Community Preparation: Pulling In the Players (Cynthia Beal) : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread

Hi Tom;

>Cynthia, have you pulled in the Army Corp of Engineers (COE) and/or local
>FEMA Board to this discussion? Lookout Point is currently being retooled,
>one might assume they were y2k savvy, but you know what that means! Local
>FEMA Board is a logical coordinator. Also what about Red Cross position?

The job, up till this point, has simply been to get the Players who can bring in these players you mention up to speed enough to begin to validate the concern and generate meaningful action.

Pete Sorenson, our Lane County Commissioner, is now firmly on board with the scope of the problem and the magnitude of the solution, as well as the vulnerability of the county budgets to disruption, and the potential de-funding of numerous activities considered "mission critical" by us at the local level, but perhaps not seen as such by those "higher up".

COE has not been famous for cooperating with citizens concerned about impacts of large operations in our area. However, a customer who came to the store yesterday has a long history of working on dam safety in our area and by the time he left the store, he knew what y2k was. He's going to look into getting the Neighborhood Emergency Response Training (I think it's offered in Portland) geared up over this issue.

He's also getting with an engineer over at OSU he's worked with on dam control systems and they'll be looking at this hard over the next couple of months, I'm sure. He'll get to COE, hopefully using them for information and response in the fashion they're designed to be used for, and not put them in the awkward place of having to step forward in a leadership role. Lookout Point should be addressed through this manner - if we have dam control failure in January 2000, in the middle of heavy rains, and we can't release water properly, we could have an overflow and that volume of water could break the dam. It IS an issue.

I think that wherever FEMA is concerned, we should have proactive citizen involvement, similar to CPA (Citizens for Public Accountability - they could take this up and may be considering it - I've sent them info) and FOE (Friends of Eugene) as well as heavy participation from the traditional communities of concern who respond in emergencies, like the church community, St Vincent De Paul's, the Food Bank, etc. These groups should work very, very closely with FEMA - since, by nature, FEMA can't be very proactive, citizen groups have to take on this role. We will be experiencing an upsurge in homelessness, emergency shelter needs, human crises, etc. simply due to the upheaval and volatility of the economy, if nothing else. Those of us who've worked with these issues over time know this to be true - y2k has already hit the marginalized, and will continue to do so, whether we decide to attribute it there or not.

The Red Cross - Eugene Chapter - has declined participation. The National Chapter hasn't issued any directives, other than to remind local groups that they can't get political. Since there are those who intend to actively politicize y2k in ways that are confrontational, since confrontation is part of their social change strategy, it's likely that the most neutral organizations will have some difficulty getting any sort of concerted effort mounted until a rather late date.

I'm glad you're here.


-- cynthia (, December 23, 1998


Let's not forget the important work to be done at the neighborhood level. I have a commitment from Alan Wilm, Churchill Area Neighbors, to include y2k as an agenda item in January. How about the other neighborhood assosications? Call or email your rep, and ask that this topic be included at the next meeting. And don't forget your city councilor's and county commissioner's.

Working together we can make a difference. Thank you all for your efforts.

-- Lisa (, December 24, 1998.

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