Archive for the ‘Pat Farr’ Category

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.

Jail beds provided by the public safety levy keep violent offenders behind bars. reported by Pat Farr

Monday, October 27th, 2014


Sheriff Turner and I celebrate the passage of 20-213 on May 21 2013

Sheriff Turner and I celebrate the passage of ballot measure 20-213 on May 21 2013…Since then we are happy to report that dangerous criminals are now staying lodged in the Lane County Jail…

In May of 2013 the voters of Lane County passed a local option levy that funded additional jail beds in the Lane County Jail.  We are pleased to report back a fiscal year comparison of capacity based releases (CBRs) for the year prior to the levy and the year following the levy.  As many community members know, prior to the levy, the lack of funded jail beds resulted in the early release of defendants and offenders each day.  Many of these early releases went on to commit more crimes and create more victims.   Thanks to community support and the desire for a safer Lane County, we are headed in the right direction.

In July of 2013 with the passage of the public safety levy, the jail opened 131 previously empty beds, increasing the capacity for local defendants and offenders to 256 beds.  Since the opening of the additional jail beds, CBRs have decreased significantly.  In the fiscal year following the levy (FY 13/14), the number of CBRs dropped almost 75% to 1,289 (as compared to 5,129 in the prior FY).  Please see the chart below to view CBRs for FY 12/13 and FY 13/14.

This chart shows the dramatic decrease in early jail releases

This chart shows the dramatic decrease in early jail releases

Prior to the levy between January and June 2013, 123 pretrial defendants who were being held on violent felonies were released early due to lack of funded jail beds.  Since the passage of the levy and the opening of the additional beds, that number is down to zero. 

Between January and June of 2013, the jail was forced to release 21 Measure 11 pretrial defendants.  Since the passage of the levy and the opening of the additional beds, that number is down to zero.

The additional jail beds provided by the public safety levy have assisted in keeping dangerous defendants and offenders in jail, allowing for safer neighborhoods and an increased quality of life. 

The Sheriff’s Office and the Board of County Commissioners thank the community for their support in helping keep Lane County a great place to live!

(And Thank you, Sergeant Carrie Carver for this report)

If Ballot Measure 91 passes and selling and using marijuana becomes legal in Oregon. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014


Signing LCPOA 091714


WHEREAS, Lane County is a Home Rule Charter county with all powers which the constitutions, statutes and common law of the United States and this State expressly or impliedly grant or allow counties, as full as though its Charter specifically enumerated each of those powers, as well as all powers not inconsistent with the foregoing and, in addition thereto, shall possess all powers herinafter specifically granted…

…The amount of tax levied shall be 50% of the rate imposed by Measure 91, Section 33 or any clarifying legislation adopted by the Oregon Legislature taxing marijuana related items…

Passed by the Lane County Board of Commissioners on October 21,2014 with Stewart, Leiken, Bozievich and Farr as “aye,” Sorenson as “nay.”

See the full agenda item here, including full text of the passed ordinance.


Engage with Lane County. by Pat Farr

Friday, October 17th, 2014


Tell the County Commissioners what you think!  Here’s a way to let Pete Sorenson, Faye Stewart, Jay Bozievich, Sid Leiken and me know exactly what you think.  Without a three-minute time limit!  Engage with Lane County here.

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

Commissioners and County Administrator Steve Mokrohiski WILL READ WHAT YOU WRITE.  Some things to ponder:

  • Sick leave ordinances
  • Marijuana taxes
  • Strategic planning
  • Public safety
  • Health and Human Services
  • Land use
  • Roads and bridges
  • Parks
  • Animal Services
  • The economy and jobs


Please sign in and start writing…


People sound off about marijuana sales and taxes. By Pat Farr

Friday, October 10th, 2014


I am looking for input on the ballot question regarding legal selling of marijuana, and if it becomes legal for sale, should it be taxed (see Lane County’s draft ordinance here).  You can send me a message here.

Most responses are:  if it's legal to sell marijuana, then YES, tax it...

