A central feature of the Lane County Commons will be partnerships. The cost of the project alone will necessitate this when it comes to acquiring funds for the work. But it is more than coming together to make the Commons happen financially, it is the synergy of community and the sense of ownership among the partners that will make the site a vibrant community resource and gathering site.
Below is a list of current partners, potential partners, and like-minded organizations that share common purposes and goals with the Lane County Fairgrounds Repair Project:
- Lane County: The first and most important partner in this project is Lane County. The County owns the fairgrounds property and oversee its operation. Ever since the Fairgrounds Repair Project first addressed the Board of Commissioners in March of 2008, Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson has been helpful and supportive. He has met many times with Eric Myers and Dan Armstrong and appointed Myers to Lane County Fair Board and asked Dan Armstrong to help with the county's efforts to bring the issue of food security into the public discussion. On September 22, 2009, the Fairgrounds Repair Project gave a presentation to the Board of Commissioners, asking the county to consider creating a feasibility study and implementation plan for a year-round market and food distribution warehouse at the fairgrounds site. This request was met with a very positive reaction from the four commissioners present, particulary from new commissioner, Rob Handy, and resulted in the forming of a task force to detail what that analysis would entail and what it would cost. Commissioner Sorenson put Myers and Armstrong on that task force along with the Fairgrounds Director, Rick Reno, Community Economic Development Coordinator, Michael McKenzie-Bahr, and Director of the University of Oregon's Community Service Center, Bob Parker. The task force will report back to the Commissioners at the end of November, 2009. Acceptance of the task force's recommendations will be absolutely critical to the advancement of the fairgrounds project.
- Eugene Water and Electric Board: Karl Morgenstern, EWEB's Drinking Water Source Protection Coordinator, is currently sponsoring projects to facilitate local food sales opportunities to institutional buyers in Lane County and to assist farmers in the McKenzie River Watershed transition to sustainable practices. The Fairgrounds Repair Project has had several discussions with Morgenstern and during the winter of 2009 worked with him in the Governor's Oregon Solutions Lane County Food Distribution Project. Morgensten has shown considerable interest in the Fairgrounds Repair Project, particularly the potential of using the fairgrounds site as a food hub and the effort to restore the Amazon Creek.
- The Lane County Oregon State University Extension Service: Ross Penhallegon, the Extension Service's horticulturist, has been involved in the Fairgrounds Repair Project conversation since the beginning. He has long thought the Lane County Fairgrounds should host a year-round farmers' market and was enthused that this was included in the project's vision. It is equally important to Penhallegon and Steve Dodrill, the Extension Service Staff Chair, that several of the repaired fairgrounds programs could provide additional and critically needed revenue streams for the Extension Service through classes, workshops, and plant sales.
- The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition: WFFC is a community based non-profit organization committed to developing a more secure and sustainable food system within Lane County. WFFC Executive Director Lynne Fessenden has been one of the Fairgrounds Repair Project's strongest advocates since being introduced to the project's ideas in May of 2008. Fessenden prompted WFFC to host a year-round farmers' market work group that included the Fairgrounds Repair Project, and she assisted in the writing of the Fairgrounds Repair Project's recent WFFC sponsored, USDA Farmers' Market Promotion Program grant application.
- University of Oregon Community Service Center: The Community Service Center (CSC) is an interdisciplinary organization that assists Oregon communities by providing planning and technical assistance to help solve local issues and improve the quality of life for Oregon residents. The CSC has recently become a Fairgrounds Repair Project partner. Along with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, the CSC assisted in the writing of the USDA FMPP grant application and is interested in helping the Fairgrounds Repair Project locate and apply for other grants and work with Lane County.
- Solarc Architecture and Engineering, Inc: Solarc is a commercial, institutional, and residential architecture and engineering firm in Eugene. They are known nationally for their award winning work in green and sustainable architecture. Solarc took part in the pre-USDA FMPP grant discussions, advised on preliminary design costs, is listed in the grant as a participant, and has offered assistance in city and county discussions about the feasibility and importance of the project.
- The Convention and Visitors Association of Lane County: Sue Gorham and Kari Westlund, of CVALCO, expressed in separate meetings with the Fairgrounds Repair Project a need for lodging, restaurants serving locally grown food, and fairgrounds site improvement, saying these amenities would enhance their ability to bring business conventions to the Events Center.
- Waste Free Oregon: Willy Brenninghouse is the owner and operator of Waste Free Oregon, a waste and recycling company based in the Eugene-Springfield area. Brenninghouse has worked many events at the Lane County Fairgrounds in the last few years and has been part of the Fairground Repair Project discussion since the beginning. He helped write the Whole System Recycling Program summarized in this proposal.
- The Governor's Oregon Solutions Lane County Food Distribution Project: The Oregon Solutions Project is currently working to facilitate institutional buying of locally grown products in Lane County. Critical to the success of this work is finding a minimum processing, food storage and distribution warehouse in a central Eugene location. The Fairgrounds Repair Project took part in the Oregon Solutions' work group and suggested the fairgrounds as a potential site for such a warehouse. This suggestion was received with tremendous interest and support.
- Metro Waterways Project: The Metro Waterways Project is currently working with the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the Amazon Creek. Jeff Krueger of the LCOG and the Metro Waterways Project was given a brief overview of the Fairgrounds Repair Project in February of 2009. Krueger immediately recognized the overlap of the work planned by the Metro Waterways Project and this proposal's Amazon Creek restoration and expressed interest in further conversations.
- Helios Resource Network: Helios Resource Network is a non-profit organization that promotes community livability by empowering local groups and businesses working toward sustainability. Helios Resource Network owner, Cary Thompson, has been part of the Fairgrounds Repair Design Charrette since its inception.
- Lane County Food Policy Council: Fairgrounds Repair Project co-founder Dan Armstrong and charrette member Cary Thompson are both memebers of the Lane County Food Policy Council. The Council embraced the Fairgrounds Repair Project when Dan Armstrong first described it to the LCFPC in March of 2008. The Council has been highly supportive of all the work done by the Fairgrounds Repair Project and much of the council's research applies directly to the issues addressed by the Lane County Commons' vision. LCFPC Chair Deb Shelton-Johnson has attended one of the charrettes and has offered considerable advice about fining and applying for Federal and State grants.
- The City of Eugene: Though the fairgrounds site is owned and managed by Lane County, it is located in the center of the City of Eugene. Because of this, the Fairgrounds Repair Project initiated communication with the City of Eugene in July of 2009 by meeting with Mayor Piercy to describe the project and how the City might join with the County in making the project happen. The Mayor was genuinely enthused by the project and immediately offered to reach out to the County to begin discussing how the City and County could work together as partners. While these discussions are still just beginning, the City has recently begun to address local food security issues and has recognized that the proposed Lane County Commons could be a viable answer to some of these issues.
- Cascade Pacific RC and D:
- The Green Store:
- Good Company:
- The Country Fair:
- Saturday Market:
- The Eco-builders Guild:
- The Permaculture Guild:
- Eugene Neighborhood Associations:
- Eugene Stream Team: