2018 State of the City - Year in Review
Safe and Welcoming Community
One of the worst ice storms in recent memory sent Public Works crews scrambling for much of 2017. Crews worked through June cleaning up thousands of downed trees and limbs. In all, crews logged more than 30,000 hours, and cleared more than a thousand truckloads of debris from city streets and parks.
- Removed hazards from 3,500 trees
Jon First Citizen
In January, City Manager Jon Ruiz was named First Citizen by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. Selected by a panel of former First Citizen honorees, Ruiz was lauded for his work with the community to address veteran homelessness, revitalize Eugene’s downtown, plan for Eugene’s long-term growth, and promote economic prosperity.
- Operation 365
- Revitalized downtown core
- Economic prosperity
Inauguration and Women’s March/Free Speech
In January, the presidential inauguration generated a tremendous amount of attention at the national, state, and local levels. With more than 7,000 people estimated to participate in the Women’s March in Eugene, the City planned for an event where people with differing political beliefs would be able to express their views and attend the event or protests in a safe environment. The City, Eugene Police, Eugene Public Works, assisting agencies and others worked in partnership with our community for several weeks in advance to make the Women’s March a safe, welcoming experience.
- 7,000+ march attendance
Protections for Individuals
In March, the City Council unanimously approved the Protections for Individuals ordinance, which provides protections for all Eugene residents, including immigrants. The ordinance reiterates the City’s commitment to human rights and to being a welcoming and inclusive city.
For the fourth consecutive year, the City issued a report on both criminal and non-criminal hate and bias behavior. Eugene has a long standing reputation for taking these incidents seriously. Our well established reporting system and the work of our Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement help create ongoing and strong relationships with community members and organizations that build trust. Together we continue to work on strategies that increase safety and a sense of belonging while creating a culture that leaves no room for hate in our community.
- Every neighborhood affected
- Increase in reporting over previous year
Grant Funded Projects
Eugene Springfield Fire received more than $600,000 in grants in 2017. The funds supported purchasing new fire suppression and safety equipment, as well as training gear. In addition, grant funding allowed Eugene Springfield Fire to host a regional training; develop evacuation plans in case of hazardous spills; and fund advanced training for firefighters.
- Assistance to Firefighters Grant: $530,000
- Health Preparedness: $50,000
- Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness: $20,000
- State of Oregon: $2,500
The City continued efforts to increase the quantity and quality of housing options for community members. The renovation of Yapoha Terrace will support safe housing for 222 low-income seniors; the acquisition of an old church will allow St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County to provide housing for homeless high school students; and a new Rest Stop in South Eugene gives 12 homeless individuals a place to plant their feet and access services.
- Yapoha Terrace renovation – 222 low-income seniors
- St. Vincent de Paul – 15 studio apartments for homeless high school students
- Nightingale Health Sanctuary Rest Stop – Conestoga Huts for 12 homeless individuals
Beginning in the spring of 2017, the City of Eugene launched a number of specific strategies to make Downtown Eugene’s public spaces more safe, welcoming and vibrant. The Community Outreach and Response Team continued to help high risk, vulnerable people in the downtown; an increased police presence and the expansion of the Park Ambassador program, including a Park Host in the Park Blocks helped create welcoming, safe spaces; new events and on-going programs brought more people, including families and children, to downtown; and physical improvements including increased sidewalk cleaning, more seating, an attended restroom, and artistic parklets and pop-up vendors invited people to enjoy their time in the heart of our city. This coordinated, community effort made a clear difference in downtown this summer.
- Focus on Park Blocks and Kesey Square
- 115 CORT clients helped, recidivism reduced
- 89 events downtown
An active thriving Downtown supports and reflects the economic health and quality of life of the entire community
Quality of Life and Thriving Community
Library Service Expansion
The Library successfully completed its first year of expanded library services, including more programs for kids and families like STEAM Storytime and the expansion of Storytime-To-Go. The Maker Hub is now available to the public seven days a week, in part thanks to more than 90 new volunteers.
- More hours at all locations
- STEAM Storytime: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics
Rec Youth Workforce
Recreation supported youth workforce development through many avenues, including training and hiring youth from the 15th Night Initiative, a community movement aimed to raise awareness and support for school-age youth who have run away or are at risk of running away. The program trained and hired youth and offered volunteer opportunities that helped youth build life and leadership skills. Rec also offered programs such as Leaders in Training to help youth build life and leadership skills.
- Provided 300 youth with leadership skills training
Basic Life Support System
Eugene Springfield Fire implemented a new Basic Life Support System (BLSS) that can respond to a growing number of non-emergency calls. In collaboration with Lane Professional Firefighters, 20 additional EMTs are now on staff—a welcome addition to the department as we continue to look for innovative ways to address a rising number of calls for service.
- 20 additional Emergency Medical Technicians
The City launched a series of Fix-It Fairs in 2017, inviting the community to get items repaired at no cost. Volunteers and professionals provided free repairs and were available to coach over 400 community members interested in learning how to make their own repairs.
