The headline this week was Council’s decision not to begin the process for historic designation for the east grandstands at Hayward Field. I agree with today’s Register-Guard editorial – this is the right outcome but the wrong process. To do the best work for our citizens, the UO and the City must be collaborative and transparent with each other. Council has directed staff to work with the university in a public engagement process both about how elements of the grandstands could be integrated in the new facility or elsewhere and in an ongoing conversation with neighbors about the impacts of noise, parking and traffic during construction and once the expanded field is back in operation in 2020.
Wednesday also opened the first of four budget committee meetings. The committee in general expressed concerns about the need for additional funding for public safety in multiple ways – both in terms of police and in the broad sense of resiliency. This is a conversation that will extend well beyond May’s budget meetings. This Wednesday, the 16th, the Council work session will look at community justice in the broad sense as a step toward looking at our citywide capacity to direct services in the most effective ways and prioritize areas where greater public investment is needed.
Speaking of public safety, I joined Councilors Evans and Semple at a meeting with downtown businesses at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss downtown safety. Frustration is profound – we all share it. Council will receive an update from staff on Monday, the 14th, about plans for activation and safety downtown during the spring and summer months. My hope is that many of the immediate concerns expressed at the Chamber meeting will be addressed in the staff’s update. Council will be voting on a new dog licensing requirement on Monday.