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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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Aug 19

August 19, 2022

Posted on August 19, 2022 at 12:31 PM by Sara McKinney

Council is on break in August, but the month is still action-packed.  In the past three weeks, I have:

  • Presented at the Mayors Innovation Project Conference on our Middle Housing engagement process with City staffer Jeff Gepper;
  • Joined in the discussion of the Oregon Mayors’ Association Task force on Homelessness to advocate for continued, robust investment in city responses to homelessness;
  • Celebrated the openings of The Nel permanent supportive housing apartments and the River Road Shelter and Navigation Center;
  • Engaged in a roundtable discussion with federal leadership from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development about our investment in alternative shelters, the need for federal funds to support operational costs of permanent supportive housing, and concerns about the limitations of the Fair Housing Act in realizing equity in access to housing;
  • Hosted a roundtable chaired by Senator Ron Wyden that welcomed the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to discuss the CAHOOTS planning grant award for Oregon's Medicaid program to support the development of mobile crisis programs; 
  • Continued my on-going commitments to the State’s Resilient Buildings Task Force, which is developing recommendations for the 2023 legislature to meet Oregon’s climate goals through building codes, and Lane County’s Poverty and Homelessness Board to support investments in housing and shelter; and 
  • Welcomed the community to the Eugene Pride Festival; and served as a guest conductor for the Eugene Symphony’s performance in the park; and had the pleasure of judging the art submitted to the Mayor’s Art Show.

 

The take-away is this: I’m busy in August because the Biden-Harris administration has enacted significant federal investments in climate, mental health, and housing that are enabling the City of Eugene to more fully implement our local initiatives.  We’re making progress on homelessness because we have the resources to do so.  We will make progress in our response to climate change because of the Infrastructure and Inflation Reduction Acts.  Our community has approved the policy framework, and now the resources are coming to do the work.  Implementation is hard – we saw that with Middle Housing and we will see it with Electrification and Decarbonization.  It is one thing to want action on housing supply or climate change.   It can feel very different when actually faced with what that will require of each of us individually and collectively. 

 

The fall will be busy, and my blog will go silent for a few weeks while I take some off before Council returns to work on September 12.   I wish you all peace, safety and relaxation as we enjoy the last weeks of summer.