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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Nov 04

November 4, 2022

Posted on November 4, 2022 at 4:04 PM by Sara McKinney

Without council meetings on this first week of the month, my report will be a short summary of some of my other activities.  Every day is different, often surprising – and that’s one of the things I love about this role.  

Monday: I joined 18 other Oregon mayors at a press conference to talk about our request to the 2023 legislature to allocate funds directly to cities to address the needs and impacts of unsheltered people in our communities.  We’ve agreed to a request of $40 per capita, which translates to just over $7 million for Eugene; and a total of $123 million statewide.   In 2022, the legislature responded to our request for one-time funds for this purpose.  Eugene received $5 million that we have used to support our Safe Sleep sites and other supports; and $750,000 that the state provided for our sanitation costs – cleaning up vacated sites in particular.  I am grateful to my fellow mayors for this collaboration and to our legislators who understand and respond to this urgent city need.

Tuesday: I joined other civic leaders for lunch and a performance sponsored by the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene (ABAE) at the studios of the Eugene Ballet.  This was an opportunity to learn more about the ABAE’s programs and to see the ballet studios.  They occupy the second the third floors of the Midtown Building, the upper floors of which are condominiums while the first floor houses offices of other arts organizations.  It’s a compelling financial model to support both nonprofits and housing.  And the performance of a few scenes of Sleeping Beauty was stunning!  Sleeping Beauty be at the Hult Center this weekend.

Wednesday: I hosted the Consul General of Mexico.  The Consulate, based in Portland, had reached out to me before the World Athletics Championships OR 22 and I had suggested that we continue our conversations.   Mexico has more consulates in the US than another nation and is one of only three consulates in Oregon.  The others are Japan and Micronesia.  We talked about the needs and services the consulate provides to the large Mexican immigrant community in the state, and this week’s meeting was an opportunity to talk about economic development potential.

Thursday: I had my monthly meeting with the Independent Police Auditor, Leia Pitcher, who has now been appointed as the permanent auditor by council.  She has ably built a new strong team that is about to move into a larger and improved location downtown, and is navigating both the on-going work of reviewing cases and continuing to coordinate and recommend policy actions in response to the Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policies report. She will be returning to Council in the new year for a follow up discussion of our civilian oversight system and consideration of some of the Ad Hoc recommendations.

Friday: I ‘m closing out the week with both celebration and sadness.  In the morning, the community gathered for a formal ribbon cutting of the newly renovated Sheldon Pool, funded by the 2018 voter approved Parks and Recreation bond. The bright, upgrade facility now offers a new play pool and a hot tub for the first time. This afternoon, I joined others at the funeral and reception for the late mayor of Coburg, Ray Smith.  He was a beloved community member, former Eugene firefighter, and respected mayor.