Lane County

Lane County 911 Center To Hire More Employees

Oct 30, 2014
eugene-or.gov

The Central Lane County 911 Communications Center is experiencing a high turnover rate. The emergency call center is in the process of hiring new employees. KLCC’s Corinne Boyer has more.

Working at a 911 call center is a strenuous job. Program manager Rob Poirier says finding people to fill the positions can be difficult. Potential employees need to be able to multitask. Because the center is open every day, candidates must understand they are needed throughout the year and on holidays.

hansen-auction.com

If you need a car – perhaps a Ford Crown Victoria – a motorcycle, a guitar or even clothes, Lane County has an opportunity for you.

It’s the County’s annual on-line sealed bid auction of hundreds of surplus items.  The auction, heavy on vehicles and equipment, will be held on-line September 25th through 27th.

Items may be viewed at the Lane County Fleet Services Building Thursday and Friday from 8 to 5, and Saturday, 8 to 3.

More information available by clicking on “2014 Fleet Auction” on the Lane County home page.

www.lanecounty.org

Reduced timber revenue has been impacting Oregon's public sector for years, and the trend is not expected to change.

Lane County is developing its 2015-2017 strategic plan, focusing on how to do more with less. After a workshop in June, Commissioners identified three priorities: health and safety, infrastructure, and vibrant communities. They hope to continue to tailor the plan to residents' concerns.

County spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis says the passing of the sheriff's levy was a helpful indicator:

lanecounty.org

Lane County's new Poverty and Homeless Board recently met for the first time. The 17 member panel is charged with finding solutions to persistent homeless problems.

Last year Lane County Board of Commissioners formed the board following the removal of two homeless camps in Eugene. The board consists of elected officials, community leaders, and a formerly homeless person. Lane County Human Services spokeswoman Pearl Wolfe is excited for the diversity of board members.

Lane County

Lane County is trying to be more open to the public by providing free access to emails and to meeting rooms.

Members of the public and the media can now go to the County Administrator's office and log-in to a computer terminal to read emails between the County Commissioners and the Administrator. The terminal displays messages in an email group collected when constituents contact their commissioners from the Lane County website. County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky says these emails have been available by request, for a fee, in the past.

Number Of Lane County Unemployed Ticks Up

Jul 21, 2014
Angela Kellner

The number of unemployed people in Lane County increased by more than 650 between May and June.  The unemployment rate remained the same at 6.8%.

But that could change in July, after this month's mill fire in Springfield.

Oregon Regional Economist Brian Rooney says Lane County has been in a period of positive employment growth.  But he calls the unemployment numbers for June…

Rooney: "A little bit of a step back."

Lane County

Lane County residents might be tempted to call in sick to work Monday to get to two important public hearings. Both of them have to do with Eugene's proposed sick leave ordinance. The public is invited to comment on three Lane County ordinances put forward in reaction to Eugene's efforts. The first exempts the county from Eugene's ordinance. The second exempts other cities in Lane County. The third actually prohibits municipalities from passing labor laws.

City of Eugene

Tuesday, the Lane County Board of Commissioners moved to stymie the City of Eugene's sick leave ordinance before it's passed. It's unclear what effect the county's actions will have.

The County Board proposed three ordinances in reaction to Eugene's proposed sick leave-- one would exempt county employees from the city's rule. Another would exempt other cities in the county from it, and a third forbids other cities in Lane County from making similar rules. The vote was 4 to 0, with Commissioner Sorenson absent.

Rachael McDonald

Lane County may throw a wrench in the City of Eugene's efforts to pass a sick leave ordinance.

The Board of County Commissioners Tuesday  moved forward on their own ordinance that exempts Lane County from the city's sick leave. It may also exempt any business outside Eugene and restrict the ability of other cities in Lane County from passing similar sick leave rules. Board Chair Pat Farr says there are a lot of unanswered questions about how the city's ordinance would affect county government and private businesses outside Eugene.

lanecounty.org

This weekend, the Lane County Sheriff’s Department is focusing on waterways to prevent boating under the influence. Operation Dry Water is a nationwide effort from law enforcement agencies to catch and prevent BUI’s. 

The leading factors in boater deaths are directly related to alcohol and drug use. Lane County Sheriffs' Spokeswoman Carrie Carver says drinking a beer or two on a boat isn’t the same as having one at the house.

Meeting Date: June 20th, 2014

Air Date: June 23, 2014

Some 30,000 Lane County residents who had no health insurance last year are now covered by the Affordable Care Act. To provide care to the newly insured requires meeting challenges, not least of which is the nationwide shortage of primary care physicians.

This weekend is the last chance for backyard and open burning in many places in Oregon. Lane, Linn, Benton and Marion Counties have all declared June 15 as the last day.

Neil Miller is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He says early this year, they considered starting the burn ban sooner than usual. But spring rains relieved their concerns about fire danger:

Lane County

The Lane County Elections Office announced Tuesday that the East Lane County Commissioner's race will require a recount.  

Incumbent Commissioner Faye Stewart faced three challengers in the May Primary.  Fifty-percent plus one vote is required to be elected.  But under Oregon law, an automatic recount is triggered if election results are too close.  

Lane County Spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis said it was initially unclear if Stewart's margin of 50-percent plus eight was enough to avoid an automatic recount.  The county sought clarification.  

Chester Stevenson/Lane County Historical Society

Many families preserve their histories by keeping photographs from the distant past.   But what most don’t realize is that many, if not most, photographic negatives produced before 1950 are now considered hazardous waste.   

Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Issued In Lane County

May 19, 2014
Jes Burns

Same-sex couples in Lane County took advantage of a federal ruling Monday legalizing gay marriage in the state.

KLCC’s Jes Burns reports from the county building in downtown Eugene, where Dozens of same-sex couples lined up to apply for marriage licenses.  

Supporters handed out bouquets of flowers to the excited couples, many of whom left work early to go to the County Clerk’s Office.

“It’s lunch hour.”

Pam Irwin and Barb Bellows have been together for 11 years. Bellows was anxiously watching for the ruling.

Update On Lane Metro

May 19, 2014

Recorded on: May 16th, 2014
Air Date: May 19th, 2014

City Club members and guests will hear about the future of economic development in Lane County with one of the most experienced experts on the subject on May 16. State Representative John Lively will discuss the history and the future of the Lane Metro Partnership. He will relate some success stories and provide an update on the group’s status.

Tourism Continues To Rise In Lane County

May 9, 2014
lanecounty.org

Tourism in Lane County continues to improve according to a recent report. Visitor spending pumped more than $757 million into the local economy in 2013.

The report released from Travel Lane County says most of the spending occurred in local restaurants followed by accommodations and entertainment. Travel Lane County spokeswoman Lisa Lawton says room tax revenues are a good reflection of the health of the tourism industry.

Desmond O'Boyle

In 2013, about 10,000 people in Lane County experienced homelessness.  Although high, Lane County Human Services says this is an improvement from the previous year.  

Nine thousand eight hundred fifty-six homeless people sought social services through Lane County last year.  Human Services Supervisor Pearl Wolfe says the community at large is discouraged by the overwhelming nature of the issue.  But, she says, this number is nearly 1000 lower than in 2012.

Lane County Budget Outlook "Stable" For FY2015

Apr 30, 2014
Lane County

It's budget season for municipalities and counties all over Oregon.  Tuesday night, the Eugene City Manager offered his recommendations on how to plug a $2.5 million budget gap.  A few blocks away, Lane County's administrator was doing the same.  The immediate outlook is much rosier for the county.

Interim Administrator Alicia Hays delivered her budget message to the Lane County Budget Committee, saying it has been a rocky year for the county.  Despite this…

Recorded on: April 25th, 2014

Air Date: April 28th, 2014 

The nonpartisan West Lane County Commissioner represents the western portion of the county from West Eugene north to Junction City and west to the coast. Lane County commissioners will face many challenges in the years ahead, including adjustments to a new county administrator, budget issues caused by decreased federal funding, and rapid expansion of the county’s Community Health Centers to address the needs of the newly insured.

Lane County

After a court decision earlier this month, Lane County has changed its policy on holding inmates at the request of federal immigration officials.
 

According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, requests to hold, or detainers, are used to “identify and ultimately remove criminal aliens” that were taken into local custody.  ICE asks for holds up to 48 hours. This policy has been widely criticized by immigrant rights groups.  

Lane County

This week, the Board of Lane County Commissioners could vote to refuse to cooperate with a federal law. The board Tuesday will hold a public hearing and discussion of concerns about renewing the National Defense Authorization Act.

Karen Richards

Lane County is leading the nation in its treatment of bees. With recent local and state legislation and a growing interest in backyard hives, local bee advocates are in position to steer the national discussion.

New rankings say the healthiest people in Oregon live in Benton County. The annual report is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It measures factors such as education, income, tobacco use and quality of life.

Charlie Fautin is the Deputy Director of the Benton County Health Department. He says it's great to rank first in the state, but there are plenty of people in Benton County who are not doing as well as they could.

Rachael McDonald

A three day music festival at Emerald Meadows near Eugene last summer was so loud it could be heard miles away. Neighbors of the venue at Mt. Pisgah have complained about the recent events there because of noise and traffic. Lane County is seeking input on new rules for outdoor events.

Mt. Pisgah Arboretum

Thursday, Mount Pisgah Arboretum near Eugene will celebrate the completion of a 100-foot long bridge that's been in the works for more than four years.

The original Adkison foot-bridge was built in 1983. Brad van Appel is Executive Director of Mount Pisgah Arboretum. He says it wasn't built to last and was finally condemned more than 4 years ago. Van Appel says the community came together to raise 150 thousand dollars and gave hundreds of volunteer hours to rebuild the bridge.

Karen Richards

What happens if a dam fails during normal summer conditions? What if a dam breaks when it’s flooding or snowing? To answer those questions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has updated its dam failure inundation maps.

The Corps created maps of failure scenarios for all 13 dams in the Willamette Valley. Their release last year drew hundreds of requests. The Corps is holding viewings for those citizens who expressed interest. Matt Craig is a Dam Safety Program Manager.

On Tuesday, Lane County announced its five finalists for County Administrator.  The candidates will meet with County Commissioners on Wednesday evening at 6:30 at Harris Hall.

The candidates all come from city or county government backgrounds.  Only one is from Oregon.  The five candidates are:

Ronald Bates, City Manager for Pico Rivera, California

Christopher Jordan, City Manager for West Linn, Oregon

Jeffrey Mihelich, Assistant City Manager for Surprise, Arizona

Steve Mokrohisky, County Manager for Douglas County, Nevada

Karen Richards

The group "Support Local Food Rights" continues to fight to get its anti-GMO initiative on the November ballot in Lane County. Today (Tuesday) a judge heard challenges to the measure's wording.

The local food group wants to restrict genetically engineered seeds from being grown in Lane County. A Junction City farmer who plants genetically modified sugar beets claims the title of the ordinance is not legal.

Karen Richards

A three-year collaboration between state, county, and local groups has come to fruition in Veneta. First Call Resolution, a growing Oregon-based company, has moved into its new space and is now hiring.

"First call resolution" refers to the company's goal of solving a customer's question within one phone call. Today, the call center received two 50-thousand dollar business development checks, one from the state and one from Lane County.

This is the company's fifth center. President John Stadter says all the locations are in small Oregon communities:

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