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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

May 20

Eugene's Climate Change Goals Highlighted on National Level

Posted to Climate Connection by Elena Domingo

Eugene’s work on incorporating climate change goals and emissions tracking into Capitol Improvement Programs has taken center stage...

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Jun 14

Weekly Recap - June 14, 2019

Posted to Keeping in touch: Notes from the Mayor by Elena Domingo

The headline for this week is council’s approval of an ordinance to create a payroll tax to support enhanced community safety services.  Based on community response at the public form, online submissions and in conversations in the community, the final ordinance included an exemption for all minimum wage workers; and a reduced payroll tax to 0.03% for workers who earn between $12-15/hour.  All other workers will pay a slightly increased tax to compensate for the revenue lost by those exemptions, 0.044%. The employer rate was held at 0.02%.

The new ordinance also requires a public vote after seven years to approve continuation of the tax; as well as a report regarding the financial impacts of the tax on businesses.  In a second vote, council also approved sending to the November ballot a charter amendment that would constrain future councils from raising the tax rate and from diverting funds from the tax to a purpose other than community safety.

I recognize that some in the community object to a payroll tax in principle.  I appreciate that concern.  Too many in our community struggle to make ends meet, and now, if they may make above minimum wage, they are subject to another tax.  At the same time, it is important to remember that  the amount of the tax is very small.  It is designed to be broad and shallow.  It is able to be a small tax because so many people will pay into it.  While most agree we need better community safety services, no one has come forward with an alternative revenue proposal that comes anywhere close to raising this amount of funds with such a small request to taxpayers.

The premise is that public safety, like roads, is something we all need and from which we all benefit.  When public safety systems are inadequate, as they have been in Eugene for decades, we all suffer.  How many of you have experienced a property crime and been told by the police they will be slow to arrive or not come at all?  How many have complained of people who run red lights with impunity because no officer is available to stop and issue a ticket? How many have complained about disruptive or threatening behavior in your neighborhood for which there was no timely police response?  Our new police chief is committed to addressing these livability crimes with the revenues from this tax.  The results will be measurable and will be reported as increased service calls and reduced time for police response.

Unanswered complaints about public safety impact our entire metropolitan area – Springfield residents who work in Eugene are just as vulnerable in the city limits as are Eugene residents.  And they share with Eugene the 911 services and Fire Department that will be expanded with this new revenue stream.

Finally, this proposal has been criticized both for providing too little support for homeless services and for providing too much.  The community safety ordinance is approved in tandem with our initiative to enhance and expand our homeless services as recommended in the TAC report.  The two efforts are significant and complementary; and they  rely on different funding streams. Both are accountable to you, the voters.  And both will change our community for the better in the coming years.


Apr 17

Hitting the Jackpot with Hall's Aster

Posted to Parks Pulse by Elissa Gavette

The hard work and patience of the Native Plant Nursery staff and volunteers has paid off, literally. A key plant for restoration sites, Hall's Aster plays an important role in providing late season nectar and pollen to bees. But propagating this precious plant doesn’t come easy, which is why it’s worth $1,000 a pound. This season, the Native Plant Nursery yielded 10 pounds, valued at $10,000!

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Feb 08

Renovation and expansion plans update

Posted to Rec News & Stories by Benjamin Schorzman

Rec is hard at work on our bond goals of caring for and making the most of what we have and serving the entire community. We have begun the design phases of the two top bond priorities: renovations and expansions to Campbell Community Center and Echo Hollow Pool & Fitness Center.

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Oct 25

New Public Piano Downtown

Posted to What's Happening Downtown? by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Light Up the World Public Piano
A new piece of playable art is on its way to downtown Eugene!

The donated piano will be painted on the first floor of the Atrium building and then installed in the Park Blocks for the Nov. 17 Light Up Downtown tree lighting event. The piano will be available for the public to play through mid-December.

Local artist David Placencia will use a unique bubble paint technique to transform the piano into a work of art. His theme is “Light Up the World: A New Time of Unity”, and his design features colorful ribbons spiraling from an oval Mayan calendar. The public is invited to watch him at work on the first floor of the Atrium building (10th and Olive) from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, 3, 6 and 13. Examples of Placencia’s past work can be seen at khaostasis.com.

The piano will be the City of Eugene's third piece of playable public art this year. The first two pianos, stationed this past summer outside the Downtown Public Library and the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, were extensively enjoyed by musicians and audiences. Both pianos currently reside in Eugene Rec community centers to delight patrons during the rainy months.

The playable art program gives musicians the opportunity to share their talents and the public the chance to enjoy live music in a non-traditional setting. The pianos also serve as temporary works of public art, painted and collaged by talented local artists chosen to bring more color to downtown’s core. Similar programs exist in many cities throughout the country. For information about the Portland program, visit pianopushplay.com.