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!