Archive for the ‘Pat Farr’ Category

Lane County rewarded for five years of excellent leadership in financial management. by Pat Farr

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

STARTING SIX YEARS AGO Lane County Board of Commissioners has overseen continuing excellence in financial management

 

On Wednesday July 17 I received this message about Lane County’s continuing improvement in financial management that has resulted in its second credit rating upgrade:

“Dear Pat:

“Citing “prudent, proactive leadership,” Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Lane County’s credit rating from Aa2 to Aa1, which is the second highest rating it provides.
 
“This latest upgrade is a result of diligent efforts over several years to create structurally balanced budgets, lower debt, manage benefit costs and increase reserves.

“In addition to financial stewardship of taxpayer resources, Lane County has also stabilized and increased service levels in several critical areas, including public health, safety and infrastructure.

“Moody’s highlighted Lane County’s “strong finances, prudent management and low debt” as strengths that led to its decision to upgrade the County’s rating. In its credit analysis, released on July 15, 2019, Moody’s stated that Lane County’s “five year operating history was unusually strong for 2014-2018” due to prudent financial management. It also noted: “The fiscal 2020 budget marks the third consecutive budget without draws on reserves to support operations, and did not include layoffs or service reductions” and “employee healthcare benefit costs remain in-check for the fourth consecutive year.”

“This decision is particularly notable given the fact that Lane County receives the third lowest per capita local revenue among the 36 counties in Oregon. Our focus is to make sound financial decisions with our limited resources by proactively managing expenses and investing in services that improve lives in Lane County.

“In 2017, Moody’s upgraded Lane County’s credit rating from Aa3 to Aa2. Additionally, independent financial auditor Moss Adams, LLP has rated Lane County as a low-risk auditee for several years in a row. In 2016, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office removed Lane County from a list of high-risk counties in regard to its financial health due to the County’s efforts to create long-term financial stability.”

LANE COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH ONE OF ONLY 11 PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENTS NATIONWIDE TO BE GRANTED INITIAL ACCREDIDATION STATUS. by Pat Farr

Friday, June 28th, 2019

Lane County Board of Commissioners also serves as the Board of Health

Last week, the nation Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) granted Lane County Public Health initial accreditation status. To receive national initial accreditation through PHAB, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of public health quality standards and measures. Lane County Public Health has been undergoing this review process for the last several years.

“The value of becoming a PHAB-accredited health department extends far beyond the interior walls of the health department,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “People living and working in the communities served by these health departments can be assured that their health department is strong and has the capacity to protect and promote their health. Just going through the accreditation process itself helps health departments pinpoint the areas that are critical to improving the work they do for their communities.”

Lane County Public Health (LCPH) plays a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people in communities across Lane County by providing a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to health emergencies. New research and best practices are helping to make this task more efficient and effective, and accreditation is one way to insure LCPH is staying on track and up to speed.

Homelessness in San Diego, Houston, Lane County has similar faces. Tony the Movie is a must watch. by Pat Farr

Friday, June 7th, 2019

 

On June 6 2019 I joined an audience of perhaps a hundred at the Bijou Arts Cinemas to watch a screening of “Tony the Movie” at the invitation of Reverend Wayne Martin.

Tony the Movie inspires watchers to take action

The movie follows Tony Rodriguez, a homeless man in San Diego, through days and weeks of his life.  He accompanies a news reporter to other cities to see first-hand how chronic homelessness has been addressed in those communities.

As the movie progresses, watchers are shown examples of how regional action committees have been established to provide effective housing to transform homeless support systems.  “Housing First”, Permanent Supportive Housing, has proven effective across the nation to efficiently and humanely end the cycle of homelessness for people with behavioral health conditions.  Lane County’s Poverty and Homelessness Board is such a “committee.”

The audience included housed people who are excited about finding solutions in Lane County as well as people who are living on the streets.

Wayne Martin asked for impressions after the movie and heard a number of quotes, including these:

“I get off work at 2 in the morning and then I need to find a place to sleep.  The stress builds up inside me, and all the money I earn is used to just survive…”

“I have a home now.  A lot has been going on here in the last 12 months…”

While the movie elicits deep emotion as you watch Tony trying “to live in society” while working, storing his belongings daily and being moved along regularly, it also gives a ray of hope and anticipation of how Lane County and its cities are pro-actively working together to help men and women and families “live in society.”

You can watch the movie here.  