Most responses are: if it’s going to be legal to sell marijuana for “recreational” use, then YES, tax it…


Here are some of the early (unedited) responses I have received.  There will be more:

Well everything else is taxed, why shouldn’t marijuana be if it’s legalized? That’s not “looking for ways to penalize”. That is simply treating it equally like everything else.

Honestly, I think legalizing marijuana and taxing it makes sense to me.

Legal and taxed. Diversified revenue streams!

Yes pass it. Yes tax it. Yes control the distribution.

I don’t believe marijuana should be legal but if a majority of people disagree with me then I do believe it should be taxed.

I was having a conversation about this last night with folks, talking about the new job, where I’ll be working alone in the woods a lot…and we realized that since I’ll be in Washington, there’s probably much less chance of me walking into illegal marijuana grows than there has been here and in California. Which is something to think about, given the new data out about how much damage illegal grow sites do to salmon and other fisheries (water comes out of creeks, mud goes in — I can find the article if you’re curious).

I don’t use, myself, and have no interest in doing so, but it’s pretty clear marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked and that the consequences of the current illegal market are bad for our forests. That being the case, I think it makes sense to create a regulated legal market so we can reduce the damage being done by illegal operations.

Well by that argument clearly our prohibition on cocaine, crack, herion, pcp, LSD, and most definitely meth haven’t worked. Should we just legalize all of those too?

Yes, legalized and taxed.

I’m pretty sure nobody’s growing cocaine in the woods in Oregon. And as far as I can tell, the anti-meth measures in Oregon haven’t done anything but make it harder for me to buy effective cold medicine, so I’m not sure what I think about that

My feeling is that the mexican Cartels will suffer from one less trafficked substance across our border.

Legal yes. Taxed, but not so much that a black market is more affordable.

I just can’t even believe this is a question! I can’t support something that has been illegal, that we’ve lost so many police officers because of, so much heartache has been caused by and now it’s to be legal? Oh no, I can’t support this!

I really wanted to speak about this, but….realizing that this City ( which we share) will never be able to be in control of any illegalities and/or legalities. I’ve seen hardly any improvements from the day I moved to Eugene in general and this was 25 years ago. The whole thing is all about money and we, the Tax payers have to continue to bleed, one way or another!

Idaho anyone?

For sure!

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. We are asking for nothing but trouble if we legalize this stuff

Want to clarify that I favor legalizing pot.

Pat, I normally don’t comment unless people ask so here goes. If the measure passes, every agency will look to this as a new untapped revenue source. There will be lots of reasons attached to the proposals about needed revenue for public safety and all the consequences. I believe some of this may be true, but my feeling is most officials are just looking for more money or a way to penalize the legalization of marijuana.

Well everything else is taxed, why shouldn’t marijuana be if it’s legalized? That’s not “looking for ways to penalize”. That is simply treating it equally like everything else.


An ordinance to tax recreational marijuana sales in Lane County. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014


Allow recreational marijuana sales and use in Oregon or not?  Tax recreational marijuana sales in Lane County or not?

Ballot measure 91 would allow for the sale and recreational use of marijuana products in Oregon.  Lane County ordinance 14-16 (draft) would tax it.

Ballot measure 91 would allow for the sale and recreational use of marijuana products in Oregon. Lane County ordinance 14-16 (draft) would tax it.

This morning, October 7 2014, Lane County”s Board of Commissioners passed a first reading and authorized a second reading and public hearing regarding taxing recreational marijuana sales in Lane County.

The motion that passed 4-1 (Bozievich, Leiken, Stewart and Farr, yes; Sorenson, no) was pertaining to this agenda item:

FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-16/ In the Matter of Establishing a Tax on the Sale of Marijuana and Marijuana-Infused Products in Lane County (Relating to Measure 91).

The public hearing has been set for October 21 at 1:30 pm in Harris Hall.  This gives the public an opportunity to weigh in on the upcoming decision by County Commissioners whether to tax marijuana sales in Lane County should Oregon Ballot Measure 91 pass on November 4 of this year.

