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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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Jan 27

Weekly Recap - January 27, 2020

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 1:16 PM by Elena Domingo

Last week began with a robust MLK Day march and presentation at the Shedd. The event included recognition, in honor of women’s suffrage, of women in our community who work every day addressing human rights and social justice. Their collective appearance on stage and reading a statement of their commitment to creating a better community was powerful and hopeful.

Because of the holiday, Council’s regular Monday night meeting was postponed to Tuesday. Our work session was dedicated to the final revisions to the ordinance governing Accessory Dwelling Units in order to comply with SB 1051. This has been a long path for council, which made changes to the ordinance last year that were remanded to the city after a number of organizations and individuals appealed to the state Land Use Board.

In the intervening months, the state legislature also passed HB 2001 which clarified the intention of the some of the broad language included in the ADU legislation. Specifically, the state disallowed requirements that ADUs could only be built on property in which the main dwelling is occupied by the owner and that off street parking must be available.

In addition to removing owner occupancy and parking requirements, council’s new ordinance removed restrictions on ADU’s built above garages and on slopes; adjusted graduated height requirements to maximize usable interior space; and retained maximum occupancy and bedroom limitations that apply only in three south Eugene neighborhoods near the University. An additional modification to parking requirements was included for the Jefferson-Westside and Chambers neighborhoods.

There will undoubtedly be more discussion of ADUs in the future, as more appeals have been filed on other aspects of the ordinance. It was important for council to act in January, however, because the statute requires us to implement an ordinance that complies with SB 1051 by January 2020.

On Wednesday, council received a report from Frank Lawson, General Manager of EWEB, regarding their plans to upgrade two water facilities on College Hill and Hawkins to meet seismic and water quality standards and to build a new reservoir on 40th St. All three sites will retain their park-like settings.

This week, Council will discuss their process and criteria for evaluating City Manager Pro Tem, Sarah Medary’s, performance leading up to their spring discussion about whether and how robust an executive search they will undertake for a permanent city manager. Tonight they will also hear an update on the programs supported by the library levy. On Wednesday will be a discussion of urban reserves and the potential purchase of the former LCC building at 1059 Willamette.

The adjustments to the forum that council discussed two weeks ago will be implemented starting tonight: only two minutes to speak per presenter; speakers to appear in a random order; and a cap of 90 minutes for the forum.

I will be absent from council this week as I am in Washington, DC for the annual “United Front” trip. This annual lobbying trip has taken place for 35 years. The cities of Eugene and Springfield, Lane County, Lane Transit District, Springfield Public Schools and Willamalane send elected officials and staff to make the case for investment in our local projects. The top of the list this year is investment in Franlklin Boulevard and continued pressure for investments in housing and homeless services.