Oregon Trees survive and grow. by Pat Farr

Thursday, June 26th, 2014


Patrick and Evan Farr kayaking on Fern Ridge Lake

Patrick and Evan Farr kayaking on Fern Ridge Lake

I love this picture.  Our two sons are kayaking on Fern Ridge Lake just west of our home in Eugene. I am a preservationist, and we preservationists have to be happy to see the backdrop of Douglas fir trees in their many phases of growth.  In this picture you see old growth, second growth, third growth and ornamentally planted Doug fir, which is (as you likely know) our state tree.

Oh, off to the left you see a clear cut, also.

A year-round Farmers’ Market downtown Eugene: discussions are under way. by Pat Farr

Sunday, May 4th, 2014


Who wouldn’t want to see a year-round farmers’ market replace the current, highly popular but seasonal and Saturday only (plus an occasional Thursday) market that exists today?

If you've been to the weekend Farmers' Market in Eugene you know it can be crowded

If you’ve been to the weekend Farmers’ Market in Eugene you know it can be crowded

Here’s the deal:  there’s a bunch of talk going on about a land-swap deal between Lane County and the City of Eugene ( see video here). There are so many reasons that the deal won’t work.  Trading one half-city-block for another goes against all reasonable thinking.

Eugene and Lane County have started talking about trading the “Butterfly Parking Lot” for the eastern half of the block that formerly housed Eugene’s City Hall.  As soon as the talk began, people began amassing the many reasons that will not work.  Where will people park?  What about Eugene and Mary Skinner’s original (mid-1800’s) view of what downtown Eugene should look like?  What about the disparity in value of the two parcels?  The list goes on, and grows daily.

So why now do I find myself talking with the editorial boards of both The Register-Guard and Eugene Weekly about the subject?  And, why am I joined by Mayor Kitty Piercy and City Manager and assistant Jon Ruiz and Sarah Medary as well as interim County Administrator Alicia Hays in these discussions.

The answer:  because there are compelling reasons that now is the first time in history that the swap may make sense.  The discussion involves Lane County giving up the butterfly lot, which is currently slated for a replacement County Court House and allowing Eugene to enter an agreement with Lane County Farmers’ Market to position a year-round market in that space.  At the same time Eugene would give up half of its current City Hall block for a future Lane County Court House.

The idea could work beautifully.  And it could be a bust.  But the time is correct right now to look at all of the reasons pro- and con.

Whereas, if you've been to the Farmers' Market in Olympia you know it is a great place to hang out...

Whereas, if you’ve been to the year-round Farmers’ Market in Olympia you know it is a great place to buy an amazing variety of fresh food in a comfortable setting, meet friends, have lunch, entertain visitors or simply hang out…

There will be a joint public forum with the Lane County Board of Commissioners and the Eugene City Council on June 3 2014, 6 pm at Harris Hall to hear from you why or why not the two governments should pursue the concept.

Fast Food Only Restaurant Tax Ballot Test

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Would you support the restaurant tax if fast food restaurants were exempted?

For complete poll results, click here.

Restaurant Tax Ballot Test

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Do you support or oppose a City of Eugene restaurant tax to make up the revenue shortfall?

For complete poll results, click here.

Dealing with Eugene Revenue Shortfall

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Should Eugene increase revenues or cut expenditures to solve the revenue shortfall?

For complete poll results, click here.

Where is Eugene’s Economy Heading?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

In general, do you feel Eugene’s economy is heading in the right direction or do you think things have gotten off on the wrong track?

For complete poll results, click here.

Is Eugene’s Economic Growth Fast Enough?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Do you believe that recent economic growth in Eugene has been too fast, too slow, or just about right?

For complete poll results, click here.

Eugene Budget: Raise Revenue or Cut Expenditures?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Should the city of Eugene increase revenues or cut expenditures to address the $6 million dollar shortfall?

For complete poll results, click here.

Welcome to Oregon: Where Trees Keep Growing. by Pat Farr

Friday, September 20th, 2013


Last year I was forced to remove eight cypress trees from my back yard because a spring snow storm had severely damaged the boughs, snapping a lot of them and causing a pretty serious hazard in my yard and my neighbor’s.  It was sad, especially because, in taking out the evergreens, the sub canopy of vine maple had been reduced to stump.  A little over a year later, however, the vine maple has returned to the point that it is nearly eight feet tall, with multiple trunks.  When it loses its leaves this year I will have to prune it fairly extensively.  It seems that trees just want to grow here in Oregon.

Forests keep growing 020316oregon_forest_file403


This is a picture of trees doing just that.  It shows at least four stages of harvest and reforesting.  Law requires that if forest land is harvested it has to be replanted in a timely fashion.  My experience is that even if law did not require it, that would happen any way.  Either naturally or by human intervention.  That’s just the way it is.

Compare the facts to an advertisement recently placed in Eugene’s Airport baggage claim area showing a clear-cut hillside and stating “Welcome to Oregon, Home of the Clear Cut.”  The owner of the advertisement proudly offers their website for travelers arriving in Lane County to visit.  (Portland International Airport, by the way, refused to place the ad.)  To see the ad and the related Register-Guard article, click here.

In place of the website offered in the misleading ad, I would offer the following link to see what is really happening in the great forests of our state:  Northwest Oregon State Forests Management Plan.

It includes guiding principles, of which this is number one:

1. The plan will recognize that the goal for management of Board of Forestry Lands is to
secure the greatest permanent value to the citizens of Oregon by providing healthy,
productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape
provide a full range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of
Oregon. The goal for management of Common School Forest Land is the maximization
of income to the Common School Fund over the long term.

Now doesn’t that seem like a plan we can grow with?

Lane County Board of Commissioners will Review the Annual Report on Tourism in Lane County. by Pat Farr

Sunday, September 8th, 2013


The Lane County Board of Commissioners has a goal of increasing employment in Lane County using our abundance of natural resources.  Along with forest land, agricultural and food processing opportunities and optimized land use, tourism ranks as one of our greatest assets.

The Eugene Cascades and Coast annual report  will be presented to the Lane County Board of County Commissioners at their Tuesday September 10 regular board meeting.  Travel Lane County recently received $1.7 million in allocation from the county’s transient room tax funds to promote travel and conventions in Lane County.  See the full report by clicking on the link above.

Over the weekend Debi and I traveled the Oregon Coast and spent time in Newport, Florence and on Heceta Beach.

Kelp oasis 0913


Yaquina Bay Bridge in the morning mist 0913

Newport Boat Basin 0913 with NOAA

Above are images of the Oregon Coast, a sampling of the attractions from Lincoln and Lane Counties that draw repeat visits and rave reviews, from top to bottom:  a kelp oasis washed ashore during a recent storm; Yaquina Bay Bridge in the early morning fog and on the bottom, Newport’s boat basin showing in the background the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet at its home dock on Yaquina Bay.  The Oregon Coast is an understandably popular destination for tourists from all over the world.  While photographing the bridge, above, I stood beside a man from Germany who visits the Oregon Coast annually.

Visits to Oregon often include a tour of coastal counties.  Travel Lane County is doing an increasingly effective job of making certain that Lane County is high on the list of tourist destinations on the west coast of the United States.

The Board of County Commissioners meets at 9 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday September 10,  Click this link to see the full Board of County Commissioners meeting agenda for September 10 2013.