North Eugene County Commission discussion at City Club involved talk of the Human Services Commission. by Pat Farr

Monday, April 16th, 2012


I had a debate with Rob Handy and Nadia Sindi on Thursday April 12 at a special meeting of the Eugene City Club held at Trinity Methodist Church on Maxwell Road in North Eugene.

The format is not exactly debate:  the other two and I only had about six minutes to ask questions of each other, the rest of the time being spent responding to questions from the mediator or the audience.  Still it was a good opportunity to air some issues.

(I would welcome a Lincoln-Douglas debate format which involves direct discussion and questioning  of one another by the debaters.)

I took time to talk about issues such as public safety, water rights, environment and human services. The others spent some of their time tossing remarks at their competitors.  Nadia, for instance, spent a lot of time talking about ethics and secret meetings while looking at Handy, who spent a lot of time talking about my “ultra-conservative” leanings.

Nadia’s comments seemed to be an accurate reflection of what has been reported often in the media while Handy’s seemed more of a rant, at one point suggesting falsely that I had received contributions from a source that had not contributed to my campaign.  Such is campaigning for some.

One point I wanted to make was that the Human Services Commission is conducting a “Thriving Communities Summit on April 24 at the U of O Ford Alumni Center Ballroom.  Follow this link for more details. It will be a gathering of more than a hundred engaged men and women from the community to see how we can meet the challenge of building a healthy, prosperous, safe and educated Lane County based on our collective strengths and efforts.  My wife Debi Farr and I are among the invited participants.

There are three stated purposes of the Summit:

1.  Explore ways for organizations bo build a thriving community together.

2.  Strategize how to leverage recent community innovations to meet current and future challenges, and,

3.  Learn about successful efforts that have made a difference in the quality of life for many local residents.

Pearl Wolfe, right, a powerful and seasoned advocate for Human Services, gives her input on the Summit's content.

It’s a four-hour round-table that will actively engage the delegates who represent local business, education, government and human services.

When I spoke of my participation in the planning effort, Handy unfortunately disdained it, saying that he had been involved with the Human Services Commission since he took office about three years ago while I had recently become involved in human services “Just in time for the election.”

The audience largely sniggered, most of them knowing about my decades of work with hunger, shelter and education .

I fell into the spirit of the debate for a moment by letting Handy know, it seems for the first time, that Mayor Ruth Bascom first appointed me to the Commission 17 years ago.

You can listen to an hour of the City Club discussion on KLCC tonight (April 16) at 6 pm. You can listen to the audio archive of the discussion here.

For more about the election go here.


A good article on Occupy Eugene by Ed Russo in today’s Register-Guard by Pat Farr

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

A number of the statistics that have been posted on Forum Lane were printed in the Register-Guard today.  Guard writer Ed Russo did a good job of capturing details and concerns of the continued Occupation.

As I’ve stated in a number of posts, Security and safety are of serious concern.

From an October 24 Forum Lane post (titled: Camping in Eugene):

“When people camp in an urban environment certain issues need to be addressed.  Among others are:

1.             Safety.  The safety of the campers, passers-by and residents must be paramount.

2.             Sanitation.  Unsanitary conditions that could give rise to localized or widespread contamination or disease must be avoided.

3.             Environmental protection.  Concentrated use of land and space that is not intended or designed for overnight use or heavy traffic can cause irreversible damage.

4.             Private property rights.  Respect and sanctity of private property must be upheld.

5.             Public property rights.  Public land, such as parks and other open spaces, must be kept available and useable for the general public as designated.”  Forum Lane, October 24 2011, Pat Farr.

A reminder:  the Egan warming centers are open now as safe and accessible places for homeless people.  Tom Egan was a former Army and Oregon National Guard officer who I served with in B Company, 2-162 Infantry.


Eugene Shelter Coalition is Started written by Pat Farr

Monday, October 18th, 2010

People who live on the streets and in the bushes around Eugene are there because they want to be.  They just want to escape responsibility and live the easy life.  Living on the street means you don’t have to get up in the morning, go to work, drop the kids off at school, fix dinner tonight.  What could be easier?

The frightening thing is this:  some people actually think that’s true.  The fact is, the people around us who actually don’t have a home, really–really–would rather have a home.

During my second term on the Eugene City Council I chaired a committee, the Council Committee on Homelessness and Youth that was assembled to explore why the growing  epidemic of homelessness, particularly among kids, existed.  The committee consisted of me, Councilor Bobby Lee and Mayor Jim Torrey.

During our months of meetings we heard testimony from and conducted round tables of different groups of people who didn’t have a permanent home and asked them to tell us why.  Bobby Lee spent nights living with some of them to see what it’s like first hand.

We found out that living homeless is the last resort for the large majority of the people who are doing it.  Some kids are kicked out of their homes, some run away from abuse or outright violence; some families are there because dad or mom lost their job.  Some are there because their job doesn’t pay enough.  Some folks just can’t put together first and last month’s rent plus a cleaning deposit.  Others have out of control medical issues, some have serious disabilities.

Whoever they are, though, they are usually hungry, often cold and wet and sometimes they die from it

Ultimately the committee only scratched the surface of providing a solution:  the Eugene Camping Ordinance which now allows sanctioned camping in church and business parking lots and on homeowners’ property.  It’s strictly regulated and sanitation facilities are required.

On October 12 I was invited to join a small group of people who want to do something about it.  We met in the basement of a downtown church and the participants outlined issues that they recognize and possible directions for solutions.  Nothing final was decided, other than that they would be called the Eugene Shelter Coalition, and that they would meet regularly to find ways to tell people about the real issues surrounding living without homes and hopefully find ways to help some men and women and kids find places to live.

It’s a start, and the work ahead is daunting.  But it’s a start.  And anything that can be done for anyone will change lives immediately.

My hope is that the efforts of different groups that currently exist can be coordinated and consolidated to make the most of the limited available resources and help as many folks as possible.

It’s October 18 today, and it might freeze tonight.  Some people are going to be cold and hungry.