Mayor Takes Issue Against LCOG

From Lane Co Oregon

Springfield News. Friday.

Mayor Takes Issue Against LCOG

The city of Springfield perhaps lost its opportunity Tuesday to expand its boundaries to include the University of Oregon after Mayor John McCulley, following a meeting of the Lane Council of Governments held at noon, turned down the offer.

The jocular offer came from Eugene City Manager Hugh McKinley following some remarks made by Mayor McCulley during the LCOG session.

McCulley, referring to the recent tight vote in the Springfield city budget committee last week for the approval of local funds to help finance LCOG operations for the 1971-72 fiscal year, voiced his concern with the council's structure and the apparent power it has achieved.

"Some of us in Springfield are coming to feel that LCOG is really an LCOG for the city of Eugene," McCulley told those attending the meeting.

He was referring to the emphasis he feels has been placed on the approval of Eugene-oriented projects by LCOG directors to the detriment of Springfield and other parts of the county. He cited the recent disputes of the projected Jasper Road cutoff and the development of parkways east of the Willamette river as examples of Springfield discontent.

"I have the feeling," Mayor McCulley asserted, "that as I look across the table smiling, I'm getting my feet cut off."

While admitting that Eugene's problems are many and that he does not envy his colleagues across the Willamette River for some of the sticky ones they face, McCulley none the less stated that he felt that LCOG has gained too much power during recent years.

"I wonder if this agency has not become too dictatorial," he questioned, "and, while I have nothing against him personally -- I like him-- I'm wondering if Larry Rice isn't the most powerful man in Lane County today."

Rice is the executive secretary of LCOG who generally nurses state and federal funding assistance programs through LCOG to help finance many different types of projects planned for the county.

McCulley continued by saying, "I wonder if we have created a monster in LCOG that's outgrowing its britches as far as power in [sic] concerned. It seems we can hardly sneeze anymore without a review of some kind from LCOG."

He called for a restructuring of the council which would achieve wider representation on its board of directors from all areas of the county, and told the audience he felt compelled to voice his opinion in view of recent events.

Such a restructuring to broaden countywide representation on LCOG was first broached by the LCOG staff about two years ago, and the Metropolitan Study Commission now has under study a series of recommendations to achieve this as recently offered by former LCOG Chairman Kenneth Kohnen.

Following McCulley's remarks, Eugene Mayor Lester Anderson said he was aware that an imbalance of priorities may have occurred because of the size, location and needs of the immediate Eugene area. But he asked for tolerance by the other LCOG members in this respect.

"I'm sure I speak for the entire Eugene city council when I say we do not knowingly want to be in any such position to the detriment of other communities in the county," Mayor Anderson stated.

He also cautioned that few alternatives are available to help solve municipal and community problems other than the LCOG approach. He warned against the dangers of any return to what he terms "parochialism" which he asserted has destroyed other areas, and asked for all members to continue to work together. He further hinted that some new form of government -- perhaps an Urban Service Area or district might have to be formed to help solve existing problems.

His sentiments were echoed by LCOG Chairman Kenneth Omlid, who reminded those in attendance that restructuring studies for LCOG were already under way.

Following the LCOG session, Eugene City Manager McKinley approached Mayor McCulley and offered to code the entire University of Oregon campus area to Springfield.

But Mayor McCulley laughingly declined, claiming that such a move would have to be considered by him only after it was reviewed by those working on the 1990 County Comprehensive Plan.

In other actions, directors of the Lane Council of Governments deferred approval of an operations plan for Transportation Planning within Lane County as one of several items acted upon during the regular monthly session.

The new operations scheme is intended to broaden the approach to transportation plan-

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