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July 26, 2017 12:52 PM

At a July 26 Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, the Forest Service under the Trump administration endorsed wilderness protection for the Devil’s Staircase and the Wild Rogue in Sen. Ron Wyden’s Oregon Wildlands Act, S. 1548.

In his statement to the committee, Glenn Casamassa, associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, says:

“The proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness provides an outstanding representation of the Oregon Coast Range and would enhance the National Wilderness Preservation System. There is an existing road within the proposed boundary of this wilderness that would require decommissioning by heavy equipment prior to designation as wilderness or allowance for use of mechanized equipment for this purpose after the enactment. USDA supports the designation of the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness.”

And of the Rogue, he states, “Section 301 of the bill would designate 56,100 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and by the Forest Service as an addition to the Wild Rogue Wilderness. USDA supports this addition of wilderness on National Forest System.”

Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) points out that the BLM’s prior pro-Devils Staircase position appears to remain unchanged.

In a July 13 statement on the bill, Wyden said, 

“When it comes to recreation opportunities in some of the world’s most uniquely beautiful places, Oregon has it all. It’s time for Congress to listen to the voices of Oregonians from every part of our state who have spoken in favor of protecting these unmatched natural treasures for years to come.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, who introduced the bill with Wyden, added, “These Oregon jewels deserve to be protected for future generations of Oregonians and Americans,” Merkley said. “With this bill, we will not only preserve some of Oregon’s unique and most special places, we will also boost local economies and help cement Oregon’s well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s greatest recreation destinations.”

You can read Casamassa’s full statement here.

July 10, 2017 12:53 PM

In a press release (see below) the city of Springfield has announced that it is “taking steps to address a shortage of affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs).” ADUs are also known as secondary dwelling unites, granny flats and mother-in-laws.

To that affect, the the Springfield City Council passed a resolution to reduce the costs involved by “temporarily waiving the transportation, stormwater and local wastewater system development charges on newly permitted accessory dwelling units.”

Springfield defines ADUs as “secondary dwellings included on a property with an existing, larger home. An ADU can be either attached to the existing dwelling, for example a basement or attic space converted into an apartment, or a detached structure such as a backyard cottage.”

 The temporary waiver started on July 1, and continues for two years until June 30, 2019. “This waiver will reduce construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000.”

The full press release is below.

 

Springfield Temporarily Waives System Development Charges for Accessory Dwelling Units

The City of Springfield is taking steps to address a shortage of affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The Springfield City Council passed a resolution to reduce the costs involved by temporarily waiving the transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater system development charges (SDCs) on newly permitted accessory dwelling units. The temporary waiver started on July 1, 2017 and continues for a two-year period through June 30, 2019. This waiver will reduce construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000.

ADUs are secondary dwellings included on a property with an existing, larger home. An ADU can be either attached to the existing dwelling, for example a basement or attic space converted into an apartment, or a detached structure such as a backyard cottage. Note that SDCs imposed by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission and Willamalane Park and Recreation District are still in effect.

The City sees several benefits of having more ADUs in Springfield, primarily to increase the supply of small rental units for which the vacancy rate is lowest. Additional ADUs will also increase the number and type of affordable housing units without consuming the limited supply of undeveloped land. Residents that build ADUs on their properties can benefit by having an extra source of income in the form of rent, allowing for multiple generations to live in close proximity, and providing housing for on-site assistance or caregivers to help people live independently on their property. Economic development will also be bolstered by generating work for local builders and contractors.

The supply of housing in Springfield is limited at all levels, with rental vacancy rates at less than 1 percent. Housing costs in Springfield are increasing faster than household incomes. Last year, the Springfield City Council directed staff to evaluate housing needs and to build on strategies to both increase the supply of housing and the accessibility of affordable housing throughout the housing continuum.

There are several design standards and required permits to construct an ADU. Those interested in learning more can visit www.springfield-or.gov, or contact the Development and Public Works Department, 541.726.3753.

The City is also considering amendments to the development code that would make it easier and potentially less expensive for homeowners to add an ADU to their property. The Planning Commission will hold a work session on July 18 to discuss this, which community members are welcome to attend. The work session begins at 6 p.m. in the Jesse Maine Room at Springfield City Hall, 225 Fifth Street.

