This week was my first trip to Washington, DC as part of the United Front delegation to advocate for federal support for our community. The United Front comprises six partners: the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Lane County, Lane Transit, Springfield Schools and Willamalane Parks and Rec. The six public agencies work to craft and present a set of priorities that focus on our common interests.
This was the 31st United Front trip, and I was inspired and informed. Collectively we advocated for investment in Franklin Boulevard as a multi-modal corridor embracing Eugene’s commitment to the riverfront development, high speed fiber, and economic development extending between our innovation district downtown and the new Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and meeting Springfield’s investments to the east. We also urged our legislators, Rep. DeFazio and Senators Wyden and Merkley, to continue their strong advocacy for investment in housing through Community Development Block grants, which are on Trump’s chopping block.
It was interesting and a little distressing to witness the uncertainty created by GOP appointments in federal agencies. That said, our city staff has fostered long-standing, productive relationships with federal agencies like Transportation and the EPA. Our local work is admired and often considered a model; and our annual collective voice in DC is valued and appreciated by these agencies and our national legislators.