 

The recently concluded “TAC Report”–a shelter feasibility study–has given birth to an action plan that will include strategies with short- and long-term tactics to “Transform our Homeless Support System.”

If you are interested in seeing, hearing and reading more please contact me via my public email at pat.farr@co.lane.or.us , please reference “Tony.”  I will give links and lists of how plans are being laid to make an immediate difference and tie future solutions to existing efforts.

Evening Lane County Commission Public Forums will be held to accommodate day workers, Diana Jones publishes schedule. by Pat Farr.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

 

On May 21 I suggested that Lane County Commissioners begin holding evening public comment sessions to facilitate testimony from people with day jobs.

Late in the day on May 21, 2019 I suggested that the board of Lane County Commissioners begin holding monthly evening public comment sessions in order to accommodate people who work days and are unable to state their opinion at our regular board meetings on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. See the webcast of the May 21 meeting here.

In 1997, as President of the Eugene City Council, I changed public forum sessions from once monthly to each Monday regularly scheduled meeting.  My change was received with enthusiasm and that schedule continues to this day.

At the regular Board of Commissioners meeting on May 21 a large number of people signed up for public comment, usually held from just after 9 am until all comments had been received and ending before 9:30 most meeting days.  On that day so many people wanted to testify on one particular subject that others had to leave before their turn to talk was called.  Time certain agenda items were delayed causing staff and other presenters to wait beyond their allocated time or leave the meeting.

At my suggestion, the Lane County Board of Commissioners is increasing opportunity for public participation by holding regular evening public comment sessions. The evening public comment sessions are in addition to the regular daytime opportunities.

 The evening public comment sessions will generally be held on the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. (I initially suggested 5:00 pm) in Harris Hall, as long as there is also a regular, daytime meeting scheduled on that date.

Public comment will last from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and be open to all Lane County residents to comment on any topic. Speakers will be given a maximum of three minutes.

The currently scheduled evening public comment sessions for 2019 are:

  • Tuesday, June 18, at 5:30 p.m. in Willamalane’s Ken Long Room (250 S. 32nd Street, Springfield)
  • Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene)
  • Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene)
  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene)
  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene)

 I would like to thank the Board of Commissioners, including Jay Bozievich, Joe Berney, Heather Buch and Pete Sorenson for unanimously supporting my recommendation for evening public comment sessions, and particularly thank Diana Jones for building the schedule.

Scheduled evening public comment sessions are listed on the County’s online calendar at www.lanecounty.org/calendar.

Giving Veterans a Home. by Pat Farr

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

A new house for returning Veterans.

Volunteers and Veterans gather in front of Veterans House for its dedication

St. Vincent DePaul of Lane County and Bethel School District teamed with a host of volunteers and veterans to refurbish, remodel and repurpose this house in west Eugene to serve as a home for the household of a veteran returning from active duty.  Here.

School Board Chair Debi Farr, Superintendent Chris Parra and Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis at the dedication of Bethel Schools and St. Vincent DePaul Veterans House in Bethel

This house becomes a part of the tremendous effort in Lane County to house homeless veterans.  Operation 365 in 2015/6 housed over 400 veterans’ families in a single year and has housed over 500 more since.  Here.

Henry Farr’s memorial flag flies on the lawn of Veteran House 10 in Bethel. Henry served in the Royal Navy

 

Brenda Wilson, Pete Kerns and Jon Ruiz at the VetHouse dedication on April 4 2019

Flakiest crust ever tops these turkey pot pies. “The Only Pie Crust I’m Ever Going To Use.” by Pat Farr

Monday, February 25th, 2019

Sour cream helps make this crust remarkably light and flaky…

I adapted this crust from a classic recipe.  I wasn’t sure how it would come out of the oven when I put it in…Here’s the result: it is the flakiest, tastiest I’ve ever had…would work well for pasties, fruit pies or quiche.

Recipe: The Only Pie Crust I’m Ever Going To Use 

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 c     All purpose flour
  • 1/2 c         Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c         Shortening
  • 1 t             Salt
  • 8 T           Ice water
  • 1/2 c        Sour cream

Sift the flour and salt together.  Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mix until it becomes small (tiny, that is) chunks.  With a fork, stir the water into the blend and incorporate fully.  Stir in the sour cream and form the dough into a ball.  Refrigerate for an hour.  For a fruit pie you can add 2 T granulated sugar, but it’s not necessary.  You can also add a little more salt if you’d like it a bit more savory.