July 6, 2017 10:39 AM

Apparently someone gets a kick out of Eugene Weekly.

In all seriousness, on the evening of July 5, someone kicked in EW’s employee door, scattering the glass more than 10 feet into the building.

According the Eugene Police Department, at 7:44 pm on July 5, a man who was riding his bike on West 12th “heard glass breaking and rode in that direction. He saw a man pulling his leg from Eugene Weekly’s broken glass door. The man became aggressive toward the bicyclist, who was trying to take his picture. So the bicyclist backed away.”

The witness was able to get a photo.

EWand the Eugene police would appreciate help in identifying the subject. The case 17-11100.  To report a crime call 541-682-5111. To leave a tip, please call 541-682-8888.

You can also call Eugene Weekly at 541-484-0519.

Here is EPD’s description. “The suspect is a white male adult, with a thin build, short blonde straight hair, and a scruffy beard. He was last seen wearing a black and gray jacket, tan pants, brown shoes and a black backpack.”

EW very much appreciates the witness who reported the crime and EPD’s prompt and courteous help in responding to the situation. 

EW's employee entrance.

Full photo of the suspect

June 29, 2017 04:16 PM

City Wide MEChA is hosting its Begins With Us graduation the group will honor its students’ academic progress, community service and community engagement, and accomplishments. Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) says, “They will be honoring community members and connecting city officials and organizations to offer resources to the community as a whole.”

The event is 5:30 pm Thursday, June 29, at the Bob Keefer Center for Sports and Recreation (formerly Willamalane Center) 250 South 32nd Street, Springfield and features a dinner, award ceremony, community speakers and community conversation.

CALC says, “An additional goal is to connect the community with city officials, educators, public figures, community organizers, attorneys and many others. All are welcome.”

 Donations are needed to help cover event expenses and can be made at the event or dropped off at the CALC office, 458 Blair Blvd. in Eugene.

 For more information and/or to RSVP, contact Johanis Tadeo at johanistadeo509@gmail.com or call CALC at 541-485-1755.

June 15, 2017 10:55 AM

Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old girl. The information came out in a recent Oregonian story and controversy has ensued as the OSU team heads to the NCAA College World Series.

Heimlich will not be going with the team or playing the rest of this year, according to a statement by OSU President Ed Ray, who also explains why Heimlich was accepted to the school and the school supports his continuing attendance as a student. The full statement is below.

ESPN reports that Heimlich was not taken in Major League Baseball's draft after the revelations about his past.

Brenda Tracy, who was raped by two OSU football players in 1998 and has gone on to be victims’ advocate and activist told CBS sports, “It's painful and hurtful … a school can be so proactive and so good and do so many good things and drop the ball like this."

 

 

To the Oregon State University community,

I am writing regarding recent media coverage of events involving a member of the Oregon State baseball team Luke Heimlich.

The tragedy of sexual assault in our society is both horrific and heartbreaking. I have heard from many individuals who personally – or through loved ones – have experienced the distress of sexual assault. There is no closure. Survivors live with that horror the rest of their lives, but hopefully they can heal and recover. This story has triggered a great deal of sorrow and pain in other victims of sexual assault and among their loved ones. In the midst of all of this, my heart goes out to the young girl in this matter, who was the victim of wrongdoing.

I have taken time this week to think through these complex issues and to give Luke the time and space he needed to determine how he wished to proceed. I believe he made the right initial decision for himself and for the team last Friday when he recused himself from pitching for the team in the NCAA Super Regional.

Yesterday, Luke decided that he would no longer represent the university this year as a member of the baseball team. As such, he will not participate in the NCAA College World Series nor travel with the OSU baseball team to Omaha. I concur with this decision as to do otherwise would certainly serve as a disruption and distraction to the team due to the significant public scrutiny that this matter has attracted. As well, I am mindful of the need for providing safety for all concerned that otherwise might be at risk during times of heightened emotions.

If Luke wishes to do so, I support him continuing his education at Oregon State and rejoining the baseball team next season.

At Oregon State University, we are in the business of transforming lives and creating opportunity for each student. I have always believed that education is a path to a more meaningful, responsible and productive life for everyone. I believe that every individual should have the opportunity to get an education. Therefore, I have long supported the guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education to allow individuals to register for college admission without revealing a prior criminal record, except in specific circumstances.

