Mayor Lucy Vinis

Welcome

Below you will find links to my weekly blog, monthly recaps, and the Mayor’s Report, a dynamic list of projects that council and staff are working on – a real-time living tool to track our work and progress online, providing consistent updates of where we are on important issues. I hope everyone finds these tools useful.
Mayor Vinis Signature

StateOfCity157_2017

2019 State of the City Address

January 3, 2019

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Year three begins. And, despite a national landscape that continues to be fraught with drama and controversy, locally our work moves forward. Every day is a balancing act; every issue a set of hard choices. Here’s the thing: optimism is a choice and it is infectious. Our actions matter and we can make a difference locally that improves the quality of life here and stands as a model for other communities.


Paul Hawken, author, researcher and visionary, spoke in Eugene last year about his work, Project Drawdown. His key message is that the 100 most effective projects we can undertake to reverse global warming are work that we should do anyway. The priorities we list as a nation, state or city are not about loss or deprivation – they are about gain, about recognizing our strengths, encouraging common sense, inclusion, education, and investment.


Four Major Priorities

In this speech, I am going to review the work of 2018 and the opportunities that await us in 2019 using my own “drawdown” list of four major priorities: 


1. Homelessness and Housing

2. Climate Resiliency

3. Public Engagement

4. Inclusiveness

  1. Homelessness and Housing
  2. Climate Resiliency
  3. Public Engagement
  4. Inclusiveness

First Major Priority

Homelessness – both the human rights crisis and the opportunity to create a full range of housing in our community


We face a steady and consistent increase in the number of people who are falling into homelessness – 130 newly homeless every month in Lane County – from the single parent who has faced a rent hike without finding alternative housing, to the chronically homeless man with untreated mental illness, to the wandering unemployed who are passing through. Some people say we are doing too much – that improving services only serve as a magnet for the impoverished – while others say we are not doing enough.


Either way, the continued suffering in our midst is unconscionable. Failure to act is not a choice. Last year I committed to working toward the creation of a public shelter while at the same time warning that a shelter “is not a solution to homelessness.” This year, I will amend that statement. Thanks to our partnership with Lane County, we will benefit this month from a report by the Technical Assistance Collaborative that will help us build a shelter that integrates and strengthens our complete system of services for the unhoused. We are no longer talking about a band aid, we’re creating a strategic plan to strengthen our capacity to help people stabilize their lives.


And, as a more permanent solution, we must work to create a full range of housing.


Economic pressures, the vulnerability of tenants in a hot rental market, the cost of land and construction, the disconnect between wages and housing costs, and our increasing population place Eugene in one of the tightest housing markets in the country.


I pledged last year to champion missing middle housing as a pathway toward creating more housing that people can afford. Council had a couple of immediately relevant issues on our agenda: the Housing Policy Board’s recommendation of a Construction Excise Tax to support affordable housing projects; and the legislature’s SB 1051, requiring cities to ease barriers in the construction of accessory dwelling units.


Both issues distill our essential struggle – how to accommodate the needs of our growing community with a vision toward doing things better – more equitably and sustainably – when our first reaction is fear of the potential costs of change.


We’ve taken a promising step. In four workshops last fall, 36 community members hammered out recommendations to create more housing in our community. Along the path to creating this essential need, we are also fostering a productive dialogue. We exchanged the old and unproductive dynamic of winners and losers, to the new drawdown paradigm – finding a way that we can all thrive together to do the work we need to do.