Form six balls and roll into 6-1/2″ rounds.  This (obviously) makes enough for six six-inch pot pies.  It’s also just enough for a top and bottom crust on an apple pie (my personal favorite fruit pie…) or for a dozen Yorkshire Pasties (here).

Use it with you favorite pot-pie filling.  Here’s mine:

Recipe:  Turkey Pot Pies

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs.     Cooked moist turkey breast
  • 1 lb.       Tiny baby carrots or chopped carrots
  • 1 c          Chopped onions
  • 1 c          Chopped Celery
  • 1c           Or more frozen peas
  •                Garlic, sage, pepper to taste
  •                Enough rich chicken stock to barely cover veggies (less peas)
  •                Flour and water slurry to thicken

Simmer the veggies (less peas) and spices in the chicken stock until they are just barely tender.  Add the turkey and bring to a boil.  Add the slurry and stir until very thick.  You can add a little half and half but keep the stock very thick.  Add the peas and simmer until they are warmed through.  You can cool it now to use later or ladle into pot pie bowls immediately.

Top with The Only Pie Crust I’m Ever Going To Use rounds and bake at 425-degrees until golden brown, check at 15 minutes…

Yorkshire pudding becomes a classic toad-in-the-hole. by Pat Farr

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

 

Classic Toad-in-the-Hole doesn’t have to be rough or boring.

Classic “Toad-in-the-hole” does not have to be rough or boring. This Italiano version incorporates Italian Cheeses with basil-garlic chicken meatballs

When you take a time-honored Yorkshire pudding recipe and cooking technique, like the one I inherited from my mother and she from her mother, and add pieces of English bangers it becomes toad-in-the-hole.

TIH was served in school, at restaurants and in my home when I was growing up in Sheffield.  This simple variation lets you know how only your imagination holds you back from a broad variety of options.

Ingredients:

2c     Flour

1c      Milk and water

3        Eggs

1T       each, chopped oregano, chopped fresh garlic (or to taste)

pinch black pepper, salt to taste

12      cooked seasoned chicken meatballs or chicken sausage chunks

12T   Mozarella cheese

12×1/2t     Parmesan Cheese

vegetable oil for cooking

Beat the flour, liquid, eggs and spices until smooth.   Add more or less of the liquid to make a pancake-batter consistency smooth mix.  This can be made early and reserved until ready to cook.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Add the oil to muffin (or Yorkshire pudding) tins and bring to oven temperature.

Fill the tins nearly to the top with the batter, in the hot oil.  Place a meatball in the middle and spoon and sprinkle the Italian cheeses on top.

Bake in the oven until fully risen and golden brown, check after 15 minutes.

You can serve this version of TIH with a marinara sauce…

Substitute any meat you love and any spice blend to compliment the meat:  boudin blanc, Mexican, Hawaiian–you be the creator!

Students at Willamette High School are leading the way to government policy changes. by Pat Farr

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Willamette High School seniors Nate and Harrison met with me in my office on February 3 2019 to plan strategies for implementing their ideas about shelter and housing

Willamette High School social studies teacher Leslie Simmons each school year has students complete a public policy project.  Together she and fellow teacher Steve Miller help them prepare a two-day Public Policy Forum.

The students select a policy they believe needs to be addressed. It can be anything from filling potholes to school funding to immigration. The student do the research and determine a pathway for moving their policy through local, state, or federal law.

Then they prepare a report and display.  Policy makers and educators participate in interviewing students and scoring these projects.

In January this year I participated for the third time.  I met groups of students from three classes over the course of the days on January 23 and 24 in the WilHi media center.  It is among the most enjoyable things I have done as an elected official.

Each year I have been amazed at the choices of policy changes–or laws–that they bring to the forum.  This year the preparation through research, report-writing and display presentation reached a new high.  The students were in groups of two to four and gave convincing arguments that would deliver results through formal city, county or state policy processes.

I personally attended 22 presentations by these remarkable high school seniors. Among the reports I reviewed and evaluated were:

  • Sex Trafficking–not in my state!
  • Delta Highway-Beltline Road interchange improvements
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Distracted Driving and Texting
  • Teen Homelessness
  • Bully Prevention
  • Fighting Hunger and Malnutrition
  • Homeless Shelter on Public Property
  • Protecting Pollenators

 

Several of the student teams will meet with me and others to plan strategies for implementation and expansion of their ideas.

