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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Dec 08

City of Eugene Releases 2019 GHG Inventories

Posted to Climate Connection by Samantha Roberts

EugenePanorama

Seasons Greetings Eugenians,

Your City has been hard at work since the approval of the Climate Action Plan 2.0 in July of this summer. Today we are  highlighting the City’s newest Internal Operations and Community Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories, recent “A” score from the Carbon Disclosure Project, and details about tomorrow’s update to City Council at 12 PM. Scroll below for more information.

2019 GHG Inventories release
The City of Eugene released its 2019 Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Inventories today! GHG Inventories are conducted every other year for both City operations and community-wide emissions to meet reporting requirements in Eugene’s Climate Recovery Ordinance (CRO). The inventories measure both GHG emissions and fossil-fuel use.

Community-wide emissions increased slightly in 2019 compared to 2017, totaling just over 1 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e).  The increase stems primarily from increases in residential energy consumption and the transportation sector. Commercial and industrial energy consumption decreased during the same time period.

City of Eugene operational emissions increased in 2019 to just over 6,000 MTCO2e, an increase of about 24 percent. We found that the largest increase from 2017 was from fleet diesel consumption by 764 MT CO2e – this was due to renewable diesel market instability and the additional cost of over $1 per gallon of fuel, causing fleet to buy diesel blends with lower percentages of renewable fuel. Thankfully, the market has since stabilized, and Fleet has returned to using R99 fuel, a fuel blend made of 99% renewable fuel sources. 

Another change within operational emissions was an increase in natural gas emissions due to changing needs and maintenance at public facilities including the Airport, community pools, Downtown Library, and the Hult Center. The primary drivers of this were increased services to residents and some mechanical issues, which have been addressed.

City of Eugene receives “A” score from CDP
In related news, the City of Eugene received an ‘A’ score from the Carbon Disclosure Project, a global reporting agency which scores municipalities’ submissions based on their efforts to reduce emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. The City was one of 88 cities globally and 1 of 25 US cities to receive an A score, reflecting the City’s comprehensive efforts towards reducing GHG emissions as well as plans to equitably build resiliency within our community.

“We know that even while we work to protect lives from COVID-19 that environmental action cannot slow down”, says Mayor Vinis. “Both people and planet must be prioritized, and we are actively taking steps to do just that through our reporting efforts and the more than 115 actions identified in the CAP2.0.”

Sustainability update to City Council Wednesday, December 9th
At the Wednesday,  December 9th,  12pm City Council Work Session, staff will provide an update on the 2019 GHG inventories, the CAP2.0, and on motions passed by Council related to the CAP2.0 in July 2020.

We hope you are faring the remaining days of 2020 well. We look forward to continuing this good work into 2021.

Very best,
Samantha Roberts
Climate Policy Analyst, AIC
Sustainability Program

Jul 30

July 30, 2021

Posted to Keeping in touch: Notes from the Mayor by Caitlin Wallace

This was the last week of Council’s meetings for the summer. Council will return on September 8th, hopefully in person. With that in mind, the week’s meetings set the stage for discussions that will resume in the fall. 

At Monday’s work session, the Council had a chance to review and discuss the 50 recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policy. The City Manager, Interim Police Auditor and Municipal Court Judge developed a matrix that delineates three main actions for each recommendation: the decision making authority (Executive leadership, Council, County, State, or Federal); What needs to change (City code, collective bargaining agreement, training, Police Manual, City Charter, Case law, State or Federal law); and the current status (in progress, uncertain implementation path, under review, approved and in process, complete, or no further action.) When Council returns in the fall, the fields in the framework will be filled and will serve as the initial guide for the next review steps. The Matrix will be on the City’s website and will be a living document, adjusted as work proceeds. The intention is to be thorough and transparent in our review of the recommendations. 

