Open and accountable government: see what Lane County Commissioners are doing or have done. by Pat Farr

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

 

No secrets:  Lane County Commission actions and meetings are available online.

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

To view a meeting in progress or to replay archived and recent webcasts of meetings, visit:http://apps.lanecounty.org/webcast/default.aspx

To see upcoming agendas as well as recent and archived agendas (including links to details of all agenda items) visit: http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/BCC/Pages/AgendaHome.aspx

To see all passed orders, actions, ordinances and resolutions visit: http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/BCC/Pages/2016Orders.aspx.

I welcome questions and comments via email:  pat.farr@co.lane.or.us ; US mail:  Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr, 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene OR 97401; or phone call:  541-682-4203.

 

Recent Eugene Area Net Partisan Swing Margins

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Partisan swing margins in recent Lane County contests can be seen here.

Recent Co. Comm. Vote Percentages

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Recent Lane County Commissioner vote percentages can be seen here.

Lane Board Job Performance Trend in Eugene

Friday, May 27th, 2016

The Lane County Board of Commissioners’ job performance trend in Eugene can be seen here.

Countywide Lane Board Job Performance Trend

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

How would you rate the job Lane County Board of Commissioners is doing?

For complete poll results, click here.

Farr Performance Improves Over 2012 Landslide Win

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Pat Farr’s vote percentages from 2012 and 2016 can be seen here.

Promises made, promises kept: Lane County tackles public safety needs. by Pat Farr

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Lane County Commissioners will address serious public saferty needs when we pass the 2016-2017 budget this year.

Sherriff Byron Trapp outlines additional beds and mental health specialists for the Lane County Jail

Sherriff Byron Trapp outlines additional beds and mental health specialists for the Lane County Jail

After passing the Sheriff’s levy in 2013, voters were promised rigorous standards in keeping dangerous criminals off the streets. We have exceeded the promises made to the voters, while responsibly managing taxpayer resources. The levy was approved to fund a minimum of 255 local adult jail beds and additional services for youth offenders. Currently, there are 317 local jail beds – exceeding the minimum promised by 62 beds, with an additional five to open in 2016.

The additional local jail beds funded by the levy have reduced capacity-based releases (CBRs) by 65 percent and eliminated the pre-trial release of violent, Measure 11 offenders.

Lane County Commissioners will now consider reducing the existing levy rate and continuing to operate the jail more efficiently than anyone thought possible.

Reasons for the proposed levy rate reduction:

  • Lane County property tax revenue and state corrections funding have increased more than anticipated.
  • The County has provided $6.5 million more General Fund support for the jail than anticipated. This is due to unanticipated Secure Rural Schools payments for two additional years following the passage of the levy. (The Secure Rural Schools program has since ended.)
  • The hiring process at the jail to fill levy-funded positions has taken longer than anticipated, saving money.

Sheriff Byron Trapp shared that “our community put great faith in us when they approved the levy. We want to show them that we are being responsible with their money and continuing to provide the services we promised. Every dollar counts to our residents and families.”

Additional public safety needs will be addressed:

At the Budget Committee meeting on May 2, County administrator Steve Mokrohisky and Sheriff Byron Trapp outlined plans to address the burgeoning needs in behavioral health, including mental illness and substance abuse.

In addition to keeping more sentenced violent criminals behind bars, the Commission will consider using general fund dollars to add three full-time mental health specialists and an additional parole and probation officer to the jail staff to ensure that people suffering from behavioral health disorders will receive adequate treatment and complete their sentences while reducing their likelihood of returning to courts and jail.

Treating behavioral health needs, including substance abuse, will create a path to reducing crime and helping affected men and women enjoy more productive and satisfying lives.

 

Behavioral Health is a key focus of Lane County Government. by Pat Farr

Monday, April 4th, 2016
Private, public and non profit agencies combine resources to provide behavioral health care

Private, public and non profit agencies combine resources to provide behavioral health care

Behavioral health often begins with treatment for addictions. At the ribbon-cutting grand opening of the Serenity Lane Campus in Lane County, I am standing with Leann–who will be an intern at the new facility, helping men and women overcome addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Behavioral health and physical health are inseparable. Lane County Government operates six Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) that team with private and nonprofit centers to provide physical and behavioral health in the same facilities.

Lane County uses federal, state and local funding and other resources to provide mental health care

Lane County uses federal, state and local funding and other resources to provide mental health care

A safer Lane County. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Sheriff Byron Trapp is working with County Commissioners to make Lane County a safer place to live.

Sheriff Byron Trapp is working with County Commissioners to make Lane County a safer place to live.

Six years ago, in 2010, a prior board of Lane County Commissioners cut funding for rural Sheriff’s Deputy patrol to 16 hours per day–leaving Lane County residents and visitors without on-duty patrol response for eight hours every day.

During my first year of office the current Board of Commissioners restored funding for 24-hour patrol in the 2013-14 fiscal year and the Sheriff’s Office initiated recruitment, hiring and training immediately following the return of funding.

The process of hiring and training a new deputy takes more than 12 months, including written and physical testing, a rigorous interview, in-depth background check, medical and psychological examinations, 16 weeks of academy training and 15 weeks of field training.

Sheriff Byron Trapp explained, “Returning to 24-hour patrol means that we can respond more quickly to life-threatening, in-progress calls rather than calling in off-duty staff, which can create significant delays in service.”

Lane County has high standards for its deputies and the Sheriff has rebuilt a very talented and dedicated team focused on providing Lane County with quality public safety services.

Lane County fleet vehicles are continuing to become more efficient and clean. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
Lane County is a World Class place to live and visit

Lane County is a World Class place to live and visit

As a County operation, Fleet is a significant fuel consumer and greenhouse gas emission producer. Over the past 15 years, Fleet has tested numerous methods for both reducing fuel consumption and reducing emissions.

1.  Renewable diesel pilot project. In conjunction with our partners at EWEB, the City of Eugene and City of Portland, Lane County started a renewable diesel pilot project in the Fall of 2015. This was the first wide-spread adoption of renewable diesel in Oregon. To date, this pilot program has been a complete success with no negative impacts noted due to use of renewable diesel and has resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of over 65% for diesel powered equipment. Using a regular gallon of diesel fuel (ultra-low Sulphur diesel) emits more than 30 pounds of greenhouse gases into the air. Using a gallon of renewable diesel emits fewer than 10. Renewable diesel is much easier on vehicle engines and diesel particulate filters and is expected to reduce maintenance costs and equipment down-time. Renewable diesel background. Renewable diesel is a broad class of fuels derived from biomass feed stocks including oils or animal fats that is processed in the same fashion as traditional petroleum based diesel. Renewable diesel offers several benefits over biodiesel including reduced waste and by-products, higher energy density and improved cold flow properties. Renewable diesel can be used exactly like petroleum diesel with no special logistics or blending limitations. Renewable diesel has major benefits over petroleum and biodiesel in areas of greenhouse gas emission and air pollution reductions as well as reduced equipment maintenance. Known obstacles to renewable diesel use. The technical results of renewable diesel use have been outstanding with no known negative impacts. The major obstacles in widespread adoption of the fuel are supply chain and economic issues. Currently, the renewable diesel used in Oregon is shipped from Southeast Asia to California (where the fuel is widely used) and then barged to Portland and trucked to end-users. As demand for BCC Report Climate Change Agenda Memo 03 08 16 (5).docxPage 5 of 6 renewable diesel increases this supply chain will be severely limiting. Current prices for renewable diesel are less than B20 biodiesel and if this pricing parity is maintained then renewable diesel will be economically feasible for wide-spread adoption.

2.  Hybrid vehicle technology. Beginning in the early 2000s, Lane County Fleet has been purchasing hybrid vehicles such as Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max. Initially these vehicles cost significantly more than standard vehicles and even when gas prices were high, economically they were more expensive for County operations than more traditional technology. More recently, the cost for these vehicles is more in line with standard equipment and they are equitable in terms of economic function while being far superior in terms of emissions and consumption.

3.  Charging Stations. Electric charging stations were installed at Fleet and the Customer Service Center and have been functioning routinely for the past three years. It is envisioned that additional charging stations be installed at the Public Service Building (PSB) as well, but there is currently no funding source or formal plan to implement this step.

4.  Other fuel alternatives. County forklifts are powered with propane, lowering emissions and running the equipment more economically. Alternative fuels continue to be explored by staff for opportunities to both reduce County impact on the environment and to reduce costs. CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has been used in municipal fleets in many areas in the US and its use is growing; however, after significant research, it is not yet feasible for Lane County. The initial infrastructure capital expenditures for CNG would cost in excess of $2 million and there is no current funding for these capital costs. This would include siting and installation of tanks, manifolds, and distribution assemblies. Fleet maintenance facilities would need major retrofitting to accommodate this lighter than air fuel. For example, all electrical installations would need to be replaced with explosionproof or vapor-proof installations (every switch, outlet, light, and control panel). Tools used for maintenance would need to be replaced with tools less likely to cause sparks such as rubberized or brass. Additionally, Fleet would need to begin purchasing vehicles that can use CNG. An additional limiting factor is that County Waste Management and Road vehicles operate in a distributed environment across the County and there are no available distribution facilities in Florence or Oakridge, for example. Biodiesel and Ethanol. County fleet vehicles are all compatible with biodiesel (e.g. B20) and ultra-low sulphur diesel. Additionally, many older pieces of County equipment have been retro-fitted with particulate traps to reduce emissions. While the costs for the retrofits have often been subsidized through grants and special programs, ongoing maintenance costs have increased due to the traps. County gasoline powered vehicles all run on E10 ethanol blends (mandated by the State). While the County has some flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on higher percent blends of ethanol, availability of the fuel is extremely limited within the County. Additionally, the fuel itself is less efficient leading to less power and higher consumption rates.

5.  Facility Retrofits. Numerous facilities have gone through major remodels and less ambitious retrofits. For example, the Data Center in the PSB went through a major remodel. This was designed not only to improve the functionality of this major information infrastructure, but also to dramatically reduce energy consumption. Additionally, particularly in the PSB but also other County facilities, lighting controls and lamps have been retrofitted with more energy efficient technology. Staff believes that the County should experience a reduction in energy costs around $60,000 as compared to costs two years ago.

Lane County continues to be a leader in exploring reliable, sustainable and well-researched alternatives for combining efficient and effective government with responsible stewardship of its natural resources.