Students receive this clear advise: “It is essential that students are in class while we prepare for the Policy Project. Failure to attend can devastate your grade!”  But my experience is that these high school seniors are participating for far more than just a good grade in a class…

 

To see the detailed assignment given to the students, including selection and preparation checklists,  visit this site:  Mrs. Simmons and Mr. Miller’s page

 

MLK Memorial quotes do not include “I have a dream…” by Pat Farr

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

“The measure of a man…” is one of 14 quotes carved in marble at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC is positioned steps away from the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King delivered his world-changing speech on August 28, 1963.

Along with the majestic statue of Dr. King, the Memorial includes 14 quotes carved in marble. The selection of quotes was selected by a specially appointed panel and includes selections from sermons and speeches delivered throughout King’s career. The selections intentionally omit King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in order to highlight some of his lesser known words.

Here are the quotes:

“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

“I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.”

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

“It is not enough to say, ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.”

“We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

Lane County’s strong commitment to housing and shelter is demonstrated by its Housing Improvement Plan. by Pat Farr

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

In 2018 Lane County Board of Commissioners, in its budget process, allocated $2,000,000 to its newly formed Housing Improvement Plan (HIP).

Lane County and the Homes for Good Housing Authority are partnering to break ground on this 51-apartment housing first project, The Commons on MLK, adjacent to Lane County Behavioral Health campus.  It is one of five permanent supportive housing projects recently funded in part by Lane County’s Housing Improvement Plan.

On January 12 the board gave $1.5m to five local housing projects that had been selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

The announcement the Board of Commissioners posted in 2018 stated:
“Lane County hereby solicits applications from cities, public agencies, private foundations, non-profit charities, healthcare organizations, affordable housing developers and supportive services providers for planning, development, and construction of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Applications may include new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of existing units for PSH. 

In addition to Permanent Supportive housing needs, Lane County recognizes that housing affordability is a significant countywide issue, particularly as it relates to the diversity, supply and affordability of housing options. Therefore, the County will also consider proposals that offer solutions to the broader challenges of housing affordability and that designate some of the units for PSH.”

The projects selected are directly tied to the Lane County Strategic Plan and the Poverty and Homelessness Board’s Strategic Plan.  The Poverty and Homelessness Board’s Governance Charter guides its ongoing work.  The PHB charter and strategic plan lay within Lane County’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan.

The projects selected for funding by the Board of Commissioners are:

  • Tiny House project, $200,000: Permanent supportive housing for individuals with criminal histories vulnerable to homelessness due to a shortage of affordable housing available to those with felony convictions. Five duplexes will be built to 10 people to live in on property adjacent to Sponsors’ Roosevelt Crossing facility. Sponsors will own and manage the units, offering below-market rents. Construction is slated to begin this spring.
  • Polk Apartments expansion, $550,000: Permanent supportive housing for 10 former foster youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. A mix of studio and single-room occupancy units will be added to an existing complex that currently houses 12 former foster youth for a total of 22. NEDCO owns the property and will manage the units. Construction is set to begin this fall.
  • Cottage Village project, $500,000: Thirteen tiny houses will provide affordable housing for those with low incomes (under 50 percent of median income) or very low incomes (under 30 percent of median income). The community will be built by SquareOne Villages and operate as a limited-equity housing cooperative. Construction is slated to begin this month.
  • Legion Cottages project, $250,000: A joint project of the American Legion, City of Cottage Grove and Homes for Good, it will develop four tiny homes to serve homeless veterans referred and case managed by the St. Vincent de Paul Vet LIFT program, which serves homeless veterans dually diagnosed with substance abuse and mental health issues. Construction is slated to begin this fall.
  • The Commons on MLK, $500,000: Fifty-one units of permanent supportive housing primarily targeted toward chronically homeless individuals who meet Frequent Users Systems Engagement criteria. Lane County also has transferred property adjacent to Lane County Behavioral Health to Homes for Good for this project. Construction is scheduled to begin in June.

These projects help fulfill goals of the HIP that include:

 Seed and incentivize a community effort to build Permanent Supportive Housing and to increase the supply of affordable housing in Lane County.

 Spark investment and leverage other public and private sector partners.

 Move quickly, with clearly defined outcomes, budgets and timelines to catalyze shovel-ready projects.