Message From Your City Manager
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
I can’t believe I’m writing a one-year anniversary reflection of COVID-19 arriving in Eugene. I’m carrying strong feelings of hope while also acknowledging and feeling the exhaustion and pain of a long and challenging year. Many of you have experienced the direct health-related impacts of this virus, and my heart goes out to each of you who has suffered a loss or are still fighting for your own health. As we celebrate the cases going down and vaccines becoming increasingly available, it’s as important as ever to stay vigilant in prevention. My handwashing routine is forever changed, and I can’t imagine a day that I won’t have face masks in every corner of my life.
The last year has been hard on everyone and I’ve heard many difficult stories of loss that will continue to inspire me to lead a more resilient city. I’ve also heard many joyful stories of families reconnected, physical health improvements, new business ideas and life being re-discovered during a forced time out. Those stories are usually told more privately as most recognize the overall destruction from a year of pandemic. My year was a mix of both. I have felt the weight of the world as we work to protect everyone in the community. I’ve also had days of re-kindled creativity and a strengthened ability to find calm.
I will continue to acknowledge the difficulties and lessons learned from the last year. And, I’ll also speak proudly of what’s gone really well. That pride starts with our first responders and essential workers who selflessly worked every day to keep us safe and served. Because of their work, many services and projects have continued to thrive and move forward. Great physical examples include the renovation and expansion of Echo Hollow Pool, Campbell Community Center and the Downtown Riverfront. We’ve also built a new two-way protected bikeway on 13th Avenue and re-constructed the Amazon Trail. Big things are on the horizon with construction scheduled for the Sheldon Pool renovation and Striker Field Park. We’ve heard and witnessed how our public parks and open spaces have sustained your mental health and kept you active and connected.
The last year has elevated some core areas that need our continued community wide focus and leadership. We’ve clearly learned that public health and emergency preparedness, shelter and housing, racial equity, climate recovery, economic recovery and community safety are all connected. We’ve raised our collective awareness and can now make even stronger collective impacts that improve the lives and experiences of everyone in Eugene.
We’re still in this together.
In community spirit,