One of the very first projects Eagle Point City Administrator Dave Hussell faced when he came to Eagle Point was something called Regional Problem Solving. And, one of the very last projects Hussell will deal with as he looks toward retirement next spring is Regional Problem Solving.
Certainly there have been hundreds of projects along the way, but none of this magnitude or longevity.
Regional Problem Solving has been attempted and aborted in other areas of Oregon. With the exception of Jacksonville, Medford, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, Cental Point and Ashland have been involved in the 11-year process. The basic premise under which the plan has been developed has been to look at the anticipated growth needs of each of the aforementioned communities for a 50-year period.
“There has been huge value in bringing all entities together,” said Hussell. “(It) created close bonds with the cities and county that can follow through to other areas.”
Hussell said the original regulation was very vague so each small step has been evaluated and vetted.
There are steps yet to be taken, but last week the Jackson County Commissioners took one of those steps by voting unanimously to support the project. With an 11-year process, there have been many changes in local and county government, but to the credit of all involved, the project has been closely followed. Hussell gave credit to the two new county commissioners whom he said jumped right in to fully understand the process.
Hussell also gave huge credit to Josh LeBombard, county land-use planner, and to Kelly Madding, who has been involved through the process.
The next step will require each city to incorporate the RPS into their comprehensive plan. This is no small task. The City of Eagle Point will work with Dick Converse, Rogue Valley Council of Governments, to meet all the requirements. After, approval must come from the state. The state and DLCD (Dept. Of Land Conservation Development) has been supportive and helpful throughout the span of time.
Hussell noted there is always the possibility of an appeal. For an individual to appeal is probably not realistic. Hussell said 1000 Friends has worked with the process and although there have been some issues, he feels they are supportive overall of the plan.
Will RPS be signed, sealed and delivered by the time Hussell walks out the door for the final time as Eagle Point City Administrator? He hopes so. Only time and more hard work will tell.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent