Mayor Lucy Vinis

Welcome

Below you will find a link to my weekly blog, along with a copy of my 2020 State of the City Address. I hope everyone finds this information useful.
Mayor Vinis Signature

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January 8, 2020

Mayor Vinis' 2020 State of the City Address


Welcome to the 2020 State of the City address. As mayor of Eugene, I would like to begin by acknowledging that tonight’s ceremony is being held on Kalapuya llihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people.


The Kalapuya people were stewards of this land for thousands of years. When the white settlers arrived in this fertile valley in the 19th century, they forcibly removed the Kalapuya, as well as other tribes in Oregon. The displacement and loss of ancestral land was compounded by a loss of truth in history and of recognition of the role of Native Peoples in the origins and strength of our city today.


Tonight I offer to the Indigenous First Nations people of our community, both past and present, acknowledgement of your resiliency and contributions to our community while also humbly acknowledging what was taken from you. Today, Kalapuya descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon. They continue to make contributions in their communities here and across the land we now refer to as Oregon. We express our respect to all displaced indigenous people who call Eugene home.


Gratitude

I want to express my gratitude to my Council colleagues. Each of them is hard working and brings their considerable talents, knowledge and insights to do the public’s work week after week. I have learned from each of them and I value their public service. It is difficult work and often deeply controversial; the path forward is not always clear; finding agreement on complex issues is challenging. They work their way through a constant cascade of demands with grace, respect and dedication. On behalf of all Eugene residents, I thank you.


I also want to thank City staff who consistently prepare council for discussions and decisions with well-researched and expertly prepared materials. Staff are always ready to answer questions and respond to Council needs. At the top of this list is the City Manager. Once again, I express my appreciation for Jon Ruiz for his professionalism and dedication to our city; and my gratitude to Sarah Medary for stepping into her role as City Manager Pro-Tem.


Finally, I also want to recognize all of the citizens who serve on our appointed boards and commissions, many of whom spend many hours in challenging meetings, reviewing mountains of material to guide and advise council actions. We have a citizen government in the best sense, and our civic life and decisions reflect that shared commitment to providing the services and infrastructure that sustains us and reflects our values of safety, inclusiveness, stewardship, and social justice.


As I reviewed my blog from the past year, I was struck both by the enormity of the work we accomplished as well as the challenging pace at which things move. Many of our core concerns demand urgency. The public is impatient for solutions, and the pace of creating policy to respond to these challenges is sometimes interpreted as a lack of passion or commitment.


This could not be farther from the truth.


Five Areas of Focus

Let’s take stock of the progress we’ve made in five major areas—which are among the most vital challenges of our time: 


  • Climate change
  • Homelessness
  • Housing affordability
  • Public safety
  • Economic development
  1. Climate Change
  2. Homelessness
  3. Housing Affordability
  4. Public Safety
  5. Economic Development

Climate Change

Council is in the final phase of approving the Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2.0, the roadmap guiding our decisions to meet the goals of our Climate Recovery Ordinance. Built with a wide range of collaborators, it reflects a powerful commitment to equity as we seek to help our community both mitigate and adapt to climate change.


The City cannot do this work alone. In 2019, members of the Eugene Climate Collaborative—which includes representatives of school districts, higher education, business, public transit and utilities—defined their individual plans that collectively take us part-way to meeting our climate goals. When Council approves the final version of the CAP 2.0 this year, we will commit to a dozen additional strategies to push us farther and faster. All of them are challenging—they include decisions about our decarbonization from natural gas; our rate of adoption of electric vehicles, improved efficiency in heating and cooling buildings; and commitments by all of us to reduce consumption at the household level.


Reducing carbon emissions will make our community a better, fairer, safer place to live. And, it will require a strong and consistent public commitment to change our thinking, our habits and our assumptions. CAP 2.0 connects the dots. It’s built on foundational agreements about how and where we grow. Envision Eugene and the Transportation System Plan steer us to greater housing development along transit corridors, and investments in biking and walking options. Deliberations with Lane Transit about bus routes, frequency and ridership are essential first steps, and not easy. All of this work costs money. All of it takes time to implement and all of it depends on every individual’s willingness to adapt. We will take time before final adoption of the CAP to engage the public in a meaningful way in this work and to ensure that the final plan is clear and measurable. This is the defining challenge of our time. Progress depends on courage from our leadership and from all of you.


City of Kindness

As your mayor, it is my job to juggle the urgent needs of the moment with our community commitment to participatory democracy. Problems are complex, resources are limited, and big change does not come easily or overnight. Public testimony can be angry and impatient. Tensions rise when we don’t see a common path. Too many voices are never heard at all.


So, in November, I announced my commitment to fostering a city of kindness in Eugene, affirming our shared commitment to resolving conflict in ways that build rather than erode our sense of community and belonging. All of us, including me, need to do a better job of reaching out to those who come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences.


Last year I made a commitment to reach out in two ways, and this year I will fulfill that commitment. First, a new Youth Advisory Board has been formed and will convene for the first time this winter. They will bring much needed insights of the upcoming generation into our public discussions.


Second, as the city prepares to host the IAAF World Athletic Championships, we do the good work we should do for our community anyway—to make investments that will stand as a legacy.


My commitment to the legacy of 2021 is that we shine a light on the communities within our community. Not to highlight them as different. But to recognize that the cultures within our city weave a tapestry that we should daily behold and value. Last year I committed to a goal of celebrating 20 cultures within our community by 2021. That work begins this year. We will seek in the coming months opportunities to invite and savor the colors, textures, tastes, sounds, beliefs and ideas of the diverse cultures in our city that make us whole.


That tapestry is woven in kindness. It begins with conversations. I hope our common legacy will be to listen to one another, to welcome the diverse communities within our community, to take pride in the abundance and beauty that is here, and to act collectively and individually to meet the challenges ahead with openness, compassion, intelligence and courage.


Thank you.