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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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Jul 09

July 9, 2021

Posted on July 9, 2021 at 2:09 PM by Niyah Ross

I am grateful to be able to begin this blog noting that we have come through the July 4th weekend without conflagration in our dry landscape.  Thank you to all of you for respecting the ban if it applied to you, and for your careful use of legal fireworks if you live in other parts of the City.


Climate change is no longer an issue for the future; and the dry early wildfire season makes it abundantly clear that this weather is not an aberration – it is the new normal. At the local level, we are making progress.  The City announced that it has achieved carbon neutrality for all 2020 emissions.  These reductions were met through upgrades and changes in operations in the City’s fleet and facilities – such as electric vehicle purchases and low-heat asphalt paving.  To bridge the gap between our Climate Recovery Goals and our on the ground reductions, the City purchased carbon offsets through The Climate Trust for the Winston Creek Improved Forest Management Project in Morton, Washington.  Our goal is to move beyond offsets to actual reductions in the City – and we will get there.  This is an important step along the way.


There were no Council meetings this week, but I attended and participated in a couple of meetings that are worth reporting.  On Tuesday, I joined a small crowd at the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact to hear the announcement of a second $500,000,000 grant from Phil and Penny Knight. The applied research at the Knight Campus promises great things for our community, nation and world, and this new investment will help build on their success in only one year of full operation.  I am hopeful about the potential for us to be a center for innovation that inspires high school students to invest their creative, problem solving in solutions to many issues we face, advances the careers of college students, encourages entrepreneurs, and helps us build strong, family-wage jobs.


Following that theme, I attended my first meeting as a member of the Regional Solutions Advisory Committee for the Mid-Valley and Coast.  I sought an appointment by the Governor on this committee because of my deep interest in building strong economies throughout the region.  The health of our City’s economy is tied to the health of all of the communities around us.  The Regional Solutions team connects cities and counties to state agencies to build solutions.  One of the most interesting current projects I learned about at this meeting is a biomass facility in Oakridge that can manufacture products and potentially generate hydrogen using the slash left behind by timbering.


And finally, I have been reaching out to business leaders in Eugene with a goal of creating a Mayor’s Business Advisory Board. While we have an effective Chamber of Commerce and City staff in regular contact with a diversity of businesses, the City has not had a sustained board or commission that relates directly to business concerns.  As we rebuild from the pandemic and seek to build better and more equitably, it is important for elected leadership to have constructive relationships and understanding with the people and businesses who create jobs and build the economy.  This is one of two boards I have initiated this year – the other being the Youth Advisory Board.  I believe both are important complements to the other boards and commissions that advise me and City Council.