Looks like (crossing fingers) Lane County might be getting a little more sunshine on its governance. The county announced today that like the city of Eugene it will have a computer terminal with access for the media and the public to an email group made up of the County Commission, administrator and other publice officials, it will also open its front office to the public and make meetings rooms available at no cost during business hours.
Commissioner Pete Sorenson has been quietly making requests for the county to open its meeting rooms back up and to be more forthcoming about public records requests. New County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky told EW earlier this summer that the county was seeking to “foster an environment of openness and transparency” and is looking into improving access to public records.
The full press release is below.
County to Increase Public Access to Emails, Meeting Spaces at No Cost
Contact: Assistant Lane County Public Information Officer Trevor Steele: 541-954-0065
Today, Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky announced several changes to improve public access to certain County emails and meeting rooms. The changes include a new computer terminal for members of the public and media to review, at no cost, certain emails received and sent by Lane County Commissioners and the County Administrator. Additionally, several meeting rooms in the Public Services Building may now be used for community meetings at no cost during regular business hours. Finally, the front office for the County Commissioners, Administrator and other Lane County offices is now open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“These are important steps to bring our organization closer to our community,” said Mokrohisky. “We are making every effort to be open, transparent and engaging in our actions. These new improvements make it easier for our residents to access public information and to use public spaces.”
The County’s new public email terminal is similar to the model previously established by the City of Eugene for access to certain emails of Eugene public officials. The new County terminal will allow free access to an email group that lists all County Commissioners, the County Administrator and other public officials. The email group, firstname.lastname@example.org, can be found on the Board of County Commissioners web page on the County’s website at www.lanecounty.org. The community can access the new terminal at the front counter of the County Commissioners and Administrator offices on the second floor of the Public Services Building at 125 East 8th Avenue in Eugene. The public records request process for emails and other items that do not appear in the public email terminal will continue to be available.
Harris Hall and two other meeting rooms in the Public Services Building will now be available for community use at no cost during regular business hours when not otherwise reserved for Lane County or City of Eugene business meetings. Meeting organizers wishing to use the space outside of regular business hours will continue to pay a $150 fee. Residents interested in requesting use of Harris Hall should send an email to: LaneCountyHarrisHall@co.lane.or.us. Other meeting rooms in the Public Services Building, including the Relief Nursery space and the meeting room at the back of the café, will be available free of charge during regular business hours. The meeting room behind the café is being renamed the “Community Conference Room.” All of the spaces are subject to availability and must be scheduled in advance. Those interested in reserving the Community Conference Room should send a request email to: LaneCountyCommunityConfRoom@co.lane.or.us. Those interested in reserving the Relief Nursery meeting room should send a request email to: LaneCountyReliefNursery@co.lane.or.us.
The County Administration front office, including County Commissioners, County Administrator, Human Resources, County Counsel, and Community and Economic Development, is now open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The front counter hours had been restricted due to staffing constraints, however, a recent reorganization has created efficiencies that allow the County to provide improved customer service to the community without additional cost to taxpayers.