Sunday, February 28, 2010

State Of Our City and County

More information on the state of our City and County.....

How much longer will we be without action on behalf of our city council, our mayor for all of eugene, our city manager and our police chief. Doesn't the buck stop with them and how much longer will they allow Our crime rate to continue to grow. Please press on your elected Representatives individually to take action to lower our crime rate in Eugene and lane county. Public safety should be our number one Priority.

EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City

Great job and timely article. No wonder it seems like we have a problem—we DO!

(signed by a business owner and tax payer)

Response from CIty of Eugene:

This note responds to your recent email to Margaret Harter for information from the City of Eugene.

You have asked for information regarding the Downtown Safety Committee. We believe you may be referring to the Downtown Safety Council. This group was formed shortly after the LTD station was built and began providing the physical space for the Downtown Public Safety Station (exact date unknown). The Downtown Safety Council included members of the public, businesses, library staff, LTD staff, social service agencies, Police and Parole and Probation officers. The group met monthly with the goal of creating the opportunity for the various stakeholders to share information about downtown concerns and to work mutually to create solutions to problems. This was an opportunity for two-way communication between law enforcement and interested stakeholders. In March 2009, when the downtown station closed, Police no longer coordinated the group. Two groups now exist: the Downtown Safety and Security Network is coordinated by the City through the Planning and Development Department and the City's Parking Structures/Facilities program. This group brings together various security firms and some law enforcement representatives also attend. The second group retained the name of the Downtown Safety Council. Notes and announcements for this group are coordinated by Mary Leighton, Network Charter School. This group is not advisory to the city.

Also, in response to your earlier email regarding Eugene Police Department vehicles, staff has prepared the following information:

Vehicle information The monthly rates cover costs for fuel, insurance, parts and materials, routine maintenance, all repairs and accident related repairs and replacements. Monthly vehicle rates are established based upon the class category of the vehicle. The rates are determined by the overall experience (from previous years) associated with that that specific vehicle class. The following list shows the FY10 class categories, the monthly cost for that category and the number of vehicles for that class within the EPD inventory:

Vehicle Class: Rate per Month x Number of EPD Vehicles
Sedans: $292 x 12
Sedans - Gas/Electric: $152 x 13
Patrol Sedans: $1,451 x 46
Vans - Mini: $307 x 10
Van ¾ Ton: $371 x 2
PU ½ Ton: $210 x 2
PU 4WD: $360 x 7
SUV: $386 x 6
SUV Patrol: $857 x 12
SUV - Gas/Electric: $166 x 8
Motorcycle: $375 x 9
Explosive Devices Bomb Truck: $375 x 1
SWAT Truck: $337 x 1
Armored Truck: $346 x 1
Command Bus: $937 x 1
Misc. Vehicles: $100 or less x 17

Total All Classes of Vehicles = 200

I understand that Finance staff previously provided a link to the City's website regarding the Budget Committee. I include it again here for your convenience:

If you have additional information requests, please direct them to: Beth Forrest, Acting City Recorder, or at 777 Pearl St., Room 105, Eugene, OR 97401. Consistent with State Public Records Law and the City's fee order for public records requests, this will allow us to determine if the requested information is contained in an existing public record and, if so, provide an estimate of the time and fees for searching for and making copies of the public records. (Public records request form is attached.)

Thank you, Beth Forrest Acting City Recorder

" I had no idea that things are as bad as these pictures so graphically illustrate. It is hard to believe that things have gravited to the place they are. But when I look at the individuals who comprise the majority of our Eugene City Council, I can see how it might have evolved, and the fact that there is no energy, or the backbone to take the necessary 7 steps to deal with the problem, then handle the pushback that would be certain to test the resolve of everyone involved including police, city staff and elected officials.

If, like us you were to spend a great deal of time away, and travel downtown very little, only basically hear about problems, often in vague terms, this email strikes hard.

Thanks for sharing" (signed by a retired citizen and tax payer who recently viewed the EugeneAdvocates web site)

"If you read the latest edition of Open For Business published by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce there is no problem down town, and if there is it is being handled? Get a copy, it's very interesting."

(signed by a Eugene resident and tax payer)

"Wow—interesting. But don’t discount the value of all those social services we provide. They’ve got to count for some sort of offsetting credit!"

(signed by business owner and tax payer)

" ...the weather has been so crappy (and in earnest, too) the bums have probably been reluctant to try to sleep in the cold and the wet."

(signed by a downtown worker and taxpayer)

"To: Eugene Advocates
From: Jean Tate

I’ve been meaning to write you again so your “jog” is timely.

Yes, we have been meeting every two weeks and most recently every week. We have spent time with the sheriff, the district attorney, the human services folks who are readying a money measure for the November ballot, the county assessor and the county budget officer. In addition I have talked with judges, parole and probation, jail staff, juvenile justice folks, and other. Dave and I met briefly with the Public Safety Coordinating Council.

I believe that your interest is primarily with the City of Eugene. We formed to look at the larger county picture. I got to this place by realizing that the major block to anything positive happening in Eugene was the necessity for additional jail beds. That is a county function, not a city function. So we are looking at the needs from the county’s level. This week we met with Jeff Spartz, the county administrator, to talk about process if we decide to recommend some kind of ballot measure.

We see both short term and long term problems at the county level. The short term problems involve public safety staff and facilities. The long term problems concern recidivism, prevention and rehabilitation. Finding a balance among these is a very large challenge. Add to that the problem of “compression” which results from bumping up against Measure 5 limits and the puzzle complexity increases.

We don’t have answers yet; we are still learning. We will meet with the county commissioners on February 23 to discuss some possible recommendations. A big concern is how to educate the public about the needs and costs of possible solutions and then finding something that 51 percent of the voters can agree to. As you all know, there are strong feelings and not too much agreement about the relative merits of incarceration, treatment and prevention. It is our understanding that the county commissioners have asked Jeff Spartz to have a poll conducted to see what potential voters might approve. Suggestions and thoughts are welcome.

Jean Tate"