The draft ordinance can be read here.

You can read about Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91 here.

Between now and October 21 you can let Commissioners know how you feel.  Send comments to me before October 20, 2014 and I will pass them along to the other commissioners via public email.

There is a robust ongoing discussion regarding the social and budgetary impacts of the passage of such laws.  Stay tuned, and please weigh in.


Shall Lane County tax marijuana? by Pat Farr

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014


TAXING POT IN LANE COUNTY?  Let me know what you think: 

There are public hearings and possible referral to a “second reading” regarding marijuana and marijuana-infused products taxation at the Board of County Commissioners meeting today, October 7 2014.


  1.       FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-14/ In the Matter of Establishing a Tax on the Sale of Marijuana and       Marijuana-Infused Products in Lane County. (Second Reading and Public Hearing 10/27/14) (Stephen Dingle, County Counsel, Sara Chinske, Management Analyst) (estimated 20 minutes
  2.        FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-16/ In the Matter of Establishing a Tax on the Sale of Marijuana and Marijuana-Infused Products in Lane County (Relating to Measure 91).  (Stephen Dingle, County Counsel, Sara Chinske, Management Analyst) (estimated 20 minutes)

Second reading is where further deliberation and possible ordinance passage occurs.

Go here to see the full agenda and links to relating material.

Pat Farr, Chair,

Lane County

Board of Commissioners

Visit one of the most picturesque places in Oregon…Buford Park. by Pat Farr

Friday, September 26th, 2014


Visit Friends of Buford Park here...Then actually visit the park here

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

Buford Park, Mt. Pisgah, Emerald Meadows and the associated park and preservation land are a regional gem…

Lane County will be conducting a prescribed ecological burn at the Howard Buford Recreation Area and the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence preserve on September 29 or 30, weather permitting. The ecological burn will help preserve and restore prairie and oak savanna habitat.

“Burning is a regular and natural part of the environment in these natural areas,” said Mike Russell, Lane County Parks manager. “We work closely with Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority and our River’s to Ridges partners throughout the area to make sure the burn is safe and will not disrupt the community.”

The ecological burn will be performed in the northwest corner of the park and include habitat on the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence property. Ecological burns are always dependent on weather. If postponed, an update will be provided to the community by notification to the media.

During the ecological burn, the following changes will be in place:

  • North trailhead and Trails 3 and 7 will be closed
  • Trail 17 from the west trailhead to trail 7 will remain open
  • Trail 3 south beyond the junction with trail 7 will remain open
  • The burn will not impact the west and east trailheads
  • Trails in the arboretum will not be affected
  • The west summit trail will remain open

Visitors to the park should be aware of possible smoky conditions and restricted access to the northwest portion of the park during implementation of the burn.

Lane County’s ecological burns are conducted in partnership with the Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Why the County conducts ecological burning:

The ecological burn is being performed as a tool for the management of vegetation in the Spring Box Savanna to help re-establish historically native plant communities in these rare Willamette Valley habitats. The Willamette Valley was once dominated by savannas and prairies rich with diverse grass and wildflower species. This ecosystem requires regular disturbance like fire to maintain native species and to prevent conversion of open prairie to a closed woodland or forest. Historically, disturbance was provided through regular intentional burning by native people or ignition by lightning. Many of our native prairie plants, such as camas and the federally endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium, have evolved with fire for thousands of years and flourish after a site is burned.

Ecological burns in the park’s prairies accomplish several biological and fire safety goals including improved seed germination, removal of built up thatch, and short-term soil fertilization.  All of these factors help native, fire-dependent species thrive like the rare western Meadowlark, Oregon’s state bird, which nests in prairies (grasslands). In addition, controlled burns protect the open prairie structure, as well as reduce the future risks of wildfires to local residences through the removal of standing dead vegetation. The burns are also a training opportunity for the firefighting crews.