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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 22

January 22, 2021

Posted on January 22, 2021 at 7:57 PM by Niyah Ross

This was a week to breathe deeply and recommit ourselves to the work ahead.  Beginning with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations, both virtual and drive-by, and culminating in a sober and hopeful inauguration on Wednesday, it felt as if we have all taken a collective sigh of relief.

On MLK Day, I welcomed the opportunity to greet approximately 200 cars as they drove through the John Serbu campus parking lot where they were greeted by NAACP volunteers, community organizations and elected leaders and expressed their support for carrying on the work inspired by Dr. King.

Using the title of Dr. King’s book “Where do we go from here?” the day’s celebrations culminated in a virtual event and the presentation of the City’s Human Rights Award to Linda Hamilton.  Mrs. hamilton is an unstoppable advocate for justice and education who has been active in this community for decades.  In accepting her award, Mrs. Hamilton pledged her commitment to continue to strive for change and justice.   I am grateful for her perseverance and contributions, to the NAACP and everyone who participated in this rejuvenating community celebration.

Council held their meetings back-to-back because of MLK holiday.  Tuesday night hosted a pair of public hearings.  The first addressed updates to the City’s criminal code to align with State statute; the second authorized the Manager to negotiate and sign a purchase and sale agreement of EWEB property.  This is a key step in assembling the pieces for the riverfront development, facilitating the acquisition by the City of a small piece of land near the Steam Plant.

Wednesday’s noon meeting followed on the heels of President Biden’s inauguration.  The meeting encompassed two topics: The City’s Naming Policy and a consideration of a new resolution condemning White supremacy.  I described these as appropriate bookends: on one side, the Naming Policy is an opportunity for the City to do better at recognizing the contributions of all the communities that built Eugene.  In naming public spaces, roads and buildings, Council seeks to better reflect our diversity and reclaim narratives that have been lost. To quote from our National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, “It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.”  

On the other side is the condemnation of White Supremacy.  Council had passed a Resolution condemning white nationalism in 2019, but the events of January 6th called for a renewal of that condemnation and a restated commitment to build a just, fair, and safe community for all. Councilor Syrett brought forward a powerful text that passed unanimously.