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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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Apr 24

April 23, 2021

Posted on April 24, 2021 at 7:05 AM by Niyah Ross

The guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial impacted us all for the better with a ray of hope that we might begin to make progress in deconstructing the culture of racism that pervades not just policing but all aspects of American society. 

 

The decision on Tuesday directly influenced the tone of the final meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policy.  In their 14th meeting, the full committee approved their final report with some additional appendices, commentary and research.  Each of the committee members offered closing thoughts.  The tone was sober and appreciative as members offered fragile hope that their work would prove to be a first foundation for a long, deep investment in change.  We are committed to this hard work and grateful to this group of people who dedicated themselves to this foundational step.

 

In keeping with this theme, on Wednesday Council approved changes to the Eugene Code.  While this may not sound interesting, the changes are important.  They include the addition of “unhoused status” to race, color, religion, national origin, disability gender identity, and sexual orientation to groups who are protected in the code addressing bias crime.  Also, in response to testimony at the public hearing on code changes regarding animal welfare, the City’s new ordinance removed proposed language that might have unfairly impacted unsheltered people who have pets.

 

In other business, on Monday the Council devoted the first work session to revising their vision and goals that will guide their priorities for the coming year; and listened to applicant statements for people wishing to serve on City boards and commissions.

 

On Wednesday, Council heard an upbeat report on the impact of the Parks and Recreation Bond and Levy.  These two revenue pieces were passed by the voters in 2018.  For most of us who have not been circulating much around town since March 2020, some of this work will be astonishing. The Campbell Senior Center is poised to open with an enormous new wing; the Echo Hollow pool renovation is under construction; and renovation at Sheldon Pool is next on the list, due for completion in 2022. At the same time, the levy enabled the city to invest in park safety and maintenance and to resurface walking and running trails.  There are more open bathrooms, better lights, more park hosts, and a team devoted to cleaning up the impacts of homeless campsites, thanks to voter support for this levy.

 

Wonderful things are happening – the Farmers Market is now temporarily hosted by Fifth St. Market as we prepare to demolish the butterfly lot to make room for the Farmers’ Market’s new permanent home.  Earth Day celebrations are scattered through town; and every Friday night in May the Park Blocks will host the Oregon Asian Celebration.  Last night, I was able to join a small group of supporters in the Hult Center to watch the Eugene Symphony video their May concert.  We are slowly coming back. But this good news comes with a caution.  COVID infections are spiking once again.  Please exercise the common sense you have mastered all year – let’s not jeopardize our progress with carelessness.  Thank you and Happy Earth Day!