This was mostly a week of anticipation. Council received a briefing from Williams Dame and Associates about their vision and plans for the riverfront development on the EWEB property, and the City announced that PeaceHeath has stepped up as the title sponsor or our bikeshare program that will launch this spring.
Both of these speak to the future. We are directing our work toward responding to the dual challenges of climate change and population growth by enabling compact urban development that will create over 300 units of housing, a portion of which will be subsidized and affordable. Complementing this is our emphasis on active transportation through bikeshare as a way to enable people to make short trips initially between the University, downtown and Whitaeker. We are aiming to reduce parking and traffic intensity, as well as our fossil fuel use, while also making our streets safer and more pleasant. We are grateful to PeaceHealth for helping us realize this vision of a healthy, safe community.
On other news, I spent much of Tuesday in my role as board member of Oregon RAIN. As you may know, the City and the University of Oregon partnered to invest in this collaborative program to “grow our own” businesses. Eugene RAIN, now merged with the Fertilab incubator as a freestanding nonprofit, helps entrepreneurs launch new businesses and connect them to a network of mentors and other resources that can support their growth. Eugene RAIN is part of a triad, including Corvallis RAIN and the statewide Oregon RAIN. Our state legislators renewed their confidence in the value of this work with a $1 million grant in the 2017 legislative session to help us build our capacity. I have now committed to chair a subcommittee with the Corvallis mayor and Oregon RAIN venture capitalist staff to focus on strengthening private support for this key economic development program.