I had a great time welcoming our panelists and
guests to my August Town Hall meeting.
In the District
On August 19, 40 of our neighbors joined together with a
panel of professionals and stakeholders from the health care community to discuss
health care challenges facing Oregonians.
I was honored to welcome Senator Alan Bates, a family physician from Ashland, to the
event. Sen. Bates co-authored the 2007
Healthy Oregon Act and provided some great perspective from both a legislative
and health care provider point of view.
Other members of the panel included Dr. Leo Cytrynbaum, a Eugene
physician; Pam Stuver, Lane County public health nurse; Dr. Sarah Hendrickson,
Lane County Public Health Officer; and Terry Coplin and Rhonda Busek of the
Lane Individual Practice Association.
This was a great meeting.
I truly appreciated the many thoughtful questions. To ensure that all Oregonians have access to
the health care they deserve at affordable prices will take the hard work and
the input all citizens from all walks of life, so I would invite you to
continue the conversation at the Oregon Health Fund Board's public meeting,
September 11 from 6:30-9:00 PM at Lane Community College, Bldg 19, Rooms 103,
104. This event is part of a series of
public meetings held across the state to share details and comment on the draft
plan for reforming health care in our state.
Beltline and Delta, Coburg,
and River Road
I'm pressing for SAFETY CHANGES NOW. In a recent
meeting with state and county transportation staff, I urged near-term changes
and improvements to increase safety now, including operational, lane, ramp,
signal and other methods to reduce the hazard of driving in this corridor.
Here is the Letter to the Editor I submitted to the Register Guard in
To the editor:
The recent crash-induced tie-ups on Beltline spotlight the
critical safety problems on Beltline, especially around the intersections with Delta Highway and Coburg Road. It is
urgent for Eugene, Lane County
and ODOT to collaborate on finding immediate solutions, and not rely on the
long-awaited major overhaul to deal with these problems. Such a project will
take many years to plan, design, arrange funding, and build, as exemplified by
the I-5 flyover project. Meanwhile, the situation is not just inconvenient and
frustrating; it is growing ever more dangerous.
It is time to identify interim actions that will improve
safety now. I hope the city, county and state will recognize the need to act,
and all pitch in to make needed improvements. Meanwhile, planning for the major
overhaul should proceed unabated.
Concern for potential health hazards from industrial
In a portion of state House District 13 (north Eugene) residents have
been concerned about the potential health hazards from industrial activities,
especially the railyard. The Trainsong and lower River Road neighborhoods have been
working with local and state officials to examine the current situation and
determine possible actions to remove or reduce any potential health risks.
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) began investigating
environmental conditions in the railyard area in 1989. They have been
testing soil, groundwater and air for possible contaminants including oil and
grease, creosote, and solvents, and coordinating cleanup of these
contaminants. Most recently, they have overseen a project to install
barriers to prevent vapors rising from the ground into a few homes that had
been affected. This fall, tests are being done to confirm the presence of
vapors, and to determine the effectiveness of vapor barriers to the extent that
they are needed. Results should be available in October, 2008. For
a full report from DEQ see this website: http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/cu/wr/uprreugene/.
The Oregon Public Health Division has also been
investigating potential public health concerns from industrial activities in
the District. Their information is available at: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/shine/uprrsite.shtml
Interested residents concerned about environmental and
public health issues from the railyard might also be interested in a
Citizen Advisory Group established by the City of Eugene (contact Brenda Wilson at
Meetings and Visits
Another sampling of activities, meetings or events attended
from the past few weeks: Lane County and state transportation planners, home care
workers, veterans, AARP, Oregonians for Health Security, River Road Community
Association, Oregon Students Association; preserving Oregon history through newspaper
Other topics I'm working on
- Expanding services for our veterans and military personnel
returning from active duty.
- Spreading the word about financial help to attend college -
for both new and returning students of all ages.
- Helping manufactured home residents purchase their park when
it's put up for sale.
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities