Message From Your City Manager

City Manager Sarah Medary in front of the new Black Lives Matter mural

Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Friday, Eugene!

Today is Juneteenth, a celebratory day that began with the freeing of slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865. This was two and a half years after the January 1, 1863 effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation. This day was first celebrated in Texas where it officially became a state holiday in 1980. Since that time, many states have joined to recognize the importance of this day. Just yesterday, Governor Kate Brown announced her intent to introduce a bill during the 2021 legislative session to make it an annual state holiday commemorating freedom from slavery in the United States. There are many activities happening in Eugene to honor this day. As I write this letter, a group of artists and community members have already started painting a Black Lives Matter street mural outside the Federal Courthouse. 

If you haven’t heard, on Monday night the Eugene City Council voted unanimously to appoint me to the role of City Manager. I am extremely grateful for their support and confidence and am looking forward to how we shape Eugene in this time of unprecedented and overlapping challenges. As I shared with City Club of Eugene today, my vocabulary has shifted from resilience, recovery and reform to re-design. All of our systems need work to make the changes you are looking for today and tomorrow. I am committed and excited to lead that work.

The last few months we’ve all been super focused on COVID-19 and how to keep ourselves and our community safe. I’ll continue to keep you informed on that front and wanted to share a free online resource I recently came across that maps 37 health indicators by census tract. It’s called the City Health Dashboard and they’ve recently added some COVID-19 risk indicators (once you’ve searched for Eugene, select the City Overview tab to see all 37 indicators). As you’ll note, while we have a lower risk index for COVID-19, our numbers are higher for frequent mental distress, housing costs, unemployment and income inequality. The pandemic just amplifies and deepens each of these issues. We can do better.

Work has continued on the Downtown Riverfront Park and just yesterday the project manager, Emily Proudfoot, conducted a Facebook Live tour and Q and A. It’s a great 25 minutes as she walks through and explains the construction details that would normally be inaccessible due to safety fencing. You’ll get a great look at the project, the river and there’s even some baby geese. The City Council received a full update on the Parks and Recreation Levy and Bond this week which included some great information and footage on projects underway, to include flyovers of construction at Celeste Campbell Community Center and Echo Hollow Pool. 

It looks like we are going to have one of our beautiful Eugene summer weekends, and I hope you get a chance to enjoy it and everything this time of years offers us. If you’re out and about, keep wearing your face masks, keeping your distance and washing your hands. 

In community spirit,

Sarah Medary

City Manager

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