How to be a hero: Thanksgiving dinner on a gloomy January Wednesday. by Pat Farr

Thursday, January 26th, 2017


Every now and then I am going to add something that has little or nothing to do with policy, strategy or news.  Here’s a sample:

On a gloomy January Wednesday Debi and I enjoyed a candle-lit Thanksgiving dinner

On a gloomy January Wednesday, Debi and I enjoyed a candle-lit Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving in January


Who has time or energy to prepare a stellar, award-winning, tremendously popular and heroic meal on a weekday after a busy day on the job?  Well, here’s how to prepare this meal in 45 minutes.


  • 1lb.     Sliced carved turkey breast, purchased from a superb Deli
  • 1          Large sweet potato
  • 2lb.     Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1lb.     Broccoli crowns
  • 1/2 cup each    Chopped carrots, celery, onion
  • 3/4 cup     Dried bread strips
  • Chicken stock
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried parsley, minced garlic, sage
  • Milk or half and half
  • Cranberry ginger beer (or your choice of stemware-worthy beverage)


The first secret:  Put the sweet potato into a 350-degree oven, chop and rinse the potatoes and start them boiling in salt water.  All other steps are completed as the two cook.  After 30 minutes microwave the sweet potato until it is soft, maybe 4 minutes, the skin will be crisp and easy to peel off.

Make the stuffing: Sautee the carrots, celery and onion in butter and garlic, while still slightly crisp add the parsley, sage, chicken stock and dried bread, mix together, place in an oven proof serving dish and place alongside the sweet potato in the oven.

Steam the broccoli:  place the broccoli in an inch of salted water, cover and boil rapidly for four minutes.  Turn off heat.  At some point, rinse the broccoli, while in the saucepan, in cold water to stop cooking.

Make the gravy:  make a rue of butter and flour, add the chicken stock, pepper and stir to thicken.

Make the sweet potatoes:  peel and quarter lengthwise, place in an oven-proof serving dish and top with butter and brown sugar.  Place in the oven beside the dressing.

Make the potatoes:  drain the water (you can use some of this to adjust thickness of the gravy), add butter and milk and mash by hand.  Cover and keep warm.

Arrange the delicatessen-fabulous turkey breast in a serving dish.

Set the table.

Place all ingredients not already in serving dishes into them, place on table and pour your drinks.

Sit in the dimly-lit dining room with candles burning…when the door opens:  you are a hero!



Vinis Lags Peers in Name Familiarity

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Analysis of Lucy Vinis’ low name familiarity can be seen here.

Eugene Public Official Name Familiarity, Sept. 2016

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

This post, which can be seen here, ranks Eugene’s public officials by name familiarity.

Comparing Farr and Clark Vote Percentages in North Eugene

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

This post, which can be seen here, compares the percentages in City of Eugene precincts that are in the North Eugene County Commissioner district.

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.

Farr Performance Improves Over 2012 Landslide Win

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

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

Major Eugene Candidate Fundraising Update

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Fundraising for major Eugene candidates can be seen here.

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.


West Lane District Co. Comm. Board Job Performance Rating

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Overall, how would you rate the job the Lane County Board of Commissioners is doing?

For complete poll results, click here.