- 70% of items repaired
- Grant funded
- $35,000 from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
- $35,000 from Urban Sustainability Directors Network
The 20x21 EUG Mural Project held its first week-long mural festival, Eugene Walls last summer. Seven international and local street artists brought color and vibrancy to downtown Eugene and the Whiteaker neighborhood, adding seven new murals and many more small installations toward the goal of 20 murals created by 2021.
- 42% of costs funded by 60+ private business partners
The return of Sunday Streets turned out to be EUG in 2017. Creativity flourished through the streets of downtown with the revival of the EUG Parade. Thousands watched the floats and participants, then stuck around for Sunday Streets—another record-setting year.
- Community attendance: 13,300
Similar to Sunday Streets—community participation and involvement was the cornerstone of significant community projects and initiatives in 2017.
The path to significantly improve safety on city streets and bike paths started to take shape. Community members worked with city staff to create the Vision Zero Action Plan—a carefully crafted document that outlines strategies to help achieve Vision Zero—the goal of eliminating all deaths and serious injuries on the city’s transportation system.
The City of Eugene remained a leader among a growing list of forward-thinking cities around the world that are addressing climate change and energy challenges by planning with vision and creativity. In 2017, Eugene launched the Climate Recovery Ordinance (CRO) through efforts like the Climate and Energy Action Plan Update. The City also completed internal deep dives on greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans, with leadership from our Fire Department and Fleet and Facilities service areas. These plans chart a path towards carbon neutrality, our 2020 goal.
Body Cams and Professional Stops
Eugene Police rolled out body-worn cameras in July after the equipment and storage of video evidence was researched, purchased, and officers were trained in its use. EPD was fortunate to be one of 73 agencies nationwide to receive a Department of Justice grant in 2015 for body worn cameras, one of only two in Oregon to receive an award.
- $249,000 Department of Justice grant for body-worn cameras
Chief Kerns’ Retirement
Chief Pete Kerns was honored by the City of Eugene and the community after 34 years of stellar service to the city and Eugene Police Department. Throughout his career, Chief Kerns worked with community groups, neighborhoods and business associations to promote safety through problem oriented, neighborhood based community policing—Eugene is lucky to have had him.
- Began career in 1981
- Served on 15 teams and units
- Police Chief since 2008
To find Chief Kerns’ successor, the City reached out to community members to learn what they want in a police chief. We collected feedback at a wide range of community events and meetings throughout the summer and fall of 2017, concluding with a series of community forums at the end of October. Applications are being accepted and a chief will be selected in the spring of 2018.
- Outreach at 60+ events
- Feedback from hundreds of community members
Preparing for a new police chief was one of a number of efforts to create a future-ready city that is looking ahead.
High Speed Fiber/Mozilla City
This year, construction began on Eugene’s publicly owned, high-speed fiber network, EUGnet, in downtown Eugene. Based on our growing internet infrastructure and strong community partnerships, Eugene garnered a number of national recognitions this year including being named a Mozilla Gigabit City and a US Ignite Smart Gigabit Community. These distinctions also come with benefits to the community including grant funds and collaboration opportunities.
- Connecting 120 buildings to world-class internet
Airport Expansion and 7 years of record growth
The Eugene Airport put the finishing touches on a massive, $21 million expansion project and people are noticing! The Airport just completed its seventh consecutive year of passenger growth and is always looking to land more destination options.
- Surpassed 1 million passengers
- Expanded baggage claim
- Increased flexibility and amenities
For the third time in 10 years, voters invested in fixing city streets. In November Eugeneans approved a $51 million bond measure that will ensure significant street repairs through at least 2023, while also making safety improvements for people who bike and walk. Public Works will use the money to complete more than 100 projects throughout the city.
Eugene City Council passed the Transportation System Plan, a comprehensive and aggressive approach to handle the City’s transportation needs over the next 20 years—with a focus on safety and significantly reducing our carbon footprint by tripling the number of people who walk, bike and use mass transit by 2035.
After seven years of community involvement and technical analysis, the City of Eugene officially adopted its own urban growth boundary. The new city boundary includes an expansion for jobs, parks and schools. The creation of the boundary is a crucial step in implementing the vision outlined in Envision Eugene, our community’s collective plan for how Eugene will grow over the next several decades.
- 969 acres
- 3,000 jobs in Bethel
- 2 community parks
- Future school
Parks and Recreation have completed their second year as partners in assessing the entire Parks and Recreation system through engagement with more than 12,000 community members. The divisions created a 30-year vision and a 10-year implementation plan to care for the current system and improve and expand upon its valuable community resources.
- Outreach recognized as Harvard Ash Center Bright Idea in Government
This year the Council agreed to purchase approximately 17 acres of surplus riverfront property from the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB). Redevelopment of the site will include the creation of a world-class public park along the waterfront and a high-quality multi-use riverfront development. The new 3-acre park will enhance connectivity along the riverfront path system, creating a new downtown neighborhood, and becoming a signature destination and focal point when the world looks to Eugene in 2021 for the IAAF Track and Field World Championships. With a new park, an improved riverfront path, and an inviting link to downtown, the Downtown Riverfront will draw people from near and far to the center of our city, and will provide a lasting legacy for the community.