board of Commissioners conducted a work session on various aspects of emergency preparedness and response by Lane County government in general, the Board and the County Administrator. In addition to the entire Board, Linda Cook, Emergency Manager and Steve Mokrohisky, County Administrator (CAO) attended and participated in the work session.

During the work session the Board identified a number of areas that it wanted discussed and evaluated at another Board meeting:

  1.    1.  A review of Board procedures to make certain that none of the measures taken by the Board are in conflict with the existing Lane County Emergency Operations Plan (EOP);
  2.    2.  Draft and approve a Board Order (BO) to meet the requirements of ORS 476.280;
  3.    3.  Create a template, and fill in as many of the blanks as possible in advance, for the Declaration of Conflagration (and associated BO);
  4.    4.  Agree upon in advance a procedure for calling emergency meetings and notifications for such meetings required by natural or manmade emergencies;
  5.    5.  Create a BO delegating authority for the CAO to expend and commit county resources in the event of an emergency;
  6.    6.  Consider creating an automatic review process that would bring these emergency procedures before the Board each year, possibly in January, for review, possible modification and renewal;
  7.    7.  Determine which emergency preparedness procedures require Board action and which procedures can be implemented by the CAO using the Lane County Administrative Procedures Manual (APM); and
  1. Decide if the Board will pass BO’s with different authority for different emergencies depending upon the nature of the emergency or general BO’s that apply to all emergencies.



Lane County Commissioners are discussing the plan and the report back from the emergency management team on July 21 2015.  For the entire agenda item click here.



Tiny Homes can build equity and provide very affordable places to live. by Pat Farr

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

I will be speaking at Eugene’s City Club tomorrow about a promising new (for our area) concept in affordable housing.

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…This example does not represent designs being considered for EVE…its homes will be on foundations as opposed to wheels…

Dubbed “Emerald Village Eugene” (EVE), this project will provide permanent housing ranging from 120 to 250 square feet for small households of one to three individuals. The monthly payment, including all utilities and fees, is projected to be in the range of $225 to $275/month. Unlike most affordable housing projects, however, the residents will not be renters. Instead, they will be members of a housing cooperative that owns the facilities.

The panel of speakers includes (sic): Speakers: Pat Farr, County Commissioner and member of the Poverty and Homelessness Board of Lane County; Andy Heben, Project Director, SquareOne Villages, and author of Tent City Urbanism; and Dan Hill, co-founder, Arbor South Architecture, and Past President, Lane County Home Builders.  Go here for more information.


Veterans’ Housing Project places another veteran and his family in a new house. by Pat Farr

Friday, June 26th, 2015


The Veterans’ Housing Project has placed another veteran and his family in a home.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Seneca House, the 7th Veterans' Housing Project home

At the ribbon cutting with Lieutenant Colonel San Miguel at the ceremony for the Seneca House, the 7th Veterans’ Housing Project home

Samson Smith, an Army Veteran, and his family moved into their new home on May 26 2015.

The home is a product of a broad coalition of allies who teamed together to make it possible.  The house is called the Seneca House in honor of the Seneca Jones Company which contributed the money for the project.

St Vincent DePaul of Lane County coordinated the project and was joined by Lane County, the City of Eugene and other volunteer groups and organizations.

“While we’re proud this house bears the Seneca name, its not about us,” Todd Payne, General Manager of Seneca Sawmill said.  “It’s about Samson Smith and his family and letting them know how much we value their sacrifice and their service.”

This house and the Veterans’ Housing Project are a part of Operation 365 Veterans, which is dedicated to ensuring that there will be no homeless veterans in Lane County by October 31 2015.  We are more than half way to the goal, having placed more than 180 formerly homeless veterans in homes since the Operation began in November 2014.


Starry Night at Kalapuya High School in Bethel. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015


I joined the Bethel School Board at the graduation ceremony at Kalapuya High School on Terry Street in the Bethel School District.

Graduating Students at Kalapuya High School "flip their tassel" at their graduation on June 16, 2015

Graduating Students at Kalapuya High School “flip their tassel” at their graduation on June 16, 2015

Kalapuya is Bethel’s highly successful alternate high school which offers a means for kids to graduate who otherwise very likely would never have earned a diploma.  The success rate is high:  the forty graduates represent a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT GRADUATION RATE!

With 40 graduates, Kalapuya is larger than many Lane County and Oregon high schools.

Most of the graduates have bested overwhelming obstacles in earning their graduation.  As I watched the graduates with their hopeful faces capping their major success it was very difficult to hold back tears.  Young faces with a strong future stepping boldy forward.

Superintendent Colt Gill, Principal Stephan Aumack and the strong cadre of teachers and aides at the school have every reason to be proud and excited about the accomplishments of these graduating young men and women.

Veterans will receive a broader and deeper level of care. by Pat Farr

Monday, June 15th, 2015


Men and Women who have served the United States in our Armed Forces will soon have shorter waits and drive times to receive medical services.  The Lane County (Eugene) Veterans Clinic is due to open on Chad Drive in January 2016.

