May 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Lane County selects its new commissioner districts

7 min read
By a 3-2 vote, Lane County commissioners chose their political districts for the next 10 years.

By a 3-2 vote, Lane County commissioners chose their political districts for the next 10 years.

Just before the vote, Lane County residents commented on three proposals for new commissioner districts.

[00:00:06] Stacy Holt: My name is Stacy Holt and I live in Creswell. I support Map C because it is the only map that respects the urban Eugene and Springfield and rural aspects of Lane County. Maps J and Q both have urban districts that expand well past the city limits and the urban growth boundary of Eugene, which I believe violates our home rule charter. I hope you consider Map C. Map C does not unnecessarily overrepresent Eugene by extending two of the Eugene districts outside city limits. Maps J and Q have charter and ethical issues.

[00:00:39] Cindy Land: I’m Cindy Land. I live in south Eugene, west of I-5 in the LCC basin in the Laurel Hills area. I’m west of Lane Community College. I’m inside the Eugene Metro plan. I’m in the Eugene 4-J school district with a Eugene address in 97405. Why does this matter to you, the Springfield county commissioner? Map J is so flawed, I would become your constituent. I have very little in common with Springfield. Map J Springfield could end up with a South Eugene resident as their county commissioner. Map C is fair. It’s less disruptive to our county and our county’s democratic process. And I would appreciate it if you would vote to protect Springfield and the integrity of Springfield.

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[00:01:35] Tiffany Monroe: My name is Tiffany Monroe. I have submitted testimony on behalf of Lane Families for Farms and Forests and the Lane County Farm Bureau. I am very blessed to be born and raised in Lane County. My father(‘s family) has been in the area farming since the late 1800s and my mother, out of all the places to move in the world, chose to move from Kenya (which is located in Africa) to Junction City and later into Eugene. Being a part of this community for generations, I feel I’m very passionate about community interests, as well as physical boundaries that you can see just by enjoying the county, by driving around, by attending meetings. And you can see there are some real boundaries that exist for those that live and reside in the county. When listening to the presentation earlier, I couldn’t help, but you know be taken aback to have a physical reaction to looking at Maps J and Q. They combined communities that make absolutely no sense.

[00:02:36] I strongly encourage all of you to support Map C. I believe that when referring back to communities of interest, Map C helps secure the voice of our rural Lane County residents. And I just really hope that we do the right thing and support Map C because it is the only map that truly makes sense for Lane County.

[00:02:58] Caitlin Lemieux: My name is Caitlin Lemieux. I live in west Eugene in the Bethel area. West Lane is a community of interest and you should keep this area together or group it with other communities of interest.

[00:03:07] Transportation is critical to us. We in rural Lane County have to drive these highways for work and daily life. We need safe roads for our drivers and for the public. Two of our main transportation concerns in West Lane are Highway 126 and Territorial Highway. Lane County in 2017 analyzed the traffic crashes. The most significant finding is that there is a disproportionate impact on rural Lane County with regard to the number of fatalities, particularly when compared to population. This issue has persisted for decades and major safety issues concern us every day in our line of work.

[00:03:45] My biggest concern with Map J is that it extends the north Eugene district well into rural areas like Alvadore, splitting rural families into separate districts and combining them with motorists who have different priorities, specifically transportation. I support Map C. It has all of West Lane into one district. Map C just ensures that our issues stay our issues and we will not be split up.

[00:04:08] Krystal Vincent: My name is Krystal Vincent. I live in north Eugene, but I work at the edge of the Churchill neighborhood. And between growing up in Eugene, and driving my kids around and making deliveries for my job at the flower shop we own, I feel like I have a good understanding of the different areas of this city.

[00:04:25] I support Map C because it really does the best job of honoring the North and South Eugene areas. In my eyes there are only two boundaries that really divide north and south Eugene, either the Willamette river, or I-105. Map C is the only map that uses either one of those options. Map C is the only proposal that was drawn by a woman. That would be a historic moment for Lane County government.

[00:04:47] John Q: The commissioners moved towards the vote.

[00:04:51] Commissioner Laurie Trieger: The purpose of this committee was to create a process that had transparency and integrity and required constituent engagement and keeps the commissioners at an arms length from influencing the drawing of district boundaries while retaining the ultimate accountability with our vote tonight. A large motivator for establishing the process came from the people and their utter dissatisfaction with and mistrust of the process 10 years ago, which yielded the current district boundaries like with every policy or decision we make there likely is no such thing as a map that pleases everyone.

[00:05:25] Because of population growth and the nature of being such a geographically large county with both the metropolitan center, rural small communities and towns, plus unincorporated areas, there will always be a certain tension in how best to represent and serve the different or unique needs of these communities.

[00:05:41] At the end of the day, every constituent gets one commissioner to represent them. And then it’s up to the commissioners to take the time, to learn their district and to be responsive to the constituents concerns, no matter which part of the district they live in. Each of our districts, even mine in south Eugene, have very different microclimates within them in terms of socioeconomic status housing stock, industry, and so on.

[00:06:05] John Q: She said another commissioner coordinated a smear campaign.

[00:06:09] Commissioner Laurie Trieger: A coordinated campaign stirred up by Commissioner Bozievich, multiple social media posts and internet radio nonsense, making false claims of undue influence and assertions of conflict of interest in this process … it is deeply disappointing to me that the sincere work done by this all volunteer committee has been marred by hyper-politicization, misinformation and ‘Stop The Steal’ style inflammatory tactics from a sitting commissioner. …

[00:06:36] Some of you have heard me say before that the process is an outcome. We should be proud of the bold steps we took to create a first-of-its-kind independent redistricting committee in Lane County. And while I understand IRC members are working on a feedback report for us to suggest ways to improve the process in the future, the notion that there’s room for improvement in no way is a reflection on, or measure of the validity or quality of, the work product this committee has put before us.

[00:07:00] So in conclusion, we five commissioners unanimously approved this process. The process asked the committee to present us with two to four maps in their ranked order of preference. Map C came in last, Q second, and Map J received top ranking being voted first choice by far, and I wholeheartedly support their recommendation of Map J. Thank you very much.

[00:07:24] Commissioner Jay Bozievich: I just want to say the aspersions that are being thrown out there. I didn’t lead some attempt to make a bunch of public comment. I have asked people to go to Lane multiple times on social media and in my program, review all three maps and decide which one, for themselves, met the criteria and provide us input. And what we’re hearing now that it has been out in the public, and public input’s been available, is in overwhelming support for Map C. It’s mostly been about trying to maintain the rural representation, keeping the Eugene districts within the UGB, keeping communities of interest together.

[00:08:07] Commissioner Pat Farr: I’ve been through redistricting twice from the City of Eugene… And quite frankly, I think that the committee did a good job you know, they gave us three very different choices that created a very different landscape….

[00:08:17] My favorite Map C keeps things closer to intact the way they are. It’s more of a moderate adjustment around the edges. So in order of preference—I’m going to just put it right out right now—I would choose Map C as my first preference, Map J as my second, and Map Q, I think is a little bit hideous in some of its recommendations, including putting the metropolitan area down into Creswell and Pleasant Hill. And that just doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

[00:08:46] John Q: By a vote of three to two, Commissioner districts will use Map J for the next ten years.

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