Monday night was our one and only Council work session and public forum this week. We cancelled Wednesday’s session because of the absence of councilors who were travelling for work and conferences. We’ve added a work session this coming Monday in order to keep moving forward on a number of issues before Council’s winter break.
Our work session covered the results of a public opinion survey to measure satisfaction and support for our parks and rec programs, and a report from a Council subcommittee on possible funding strategies to maintain and improve our parks and recreational facilities. This is one more step in a multi-year process to target our investments in these important community assets. Council will discuss this again in January with an eye toward a possible funding measure on the May 2018 ballot.
After a forum with 30 speakers , Council received an update on the potential for opening the door for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Eugene. At issue are three City requirements for background checks, vehicle inspections, and insurance. Council is seeking to ensure safety of passengers and a level playing field for taxi companies. Of these three, the background checks may be the stickiest issue, but staff will return to Council with more information. Some speakers in the forum had hoped the door would open by January 1st, but it is clear that deadline is too short.
In its role as Riverfront Urban Renewal Agency board, Council also discussed a property sale to the University of Oregon to add to the new Knight Campus for Accelerating Impact. Although supportive of the University’s plans for the Knight Campus, Council requested more information and more complete and transparent process related to the value of the land and the university’s fulfillment of its commitment to provide adequate parking. The topic will come back to Council on November 27th.
After this long meeting, on Tuesday morning I was happy to sit in the audience with 1,700 wriggling elementary school children for the Eugene Symphony’s youth concert. At a time when school budgets continue to limit offerings in the arts, we are fortunate to have nonprofit organizations like the symphony who can entertain, inspire and engage youth in the arts.