The cascading series of major events and accomplishments has flooded both June and July. I will post here just for the month June – a little late – and catch up with July after our final council session next week.
The big accomplishments included approval of the budget which included a few one-time expenses out of the Comcast settlement: $250,000 for an additional Basic Life Support ambulance; $20,000 for an online tool that we hope will help the public better understand the budget; and $1 million set-aside for a future public shelter.
My investment in the shelter conversation continues. At the end of June, 22 representatives from public and private service providers responded to three questions about a proposed shelter: how it would augment the work their agency does; how their agency would relate or interact with a shelter; and what resources their agency can bring to support a shelter. This list of networking and resources will inform the next meeting, hopefully in July, that will expand the conversation to include case managers and advocates who work directly with homeless clients.
Also in June, the City Council and County Commission agreed to the purchase prices and framework for a land swap to enable the City to build the new City Hall on the butterfly lot and the County to build its new courthouse on the former City Hall lot. The actual contractual work is now being completed by City and County staff. Once done, a Coos Bay judge will rule on whether the proposed use of the butterfly lot complies with the original Skinner deed. We are expecting to be able to proceed in the fall with a new planning and design process for City Hall. Stay tuned.
Council also approved the Transportation System Plan – our 20-year planning document that relates to all of our other decisions; climate recovery, land use, equity and access. Council included an amendment requiring the development of an implementation plan to meet Climate Recovery Ordinance (CRO) goals. This dovetails with the work of the Mayor’s Ad Hoc CRO committee that is already underway.
In June we also happily appointed Jennifer Yeh as the new councilor for Ward 4.
Summer has brought to fruition the hopes and planning for a vibrant urban life in the Park Blocks. Kudos to City staff who orchestrated this colorful and welcoming improvement to our life downtown.