Highway improvements are expensive and public money is scarce. It is essential that the Highway 126: Fern Ridge Corridor Plan incorporates a wide variety of perspectives and identify solutions that are realistic and have public support. Through the course of this project, ODOT will take the time to understand multiple points of view, listen for fresh ideas and resource materials, learn of others to include, revisit history to get the facts straight, and search the community for people willing to pitch in with an open mind and a will to move forward.
The outreach for this project is based on the following principles:
- Understand the needs and desires of project participants;
- Encourage open and honest communication;
- Be proactive by identifying issues and concerns early and throughout the process;
- Actively engages stakeholders in decision-making at the appropriate times, where diverse opinions are expected and welcomed
- Tailor information appropriately for each audience;
- Provide sincere and continuous opportunities for input; and
- Deliver complete and accurate information in a timely manner.
Who makes the decisions?
Imagine a funnel with a wide range of alternatives for improving the highway going in at the top, and out the bottom comes the final decision about what to do. The narrowing of alternatives occurs through consulting with the public and analyzing studies.
In evaluating alternatives, the Project Management Team will consider community input, data about transportation safety and needs, and scientific studies about the environment. Four public bodies will weigh in on the final decision:
- The Lane County Planning Commission:
Five individuals appointed by the Lane County Board of Commissioners who will make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/PW/LMD/LandUse/Pages/PlanningCommission.aspx.
- The Lane County Area Commission on Transportation:
About 30 representatives from a variety of public and elected bodies who will make a recommendation to the Lane County Board of Commissioners and the Oregon Transportation Commission. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/act_laneCounty.shtml.
- The Lane County Board of Commissioners:
Five individuals elected by the residents of Lane County will vote to recommend the best alternative to the Oregon Transportation Commission. http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/BCC/Pages/default.aspx.
- The Oregon Transportation Commission: Five commissioners are appointed by the Governor to establish state transportation policy: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/otc_main.shtml
How will the project ensure that these public bodies agree on the best alternative? Success depends on robust input from individuals and groups with a major stake in the outcome of the project. Individual interviews, small group meetings, large public meetings, regular meetings with decision makers, and informal conversations with the public are all part of the process. Click here to view the Public Involvement Process graphic, which shows how the pieces fit together. For a detailed explanation, read our public involvement plan.
How will the public influence decisions? Through a series of public events, ODOT and the DKS Associates team will present information and ask for public feedback on ideas to improve the safety and function of the highway at key points in the project. If you would like to attend or receive an update on these public events, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- COMMUNITY FORUM #1: BRAINSTORM THE OPTIONS
At this first event, we will present information collected over the summer and possible project options. We will gather public input on the problem, needs, goals, and objectives of the study and explore the full range of potential options. (October 6, 2011)
- COMMUNITY FORUM #2: EVALUATE THE OPTIONS
We will study the options and present those findings at this event, and ask the public for input on preferred project options. (January 2012)
- COMMUNITY FORUM #3: CHOOSE AN OPTION
We will further study the options and present three or fewer most promising options at this event, and ask the public which option they prefer. (May 2012)