The position that OSU has taken on criminal records in regards to admissions is consistent with the U.S. Department of Education Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge signed by universities and organizations nationally, such as Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, the University of California System, the University of Washington, Google, Starbucks, Xerox and many more. In September 2016 alone, there were 61 higher education signatories to this pledge representing 172 individual campuses serving more than 1.8 million students. Certainly, individual universities have their own specific registration requirements in troublesome cases where public safety considerations may be involved. Clearly, OSU is not an outlier in its admissions policies.

For purposes of employment or volunteer work with OSU, background checks are required for anyone – including students – seeking critical or security-sensitive positions – such as working with minors. Separately, OSU also receives reports through the Oregon State Police (OSP) in Salem of registered sex offenders (RSOs) who attend our university. Upon being notified by OSP, Oregon State’s departments of Human Resources, Student Affairs and Public Safety share that information on a need-to-know basis with those OSU managers who meet with the student and otherwise take actions to mitigate any community risks that might result from an RSO attending the university. For example, RSOs cannot live in OSU residence halls on campus, and are prohibited from working with or having unsupervised contact with juveniles. We also require students with criminal backgrounds to reveal this history if it involves crimes that would limit where a student would be allowed to study such as within a College of Education school counseling degree or teacher preparation programs. Students in these kinds of programs are specifically background checked by other public agencies before having certain types of access with minors off campus.

While at OSU, Luke has been in good academic standing, his participation as a student-athlete has been positive, and his presence on the team has been in compliance with existing OSU policies.

Moving forward, I will discuss with university colleagues a review of our policies. This review should consider the possibility that some offenses and situations are so serious that we should no longer let such a student represent the university in athletic competition and other high-profile activities sponsored by the university by virtue of their offense. Such individuals could still enroll as a student in the university with appropriate risk mitigation. Any potential change in existing admission criteria will be implemented for students entering the university beginning in fall 2018.

The safety and security of OSU’s students will always be our paramount concern, and we will continue to review our policies to ensure that they are aligned with the best interests of the OSU community.

Sincerely,

Ed Ray

President

June 12, 2017 11:05 AM

PUBLIC TRUST

Only a dozen residents attended the May 22 Department of Environmental Quality Meeting regarding groundwater contamination of the Trainsong and River Road neighborhoods. This clearly is a message of either poor public notification or the apathy of residents whose private water wells have been tainted for 25 years. 

Since 1990, DEQ has been investigating groundwater and soil contamination from the Union Pacific Railroad rail yard in the Trainsong and River Road neighborhoods. DEQ's plan is to monitor 15 test water wells for five years and to manage risks to site workers through on site controls and deed restrictions.

The Public Trust Doctrine, in existence since the Roman Empire, states governments have a sovereign duty to protect the assets of the public. The natural resource contamination of groundwater and soils by Union Pacific Railroad violates this trust, and the DEQ has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the trust from substantial impairment and restore these assets to their original state.

The natural resources of Eugene are part of the reason we live here, and they should be protected for present and future generations. From herbicidal aerial spraying to polluting industrial practices, residents have a responsibility to demand protection of air, groundwater, soils, shores, waterways and watersheds.

Contact DEQ at Hanson.don@deq.state.or.us before June 15 to submit questions and comments.

 Jim Neu

Eugene

June 1, 2017 01:00 PM

President Donald Trump today announced his intention to pull out of the Paris Accords. According to the United Nations, the Paris Agreement "for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort."

Trump intends to leave that course.

Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, released a statement saying: “This decision may be a win for Steve Bannon and Scott Pruitt and those who share their extremist views, but it’s a loss for everyone else. If completed, Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement will put the United States in the company of only two other nations on earth that do not belong to the pact: Nicaragua, which believes the agreement doesn’t go far enough, and Syria, which is in the midst of a horrific civil war."

The Western Environmental Law Center weighed in with, ""History will not look kindly on Trump," said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center. "His reckless decision cedes U.S. leadership and credibility on the world stage. But it's worse than that. Trump's decision is morally reprehensible, risking great suffering to all, but in particular to our most vulnerable wildlands, wildlife, and communities."

May 31, 2017 04:34 PM

A May 30 press release from the Oregon Territory Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists warns that a bill that would affect government transparency is stuck in the House Rules Committee as the end of the Legislative session draws near. See the full release below.

SALEM -- The Oregon Territory Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is alarmed that lawmakers could miss a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create lasting change for open government.

House Bill 2101, which would provide for extra analysis and notice of bills that affect government transparency, is still stuck in the House Rules Committee, with the July 10 end of the legislative session looming. The -18 amendment that would provide the guts of the bill has broad stakeholder support and would would set up a balanced, nonpartisan committee to update and simplify Oregon’s confusing thicket of more than 550 records-law exemptions.

“The overwhelming majority of Oregonians want their government to be open and accountable. There has been very little opposition to this bill, but it has not received a hearing,” said Shasta Kearns Moore, SPJ Oregon’s sunshine chair.

SPJ Oregon spearheaded the concept — supported by Gov. Kate Brown and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson — to add the creation of an Oregon Sunshine Committee to the bill. The concept is also supported by former Deputy Attorney General Pete Shepherd, the statewide transparency group Open Oregon, the ACLU of Oregon, Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), the Oregon Environmental Council, the Portland NAACP and about 10 other nonprofit public interest groups.

The Sunshine Committee would give the public a seat at the table during exemption review as already happens in Washington, Virginia, New York, Maine and Tennessee.

House Bill 2101 would also create Open Government Impact Statements for bills moving through the legislature. This means, every bill that has the potential to close off public access to information would get a statement on the arguments for and against creating more secrecy.

“Oregon has an opportunity with this bill to make a huge leap forward for transparency in the state at negligible cost. We hope the legislature takes it,” Kearns Moore said.

May 12, 2017 02:49 PM

University of Oregon President Michael Schill sent an email to the UO community in response to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s decision yesterday to reject the University of Oregon’s tuition plan. In his letter, Schill argues the rejection could lead to deeper cuts that could affect "student services, academic programs and jobs."

He concludes the letter asserting that, "We will continue to work with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to make the case in Salem that cutting higher-education funding and usurping campus independence will lead to untenable outcomes for the UO and all of higher education in Oregon."

The full letter is below.

 

Dear University of Oregon community members,

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s decision yesterday to reject the University of Oregon’s tuition plan is disappointing and creates uncertainty on our campus. If it stands, we will be forced to make even deeper cuts at the UO than are already anticipated, including cuts that will likely affect student support services, academic programs, and jobs. While we would like the HECC to reconsider its vote, we are already evaluating additional budget reduction steps that can be taken if this decision holds and the state does not provide additional support for public higher education.

No one wants to increase tuition, but the university is left with little choice given that tuition is the UO’s main source of revenue after decades of declining state support. Prior to the HECC’s vote, the UO’s tuition plan would have required more than $8 million in budget reductions next year, which would come on top of more than $6 million in cuts made in the previous fiscal year. I have steadfastly expressed my view that we will try to shield the academic part of our university from the impact of this year’s budget cuts, but if we are forced to limit our tuition increase to less than 5 percent, then that aspiration will likely be impossible.

In the face of cost-drivers that institutions do not control—including retirement and health benefit costs—Oregon’s public universities have been clear that significant additional state support for higher education is necessary to keep tuition increases low and to maintain critical student support services. State legislators still have the opportunity this session to approve a higher-education budget that prioritizes Oregon students and their families and makes the proposed tuition increase at the UO and other institutions unnecessary.

 The state of Oregon deserves a world-class research institution like the UO. The HECC’s decision to overturn a tuition plan that was reached through months of inclusive campus engagement and careful deliberation by our institutional Board of Trustees, however, threatens our ability to deliver on that promise for all Oregonians. We will continue to work with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to make the case in Salem that cutting higher-education funding and usurping campus independence will lead to untenable outcomes for the UO and all of higher education in Oregon.

As we have said repeatedly, the UO stands ready and willing to provide HECC commissioners with the information they need to reconsider their decision about tuition on our campus. This situation is very fluid and time is of the essence, given that the fiscal year starts on July 1, but you have my commitment that we will communicate with the campus community as we hear more. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

May 1, 2017 04:22 PM

The Lane County Board majority plans to vote on Tuesday, May 2,  to "join a group of development industries, from gravel mining onward, in suing FEMA to stop hard-won environmental gains in floodplain habitat protections," according to an email from Kevin Matthews, a former and, he says, future for the East Lane County commissioner seat.

The email, and call to action, that Matthews sent it below.

In their Tuesday morning meeting, the Lane County Board majority plans to vote to join a group of development industries, from gravel mining onward, in suing FEMA to stop hard-won environmental gains in floodplain habitat protections.

Please come if you can to Harris Hall at 9am on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 to tell the county commissioners:

   "PLEASE STOP WASTING COUNTY STAFF TIME AND DOLLARS TO HURT
    WILD SALMON.  LET THE HOMEBUILDERS AND GRAVEL MINERS PAY
    FOR THEIR OWN ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUIT."

That's the bottom line.

The details get complicated ― not by accident ― so here's a bit of summary.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by FEMA, subsidizes risky and damaging floodplain development by providing public insurance for development in flood-prone areas.

You mean, regular folks can't get government insurance against cancer, even at cost, but developers can get subsidized public insurance for building where it's too dangerous otherwise?

Yup. But I digress .. .sort of.

Anyway, "in 2010 FEMA entered into a settlement agreement with Audubon Society of Portland, North West Environmental Defense Center, the National Wildlife Federation, and Association of Northwest Steelheaders. FEMA accepted the concerns raised by the environmental groups and agreed to initiate consultation with the NMFS" on floodplain development changes to protect fish and orcas.

Finally, "in April of 2016, NMFS released a final Biological Opinion regarding FEMA’s implementation of the NFIP in Oregon (the Oregon BiOp). ...NOAA Fisheries outlined a 6 separate Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs) to ensure FEMA’s implementation of the NFIP avoids further harm to listed species."

In response to FEMA moving forward toward implementing the "Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives," a group of industry associations is now planning to sue FEMA.  Their grounds for suing appear to mostly be the standard laundry list of process complaints that get used over and over to delay environmental protections.

If Lane County signs on to hurt salmon, their local government participation will give the industry groups political cover and improved standing for their delay tactics.

Come and speak up on Tuesday morning, if you can, and let the commissioners know you're watching!

Let them know you agree with Portland Audubon that we care about our salmon, plus, "this issue is not just about salmon habitat. It's also about getting people out of harm's way, reducing taxpayer expenses due to flood  damage, and preparing for increased stormwater due to climate change.”

One of the most dangerous things about the Trump agenda is that it's really just the standard GOP big shots agenda, with a flashy presentation.  Resistance starts at home.

Speak up for Lane County!

April 11, 2017 05:27 PM

On April 11, Rep. Peter DeFazion, ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Elaine Chao, requesting any findings from DOT’s review of the April 9 incident that occurred on United Airlines Flight 3411. A copy of the letter was sent to United CEO Oscar Munoz.

 

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Secretary Chao:

We write to express our serious concerns regarding an April 9, 2017, incident aboard United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago, Illinois, to Louisville, Kentucky. Countless news reports depict a passenger being forcibly removed from the United Airlines aircraft before departure allegedly due to the airline’s overbooking of the flight and need to accommodate its own airline staff. If news reports are accurate, the treatment of this passenger by United Airlines is not only outrageous, but is unacceptable.

Overbooking is too common of a practice among many commercial airlines like United Airlines. While overbooking is not illegal, we are deeply disturbed by the actions taken aboard Flight 3411 to deal with the situation. As you know, Federal regulations require airlines to take certain steps if they bump passengers involuntarily. Beyond these baseline requirements, however, we believe United Airlines had a number of options to rectify its own scheduling error, while treating its customers with the respect they deserve. For example, United Airlines could have offered increased monetary incentives to encourage other passengers to give up their seats voluntarily or even chartered a plane for United Airlines staff if it was that critical for them to reach Louisville.

We understand the Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking into the incident, and would like to know what DOT finds, including whether Federal law or regulations were violated during the April 9 incident aboard Flight 3411, as well as whether United Airlines’ contract of carriage or overbooking policy meets all applicable Federal standards.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

  Sincerely,

PETER DeFAZIO                                                                  RICK LARSEN

Ranking Member                                                                    Ranking Member

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure                   Subcommittee on Aviation

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2017 02:47 PM

Nothing says "public lands" like coal, right?

