LANE COUNTY, Ore. (KMTR) - It was a busy county commissioners meeting Wednesday, as the group looked at multiple tasks and made the first steps in some at least three major issues for Lane County's future.
Among the approvals, a recommendation from the administrator's office that would investigate a possible public safety money measure that could end up on the November ballot. The county said it will put together a 'task force' to decide whether the measure would be a levy, a bond or something else. The task force was tentatively scheduled to meet with commissioners in May.
The commissioners also agreed to close the Springfield "Justice of Peace" court due to budget cuts, leaving one throughout Lane County located in Florence.
The justice court handles traffic tickets, landlord tenant cases, small claims under $75 dollars and some misdemeanor cases. Oakridge's justice court closed in 2011 also due to the budget. Commissioners said Wednesday they hope to bring the court back when the funding becomes available.
Lane County established a new five year outlook in order to identify natural hazards and risks in the area possibly meaning thousands of new dollars in disaster preparedness.
The "natural hazards mitigation plan" is a roadmap showing how to prepare for the next disaster, hopefully making for fewer clean-up costs in rural and unincorporated areas. It's the second iteration of the plan, which was initially passed in 2006. For the revised version, emergency management narrowed the goals mapping out areas most at risk for flooding and earthquakes. They also made a database of the most vulnerable populations including the elderly and those with disabilities.
A mitigation committee is in the works for local residents to share their concerns about natural hazards.
"A big project for this plan overall is public education and outreach. The more we can do to make the public aware of the risks in Lane County, the better prepared they can be," said Linda Cook, Lane County Emergency Manager. "Knowledge is everything, and if you know where the hazards are and know what to do for that particular hazard, then your resiliency goes up exponentially."
One of the biggest pieces of the plan is the credit it earns with Fema, allowing people to take advantage of federal "mitigation dollars" assigned to projects that make structures and property more weather proof, disaster proof and etcetera.
Commissioners approved the plan unanimously.