Our opening items of interest in Monday’s meeting included an announcement by Councilor Syrett of her intention to present the council with a resolution opposing Measure 105 at our October 22nd evening meeting, after the public forum at 7:30. Her hope, and mine, is that council can unanimously oppose this repeal of the State of Oregon 1987 anti-profiling statute that protects minorities, and that protects our local police resources from being compelled to help enforce immigration policy, which is a federal, not a state role. Opposition of Measure 105 aligns with the council’s own ordinance signed in March 2017 that reflects and expands the protections of the state’s 1987 statute.
Our Monday work session focused on an update of the City’s Climate Action Plan 2.0. This is the revised plan to guide our steps to meet our climate goals of carbon neutral city services by 2020; and 50% reduction of our 2010 fossil fuel use by 2030 within the city organization and community wide. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the city has reduced our internal fossil fuel use by 40%; and has held the first round of collaborative meetings with our large lever partners – UO, Bethel and 4J Schools, LTD and others – to coordinate and calibrate our efforts. The bad news is that our efforts are likely to fall short of meeting our goals. This news was foreshadowed in the review of the Transportation System Plan projects, which indicated that if all planned active and public transportation projects were implemented, we would reach 45% of our projected fossil fuel use by 2035. Council has asked for more detailed information about specific projects in the city and among the large lever shareholders in order to be able to identify where and how we can press for more reductions.
On Wednesday, council met jointly with the County Commissioners to hear the interim findings and recommendations about our overall systems for meeting the housing needs of our community, and the consultants’ specific insights into the role of a public shelter. This same information was shared at a public meeting in the evening, and is available on the city’s website. In sum, the Technical Assistance Collaborative suggested a low-barrier shelter of 50-75 beds is essential to enable the most vulnerable of the homeless to enter our system. They found that 83% of our homeless community are single adults; and 89% of that group are unsheltered. Further, 130 new people are falling into homelessness every month. A shelter would provide the first step into services, but would only help us address the overall need if other connections and bottlenecks in our system are improved. The final report will be presented in January, and my sense from both council and board was positive -- that it is providing us with the basis for strategic investments throughout our system.