The quiet council calendar this week left time in my schedule for a lot of background conversations with business leaders and with partners in the County and Springfield; as well as regularly scheduled meetings with the Police Chief, Police Auditor and City Manager.
It feels like the calm before the storm because there are significant policy discussions ahead. Next week Council will get the first deeper look at the possible pathways to respond to the 40 recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policy. Later in February we will get an update on our response to the unhoused population, including the gradual relocation of people from Washington Jefferson Park into the newest safe sleep sight at 410 Garfield. The Moving Ahead framework for improving safety and transit service along five major corridors will be discussed at a joint meeting of Council and LTD board; and the first work session on the Planning Commission’s draft code revisions to comply with HB 2001 is coming in early March. On top of that, Council will consider multi-unit property tax exemptions for the first residential construction in the new riverfront neighborhood. We will return with meetings on renter protections and have an initial discussion regarding local authority to regulate the impact of chronic industrial pollution.
We also will be tracking proposed bills in the short legislative session this month, with some specific requests of our legislators to support the City that include: investment in the permanent homeless shelter, local authority to adopt a high performance build energy code to meet our climate goals (currently a state authority); modernization of the City’s IT and Cybersecurity systems; one time funding to support the fan festival that is our part of the Oregon 22 World Athletics Championships in July; and support to fill the funding gap for the renovation of the steam plant.
On the lighter side, I had a chance to enjoy the Eugene Opera, which after a long hard couple of years, was FINALLY able to perform in the Hult Center to a full audience; and I was invited to serve as a community judge in the panel for the Oregon Mozart Players Young Soloist Competition. Both events were welcome reminders of the abundance of artistry and pursuit of beauty that has continued to grow through these hard years. I am grateful to artists in all forms who bolster our spirits in the face of so many daunting challenges.
February is Black History Month. I encourage you all to explore the opportunities to learn, enjoy and engage. The Lylle Reynolds Parker Black Cultural Center at the University of Oregon is offering a wide range of compelling presentations and discussions. I was fortunate this week to see a short documentary titled “Public Plea” produced by Prof. Ed Madision at the School of Journalism about the impact of Measure 11 on young men of color. We are lucky to have this wealth of expertise and insight to enrich and guide our conversations and actions.