An artist's rendering of the soon-to-open Eugene Veterans' Hospital and Clinic

An artist’s rendering of the soon-to-open Eugene Veterans’ Hospital and Clinic

This clinic will give more local area veterans an opportunity to receive medical services at Veterans’ Administration facilities close to home.  Currently many of our men and women who have served overseas travel to the Veterans’ Hospital in Roseburg or in the Portland Metropolitan Area to receive basic care and more advanced medical treatment.  The addition of this new clinic will deliver shorter wait times and broader ranges of services immediately upon opening.

The clinic was originally scheduled to open in March 2015 but was delayed due to a procedural complaint that had been filed against the proposed site.  Such a delay was unfortunate but necessary in order to perform due diligence on demonstrating the correct choice of location for the clinic.

Positions are being filled currently to boost the employment of the Eugene area clinics from current 75 staff members to approximately 120 by the time the clinic opens.  The number of staff members may increase to as many as 235 once all equipment has been added and positions have been filled.

Funding for this project is already secured.  Unlike other facilities around the country, Lane County’s clinic should be completed within the cost range of $60 and $80 million.  The United States Congress has approved funding for the entire project.

The clinic is expected to receive 93,000 patient visits a year with close to 16,000 veterans being served in the new facility. The existing River Ave. location serves close to 10,000 Lane County veterans, but in addition to veterans needing more complex procedures any of those 10,000 patients that require surgery are referred to hospitals in Roseburg or Portland.

The current Roseburg Veterans' Health Care Hospital originally built in 1933

The current Roseburg Veterans’ Health Care Hospital originally built in 1933

While wait times for Oregon veterans seeking medical care have been slow to improve, the new clinic will help wait times and improve service in our immediate area. This will help to avoid long drive and additional wait times for men and women who live in or nearby the upper Willamette Valley.

New services planned for this clinic, that were not previously available, include:

  • Ambulatory Surgery
  • Audiology and Speech Pathology
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Dental
  • Gastroenterology
  • Optometry
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Podiatry
  • Urology
  • Laboratory
  • Imaging
  • Prosthetics
  • Dispensing Pharmacy

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

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015


On June 1 I hosted a workshop, along with Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, to strategize effective ways to complete our goal of housing all homeless veterans in Lane County by November 1 2015.

Speaking to the workshop of over 60 participants

Speaking to the workshop of over 60 participants

More than 60 participants engaged in an afternoon-long deep discussion to develop an action plan of strategies to meet the goal.

I listed successes we have had in the first half of the plan that have resulted in finding  places to live for about half of the veterans identified as homeless last fall.

St. Vincent DePaul's Veterans' Homeless Project has resulted in seven houses being provided for veteran families, including the Seneca House, dedicated last month.

St. Vincent DePaul’s Veterans’ Homeless Project has resulted in seven houses being provided for veteran families, including the Seneca House, dedicated last month.

Breakout sessions including focusing on micro-housing and landlord participation helped create an action list of ways to draw community support and participation in meeting our goal

Participants travelled from around the state and included Margaret Salazar from HUD and Andy Smith from Association of Oregon Counties.

Over sixty participants with strong expertise and interest in housing veterans engaged in productive discussion.

Over sixty participants with strong expertise and interest in housing veterans engaged in productive discussion.

A challenge was issued for the participants to take action in specific areas within one week of the close of the action workshop.

I will be providing updated on the progress and details of actions that are being taken.


Emergency response in Lane County now has a plan. By Pat Farr

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Lane County logo blue

In mid-July, on a very hot night in 2014, Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner called me—at about 2:30 am—to alert me of an emergency.  Wild fires were burning out of control throughout south and east Lane County and spreading into Douglas, Deschutes and Klamath Counties.

State and Federal elite and emergency fire fighters were being airlifted into our area to risk their lives controlling the conflagration.  They needed a place to assemble.  The place had to be central to the lightning strikes that were causing the fires and had to be accessible to helicopters and large pieces of equipment.  Bunking and sanitation facilities were desired.

Such a place existed: it was the mothballed Lane County Forest Work Camp at Alta, located in the Coast Mountains 35 miles southeast of Eugene.  The Sheriff was asking for my authority to grant access to the county facility.

Of course I said, “Yes,” and the facility was opened and the suppression and control began.  The only problem was:  I did not have the authority statutorily to grant the authority to the Sheriff to open the facility.  I was in violation of law and potentially subject to penalty.

But under the circumstances, of course I had done the right thing.  And maximum resource use happened and the fires were controlled far more quickly than if the camp had remained closed.

Emergencies happen without a plan.  In this case all involved parties praised the decision, but I still acted without authority.

We are currently developing an emergency plan that would delineate absolutely the chain of command in authorizing use of county resources and facilities in case of emerging disasters.

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.