Council this week returned to a discussion about planning in South Willamette in response to a motion by Councilor Evans reflecting concern that slow progress in that part of town was delaying planning progress in other areas. We postponed a discussion on his motion in order to allow public testimony at Monday night’s forum and to clarify wording in the motion that was either confusing or troubling to other councilors.
This has been a challenging process since the proposed draft of the Special Area Zone was first released for review in 2015. In 2016, the City brought in Oregon Consensus to help determine the opportunities and barriers for better communication. Residents in four neighborhoods have invested a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears to hammer out a process. With passage of the ordinance, council is directing Neighborhood Involvement staff to continue to work on the process with neighbors and enable our limited planning staff to devote more attention to other neighborhoods in the queue for planning.
We also held our first work session on the parameters for a permanent emergency shelter. Staff presented council with information about costs, services, and numbers served in Eugene and other communities. As mayor, I will use my role on the Poverty and Homelessness Board to deepen and broaden this discussion and will bring updates to the council at least quarterly. Whether we create something new or expand existing programs, the sense of the council is that a shelter system should be a multi-jurisdictional, public/private investment.