?I will begin at the end. Yesterday as we reeled from news of the school shooting in Florida, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a new, sensible, timely restriction on gun sales to people guilty of domestic violence. I was in Salem advocating on behalf of housing and other critical issues to the City of Eugene. Representative Nancy Nathanson’s first words to me were “I’m so proud to be an Oregonian” because of this legislative action. Me too.
I am also proud of our City Council who voted their support for the international Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change. The declaration was crafted by 13 scholars at the 2015 Paris Climate talks, one of whom, Dr. Tom Kerns, is the brother of our former police chief and a resident of Yachats. The Declaration resonates with city policies and our recognition that people of color and people in poverty disproportionately suffer the impacts of climate change. We will not succeed in our goals to address climate change if we ignore or neglect this reality. Our work toward energy efficiency offers us an opportunity to create better lives for everyone who lives here.
Council made critical steps this week on three key issues. They voted to send a pair of parks and recreation funding measures to the May ballot: one to create a levy to support operations and maintenance of our parks; the second is a bond to invest in capital improvements.
Council also voted to send an alternative auditor measure to the ballot. I recognize that this decision is disappointing to proponents of the citizen initiative, Measure 20-283 who are passionate and deeply invested in their proposal. It does not feel good to have others question the merits of that work; but this is a significant public policy decision and I, and a majority of council, agree that the public should have the opportunity to choose which model is the best fit for our city.
And third, Council moved forward to amend the rules governing ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft with the expectation that adjustments to our insurance requirements and background check processes will make it more likely for these companies to enter the Eugene/Springfield market.