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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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Nov 06

November 6, 2020

Posted on November 6, 2020 at 5:30 PM by Niyah Ross

This has been an exhausting week for all of us watching the Presidential Election unfold.  The first week of the month is always a breather for Council because it’s the one week every month with no Council meetings.  Even without Council meetings my week was full and encouraging.

On Wednesday, I joined other elected officials and community leaders in the Rally for Democracy calling for a complete count of all votes.  The gathering was peaceful and inspiring.  That day, November 4th, was also the day that the US officially withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement.  As a Climate Mayor, I joined several other mayors in releasing a video announcing our continuing commitment to addressing climate change with the refrain “We are still in.”

On Thursday, I joined my colleagues from LTD, Springfield, Lane County and Coburg on the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC) in agreeing to include greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions as an integral part of our transportation planning goals.  This may not sound big, but the MPC applies for and oversees the expenditure of federal and state funds on transportation projects. 

The committee has long invested in active transportation and transit, for example, directing funds for Safe Routes to School, road safety improvements and bike paths.  Speaking with a united voice about our commitment to reducing GHG emissions strengthens our position to leverage both state and federal dollars for the kinds investments we need to address climate change. With DeFazio’s reelection, he retains his role as Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which can only help to support our local efforts to invest in GHG reducing transportation strategies.

Later in the day, I joined other colleagues from Springfield, Florence, and Lane County in the Public Safety Coordinating Council.  This is another federally mandated body, like the MPC, that applies for and oversees the expenditure of federal and state funds for public safety.  This month’s meeting began with the first of a series of discussions of diversity, equity and inclusion in public safety. 

For many of those seated at the table, our failures to address upstream solutions in education, mental health, and addiction treatment are reflected in the demand for the work they do – in Child Protective Services, the  jail, parole and court system -- and the disproportionate number of people of color who are adversely impacted by the criminal justice system.  This initial conversation as revealing as well as powerful and moving.

Lastly, today (Friday) I joined a meeting of Mayors and CEO’s for Housing Investment to talk about our strategies post-election to increase federal commitment to affordable housing and solutions to homelessness.  Mayors across the country face similar challenges and combining our voices and experience strengthens our chances of shifting policies at the national level.

I’m encouraged by the momentum and commitment to fair representation, to addressing climate change, racial justice and the need for housing for everyone.  Eugene can lead the way as we are not in this alone in.

Let’s all try to breathe a little deeper this weekend after an edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting week.  There is important work to do and we in Eugene are in a good position to do it.