Our second session on Monday was both an update on our response to hate and bias crimes and an opportunity for Council to approve a couple of changes. Staff reported on the historical and current occurrence and trends of these crimes in our community, noting that the newest update will be released in August. The trends are disturbing and the report notes that “data available from 2012 to 2020 indicates that bias activity is a constant issue affecting many Eugene residents, especially those in marginalized communities.” Of particular note, in 2020, 26 of 54 reported hate and bias crimes targeted Black Americans. The other note is that a very small percentage of these crimes results in prosecution, largely because the perpetrators are rarely caught because it is very hard to identify them. Council approved motions to send two proposed ordinances to a public hearing to align city with state law: adding the crime of Intimidation by Display of a Noose; and to increase the maximum penalty for Bias Crime in the Second Degree from $2,500 to $6,250. 

At the Council meeting later Monday night, Council approved a change in the ordinance governing Commercial Setbacks. This slow-moving decision is in response to a number of buildings, notably 13th and Olive, that comply with existing code and include apartments that front on the sidewalk with no separation or buffer. Council’s decision flips the existing code on its head: before this change, the default code has not required a setback; now, the default in the new code requires a setback. Designs that adjust height separations for first floor apartments or include windows and taller ceilings for commercial uses can do so without a setback. 

On Wednesday, Council and the County Board of Commissioners met in a joint session to review progress in implementing the recommendations of the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC). As you will recall, the two bodies approved 10 TAC recommendations to address homelessness in 2019. Much of this work has moved forward: we hired a joint shelter and housing strategist to coordinate our efforts; the County has purchased 100 River Avenue to serve as our permanent shelter and navigation center and is designing the renovation; 161 units of permanent supportive housing are in varying stages of completion; we have expanded and hired our outreach teams; and the County has expanded rapid rehousing programs. 

In addition, the reduction in congregate shelters in response to the pandemic and state and federal relief funds pumped resources into alternative shelters. As we look at the TAC, both Commissioners and Councilors observed a need to update our numbers and our thinking: the number of unsheltered people is much higher than it was when the recommendations were developed; and our investment in alternative shelters is a larger part of our immediate and on-going response than we envisioned just a few years ago. There is interest in continuing to build on this multi-jurisdictional approach and to incorporate the investments and priorities in Springfield into our ongoing work. 

Even though Council will not be meeting in August, we will all be hard at work. The work on safe sleeping sites continues; the hazards of heat and wildfire are ever-present and some additional fire resources have been brought into town. At the same time, we are able to take advantage of some of our much loved summer activities. Yesterday I reviewed the submissions to the Mayor’s Art Show and cut the ribbon for the expanded and renovated Campbell Community Center. August offers us a Slug Queen contest and a Pride Festival, and the opening of the new Riverfront Park. We will be wearing masks indoors once again – but we will also be gathering outdoors. Enjoy and stay safe.

Jun 07

Becoming a Tourist in Your Own City

Posted to Parks Pulse by Elissa Gavette

When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the mass shutdown of businesses, services and travel, our world grew infinitely smaller. Like many, Whitney Donielson pivoted to work from home full-time and severely limited her outings. When Whitney looked at Eugene with a new perspective, her world started to grow again.

Continue Reading...

Oct 25

New Public Piano Downtown

Posted to What's Happening Downtown? by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Light Up the World Public Piano
A new piece of playable art is on its way to downtown Eugene!

The donated piano will be painted on the first floor of the Atrium building and then installed in the Park Blocks for the Nov. 17 Light Up Downtown tree lighting event. The piano will be available for the public to play through mid-December.

Local artist David Placencia will use a unique bubble paint technique to transform the piano into a work of art. His theme is “Light Up the World: A New Time of Unity”, and his design features colorful ribbons spiraling from an oval Mayan calendar. The public is invited to watch him at work on the first floor of the Atrium building (10th and Olive) from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, 3, 6 and 13. Examples of Placencia’s past work can be seen at khaostasis.com.

The piano will be the City of Eugene's third piece of playable public art this year. The first two pianos, stationed this past summer outside the Downtown Public Library and the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, were extensively enjoyed by musicians and audiences. Both pianos currently reside in Eugene Rec community centers to delight patrons during the rainy months.

The playable art program gives musicians the opportunity to share their talents and the public the chance to enjoy live music in a non-traditional setting. The pianos also serve as temporary works of public art, painted and collaged by talented local artists chosen to bring more color to downtown’s core. Similar programs exist in many cities throughout the country. For information about the Portland program, visit pianopushplay.com.