The Bureau of Land Management featured a lovely photo of hikers from sometime in November through at least April 2, according to a seach on the Wayback Machine. 

But nothing says American values the outdoors and public lands like a shot of a coal seam at the Peabody North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Wyoming. With the photo itself supplied by Peabody. The mine is the "world's largest coal mine in the world by reserve," according to MiningTechnology.com

Is the BLM under Ryan Zinke celebrating Peabody Energy emerging from bankruptcy?  Or did the public lands agency suddenly get super-down with the "joys of climate change? See more over at the Huffington Post

For some reason this gives me flashbacks to the "Clean Coal Carolers" campaign.

 

March 21, 2017 09:55 AM

Longtime County Commissioner Faye Stewart announced he is stepping down from the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He will be taking a position in the Cottage Grove, according to a press release sent out March 21.

The release says:

Commissioner Faye Stewart announced today that he is stepping down from his elected office in order to take a position with the City of Cottage Grove as the director of Public Works and Development.

“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Stewart. “Cottage Grove has been home to my family for generations and the success of its community is incredibly important to me. I am grateful to be able to continue serving this community in a new role.”

Stewart  has been a conservative vote on the conservative learning board since 2004. He will leave in April and the release says that Stewart’s current term ends in 2019. The Board of Commissioners will discuss the application process and timeline for appointing someone to complete Stewart’s term during the April 4 meeting.

Stewart's challenger in the last election, Kevin Matthews, had already announced plans to run for Stewart's seat in the 2019 election.

Matthews tells EW via email:

I wish Faye well in his new position. Given the nine-votes-out-of-15,000 ballots scare we gave them the last time around, I imagine the old-school majority of the Lane County Board will be looking to appoint someone they think will run well against me in the upcoming May, 2018 election.

Whoever they choose to stand for the Republican side, I'll keep fighting with the people for our local communities, including jobs and education, to restore integrity to Lane County government, including transparency, accountability, and public safety, and to build real prosperity from the ground upward, including protection of our clean water & old growth forest.

 
March 15, 2017 05:27 PM

The city of Eugene announced in a press release today (see below) that City Councilor George Poling has resigned from his Ward 4 seat and suggested former Ward 6 City Councilor Jennifer Solomon be appointed in his place.

City Councilor George Poling Announces His Resignation After More Than 14 Years of Service

At today’s City Council meeting, Councilor George Poling, Ward 4, announced his resignation effective April 10, 2017. Councilor Poling was elected four times to four-year terms. He took office in 2003 was in his fifteenth year of service. Prior to being a City Councilor, Poling was a law enforcement officer for approximately 30 years.

Councilor Poling made the announcement at the beginning of today’s meeting, stating that “after 45 years of public service, it’s time to fully enjoy my retirement. At my age now, I want to take advantage of that while I still have reasonably good health.”

Poling said it has been a pleasure working with his “fellow councilors, past and present, and Eugene’s dedicated and professional staff. I’m very proud of the staff we have.” He continued, “To my constituents of Ward 4, I want to express my thanks and sincere appreciation for the privilege you have afforded me to represent you for these many years. You are the best.” He also thanked his wife, Glenda, and family for their support.

Other City Councilors at the meeting as well as Mayor Vinis each offered their appreciation and admiration for Poling’s contributions to the council and his example. Several noted that when they began, they looked to Councilor Poling as a model of how to behave as a member of the City Council. Councilor Mike Clark said, “I hope that the people of our community truly understand the amount that you’ve given over many more than 15 years to serve our community and to serve the public. What an honor it’s been to serve with you and we’re going to miss you at this table, but you’ve earned the opportunity to rest a bit.”

Poling’s term runs until January of 2019. The City Charter states that within 90 days of the resignation, Council will appoint someone to fill the remainder of the term. The process for filling a vacancy on the City Council may include publicizing the opportunity, taking applications, conducting interviews and then making an appointment.

As has been done when there were previous vacancies, Councilor Poling made a recommendation regarding someone he thinks would be good to fill the position. Poling recommended former City Councilor Jennifer Solomon, who served two terms as councilor for Ward 6 from 2003 – 2011.