Council focused on broad issues this week, despite the absence of three councilors, Semple, Taylor and Evans, who were all attending the National League of Cities conference in Little Rock.
On Monday we received another update from Police Chief Skinner about his proposals for immediate investments in public safety. He is proposing a combination of strategies including more agile and flexible staffing to ensure the right number of officers are available where they are needed most, to complementing the human eyes on the ground with “guardian” cameras. The cameras would be visible and well labeled to enable police to see criminal and nuisance activity and respond. Ultimately, the city will need to dedicate sustained increases in public safety funding, but this season and through the winter, the council has approved some one-time additional funds to give the Chief the capacity to enhance services now.
Monday night also included a public hearing on the proposed deal points with Williams/Dame & Associates for the riverfront development. Comments from 16 citizens were almost universally enthusiastic, with some reminders about connecting our priorities on climate action and affordable housing.
Wednesday’s session brought an update on preparation for the World Track and Field Championship in 2021. City staff are working with our partners, Tracktown, UO, City of Springfield, Lane County, and Travel Lane to coordinate and build-off existing projects. The goal is not only to provide a welcoming and successful venue for athletes and visitors, but to build a positive legacy in the form of improvements to our parks and transportation systems, engaging youth in healthy activities, and demonstrating sustainability.
We also received an update on our implementation of Phase II of Envision Eugene, which is the completion of Eugene’s Comprehensive Plan. Phase I was completed when council adopted the Urban Growth Boundary in 2017. This second phase includes our plans around housing, transportation, community resiliency and public facilities. It relates to nine other planning projects such as our 2035 Transportation System Plan and our Climate Action Plan. It is the mega document that will guide our efforts in the coming years related to population growth and climate change. There are and will be many opportunities for public engagement between now and the Plan’s final approval next year.