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Keeping in touch: Notes from the Mayor

Mayor Lucy VinisThis blog aims to nurture our conversation and understanding of the issues before us. Every week, I will provide a weekly update on the activities in the city government, my activities as mayor, and brief reflections on progress, opportunities and challenges. You are invited to respond with reactions, insights and questions. We do this work together.

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Feb 22

Weekly Recap- February 22, 2019

Posted on February 22, 2019 at 5:07 PM by Nicole Bernstein

Considering that Monday was a holiday, this week packed a punch for council.

On Tuesday, we shared a joint work session with the LTD Board to review and take action on the next steps in LTD’s “Moving Ahead” project.  This is the long-term planning process for determining how the five major transit corridors in the city will be enhanced in order to increase service and ridership in areas that are identified for more compact development.  The corridors include Highway 99, River Road, Coburg Road, MLK Boulevard, and 30th Avenue. Each corridor is considered for one of three levels: no build (no structural changes); Enhanced (improvements in corridors for traffic flow, boarding and disembarking); and EmX, the full restructuring of routes to enable rapid transit buses to jump traffic cues with dedicated lanes and lights.  The options are presented as “packages” with different configurations of each corridor within the package. For example, in one package River Road could get EmX service; MLK Enhanced; and 30th Ave. No Build. Council approved LTD’s plans to take these packages to the public for review and feedback.

Next was a four-part public hearing on four draft ordinances.  Only the latter two attracted significant comment -- 34 people spoke about the proposed Construction Excise Tax and 42 spoke about the proposed ban on giving donations from a vehicle in traffic.  On the first issue, most speakers were divided in opinion about the percent of the tax -- whether the tax should be a maximum of .5% or 1% of the construction cost. Only a few spoke against the tax in any form.  This will return to council on April 8th for a vote.

On the second issue, an animated crowd was about 3 to 1 opposed to the panhandling ban.  Council will return to vote on this ordinance on April 15th.

On Wednesday, council devoted an entire 90 minute session to a review of the criteria related to Accessory Dwelling Units that were cited in the state’s remand of our ADU ordinance approved in 2018.  The criteria were grouped in three categories: retain, remove, and uncertain, based on the legal staff’s understanding both of council’s original intent and the correlation of a criterion to the state’s requirement that it be reasonable and related to siting and design.  For example, council agreed to keep a criterion related to lot coverage; and to remove owner occupancy. The goal of this fast-moving session was to create clarity for staff to craft a draft ordinance; and clarity for the public to understand what criteria are remaining and proposed to be removed.  I do not expect all of the choices made this week to appear in the same way in the final ordinance language. The public hearing will be scheduled after council returns from it’s March spring break.

Council is holding a workshop on Saturday, Feb. 23rd, to review the work on housing, homelessness and public safety, which were identified as key areas in 2018; and to discuss at length the Community Safety Revenue proposal.

Next week will be short -- with council meetings on Monday only. Councilor Taylor will preside as I will be in Washington, DC on the annual United Front trip with the County, Springfield, Lane Transit, Willamalane Parks and Springfield schools to advocate for federal support for local projects.

We have scheduled a Wednesday meeting on March 6th in place of the cancelled Feb. 27th meeting in order to have the full council present for a discussion of HB2001, the draft legislation to allow multi-unit housing in all R-1 single family residential zones.