Road fund, retirement issue head mayor's list.Byline: JOE MOSLEY The Register-Guard
His speech was filled with challenges - to the Oregon Legislature, the Lane County Board of Commissioners and all of the city governments within the county.
But the most deft may have been one delivered to Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey himself, just before he launched into his annual State of the City address on Wednesday.
Torrey had just finished presenting awards to a community volunteer, three city employees and a pair of high school seniors. The mayor spent several minutes congratulating the final recipient, South Eugene High School South Eugene High School is a public high school located in Eugene, Oregon, United States. It was founded as Eugene High School around 1900, and was located at Willamette Street and West 11th Avenue in a brick building that later served as Eugene's city hall. senior Quinn Wilhelmi, for his academic honors, civic-mindedness and budding political acumen.
Wilhelmi then took the microphone and posed a couple of questions to Torrey.
"How do you like being mayor?" he asked.
To which Torrey replied that he was having a good time at the moment.
"Your term ends in 2005, right?" Wilhelmi said tongue-in-cheek, stopping somewhere short of announcing his own candidacy.
A full house at the Eugene Hilton Conference Center erupted in laughter and applause - the lightest moment in a mostly dead-serious gathering in which Torrey recounted the city's accomplishments of the past year and then laid a grueling course for what he said must be accomplished in 2003.
His top three priorities? Only to help find a solution to the state's public employee pension crisis, which has caused ballooning payroll costs among local governments across the state.
And to extend privileges at the new Eugene Public Library to all children in the city's two school districts, regardless of whether they live within the city limits.
And finally, to form a coalition with Lane County and all of its cities to pool and redistribute all road repair funding currently received by each jurisdiction - possibly even forming a single road maintenance department that he said could be modeled after the regional Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission.
His road maintenance suggestion came a day after the failure of a referendum petition drive headed by County Commissioner Bobby Green and aimed at forcing a public vote on a "transportation system maintenance fee" approved last month by the Eugene City Council.
With the petition drive coming up well short of the required number of voter signatures, the new fee could be levied against all residents, businesses and agencies in Eugene as early as July. But Torrey said Wednesday he will ask councilors to reconsider the fee if a more collaborative approach to street and road repairs can be worked out.
"We need to discuss and agree, as a county and cities, on the formula for distributing road funds," Torrey said, calling on the county commissioners in attendance to reconsider policies that have reduced the amount of road maintenance funds flowing from the county to Eugene and Springfield by more than half in the past five years.
Eugene Public Works Department Many governments worldwide have had departments or ministries referred to as the Public Works Department either formally or informally.
In Australia: -
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"I propose a discussion of a countywide road maintenance plan," he said, asking new county board Chairman Peter Sorenson to schedule an intergovernmental meeting before the end of February.
The mayor urged the 2003 Legislature to adopt an increase in the statewide gasoline tax Noun 1. gasoline tax - a tax on every gallon of gasoline sold
excise, excise tax - a tax that is measured by the amount of business done (not on property or income from real estate) that has been unchanged for a decade and to impose an additional fee on those who drive with studded snow tires.
And to all local governments, he suggested an end to provincialism pro·vin·cial·ism
1. A regional word, phrase, pronunciation, or usage.
2. The condition of being provincial; lack of sophistication or perspective. Also called provinciality.
3. and a pooling of resources and staff under a single road repair department.
"You want efficiency in government?" Torrey said, alluding again to regional governments' cooperative and successful approach to wastewater management. "We can do the same thing here if we put our effort behind it."
Sorenson, the county board chairman, said after the speech that he sees no reason why the mayor's ideas on teaming up to tackle a shared road repair problem couldn't at least be explored.
"I think the suggestion that we have the meeting and start dealing with the serious maintenance problems is a great one," Sorenson said. "The efficiency we might be able to achieve - that's a great suggestion."
Torrey's remarks on Wednesday didn't stop with his top three priorities: he also suggested that it's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a for the city and the state Department of Transportation to get together and fix an accident-plagued stretch of Belt Line Road between Gateway Street and River Road; state legislators need to amend land use regulations that have prevented the city from fulfilling its promise to build a regional park on land just outside the urban growth boundary "UGB" redirects here. UGB may also refer to Unión de Guerreros Blancos (White Warriors' Union), a death squad founded to repress leftist elements in El Salvador.
An urban growth boundary, or UGB in Santa Clara Santa Clara, city, Cuba
Santa Clara (sän`tä klä`rä), city (1994 est. pop. 217,000), capital of Villa Clara prov., central Cuba. ; city leaders must convince their counterparts at the University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. to help rejuvenate re·ju·ve·nate
tr.v. re·ju·ve·nat·ed, re·ju·ve·nat·ing, re·ju·ve·nates
1. To restore to youthful vigor or appearance; make young again.
2. Eugene's downtown core
The Downtown Core is a 266-hectare urban planning area in the south of the city-state of Singapore. by finding space there for a replacement to McArthur Court McArthur Court is a basketball arena located on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene. Also known as "The Pit," it is known as one of the toughest arenas in the country for opposing players to play in. The arena is named for Clifton N. ; and every civic leader in the state must insist that legislators address the problem of declining funding for public education during their upcoming session.
"The quality of education in Oregon is the determining factor of the quality of the state of Oregon," Torrey said. "I'm prepared, starting next week, to travel to every county seat in the state of Oregon and talk to school administrators and elected officials, and urge them to put pressure on the Legislature."
Among the highlights of the past year that were noted by the mayor were last month's completion of the downtown library; the reopening last fall of Broadway through the former downtown mall The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia is one of the longest pedestrian malls in the United States. Located on Main Street, it runs between 2nd and 5th Streets. It is laid entirely with brick and home to an array of restaurants, shops, offices and art galleries. ; completion of the East Bank Bike Path, which is set for a grand opening late this month; construction of a skatepark in the Bethel area; and voters' approval of funding for a new downtown fire station.
Also during Wednesday's two-hour session, re-elected city councilors David Kelly This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling.
You can assist by [ editing it] now. and Gary Pape were sworn in for new four-year terms, and newly elected councilors George Poling and Jennifer Solomon took the oath of office An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations. to begin their service.
In addition to Wilhelmi, the South Eugene High School student, those receiving awards from the mayor were Willamette High School Willamette High School is a school in Eugene, Oregon.
Willamette, or "Wil-Hi," is located in the Bethel-Danebo area of west Eugene, and is the only high school in the Bethel School District. senior Maria Montes mon·tes
Plural of mons. ; Beverly Farfan, coordinator of Whiteaker School's annual Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner The centerpiece of contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States is a large meal, starring a large roasted turkey. All of the dishes in the traditional American version of Thanksgiving Dinner are made from foods native to North America, according to tradition the Pilgrims received these ; Jon Carson of the city's Central Services Department; Jennifer Curry of the police department; and Scott Olmos of the Department of Fire & Emergency Services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services' .
A second annual counterpoint to the mayor's address, cosponsored by Citizens for Public Accountability and Friends of Eugene, is scheduled for noon Wednesday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 13th Avenue and Pearl Street.
Organizer Jan Spencer said the program is likely to touch on many of the same issues addressed in Torrey's speech, but the focus will be on responsible planning, public transportation alternatives and environmental concerns.
"The Citizens' State of the City Address will certainly cover a lot of the same topics, but from a different perspective on a good deal of that," he said.
Mayor Jim Torrey promised to lobby for education in remarks Wednesday at the Eugene Hilton. "I'm prepared, starting next week, to travel to every county seat in the state of Oregon and talk to school administrators and elected officials, and urge them to put pressure on the Legislature," he said. THOMAS BOYD / The Register-Guard