Ted, Stephanie, and Raven love their solar panels!


We can Protect our Environment

Addressing climate change is a top priority. However, we must use our limited resources to get the biggest impacts and make sure that the benefits and costs of what we do are shared by all residents and business. Collective problems demand collective solutions and collective sacrifice. Good policy addresses multiple priorities. The biggest bangs for our buck are in-home weatherization and trees. Weatherization, especially of rental and low income households, reduces energy use and carbon emissions, helps lower income households, and improves housing stock. Trees are the most effective urban infrastructure to mitigate climate change and improve public health. Maintaining and planting trees should be given priority over unrestricted building. Instead of bans on fossil fuels, we should explore carbon impact fees dedicated to the most effective carbon reduction methods.

Economic Development

Business is Everyone's Business

Eugene has a diverse selection of local businesses and regional and national chains. Far too much attention gets paid to the largest employers when the smaller business collectively contribute the most. As a social scientist, I am keenly aware of what drives human behavior. For businesses, that means markets and the logistics and economics of individual enterprises. 

City Council members need to listen to and take heed of the complexities faced by employers. We can work together to improve the economic climate. Regulations need to be narrow and as minimal as possible to have the desired effects. Setting incentives and disincentives are the best ways to change behaviors. Creating the physical and regulatory infrastructure that allow employers to thrive is where our focus should be, not making them responsible for larger social failures. Bottom line: Business, in one way or another, pays for everything.


Homelessness is not a Problem, it is the Problem

Homelessness is a collective ethical failure. But while we are collectively responsible as a society, it is unjust to externalize the costs to some neighborhoods and businesses. The sad truth is that the county and state are solely responsible for the care of the unhoused, but Eugene has had to step up to meet the moment. We need to encourage our partners to contribute more to expand sanctioned camping to meet the enumerated need and simultaneously restrict street camping. We should follow the strategy emerging in other states of "clearing and holding" - once campers are removed from an area we must act immediately to ensure camps are not re-established. This includes limiting camping to transitory sheltering instead of de facto homesteading that results in large camps, crime, violence, and piles of debris that cost the city $300K + a year to pick up. That money can be better spent on shelter, as with the Safe Spot Community on W. 18th near Chambers I strongly supported. We must provide sanctioned places for people to go because any camping in our neighborhoods or open spaces is unacceptable. The "solution" has been to allow street camping in Ward 1 and West Eugene. As a City Councilor, I will work to eliminate unsanctioned camping in Ward 1 or any ward.


We Can Create Housing Responsibly

The Jefferson Westside Neighbors' special area zones showed that you can build for density and still have livability. The the neighborhood I live in, the JWN, is the second densest one in Eugene, three times the city's average, and has the largest store of middle housing in town. From my backyard, I can see an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), small alley-facing home, and a duplex. From my front yard, I can see a 7-unit apartment building (the old Huddleston Farmhouse, built around 1875) and a fourplex. 

I am not against density. However, urban infill with fourplexes and ADUs, while somewhat helpful, are boutique solutions to a mass production problem. In many cases, new infill housing comes at the expense of demolishing existing affordable single family homes in lower income neighborhoods. One-off develop is the most expense way to create housing. You can't create housing by destroying housing, especially when you replace the affordable with the unaffordable. That is how you get development gentrification. Most important, thousands of homes in Eugene, mostly in wealthier neighborhoods, are exempt from the new density rules because they have their own special legal restrictions (covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs). That exemption is neither equal nor equitable. 

My priority on city council will be to build out the city's infrastructure within the Urban Growth Boundary to allow the construction of housing at scale. Only via economies of scale can housing be built at prices people can afford. The bottom 30% of earners cannot be served by the market. We need to expand purpose-built affordable housing, like Ollie Court, to meet that need. Investing in affordable housing and infrastructure, not subsidizing expensive market rate housing, is how we should expand housing in Eugene.

Public Safety

Quality of Life Crimes Destroy our Quality of Life

The trend of reducing the penalties for so-called quality of life crimes such as retail theft, petty theft, vandalism, and the destruction of public property has been an  abject failure. These sorts of criminal activities poison communities. There is little or no accountability and some individuals simply will steal and destroy until someone makes them stop. Quality of life crimes tear at our social fabric, creating disorder that chases families from neighborhoods and drives business out of town. Our new community courts and Community Service Officers are innovative programs to address low-level offenses. However, we need to work with the county to expand jail capacity to break the cycle of these quality of life crimes. The funds from the Eugene Community Safety Payroll Tax are starting to rebuild the city's policing capabilities. Under the leadership of Chief Skinner, Eugene is evolving and improving policing to better meet the needs of all Eugenians.

City Government

We can Foster a Functional City Government

As I discuss in my series on local government (Is Eugene a democracy? Part 1 and Part 2), Eugene has a government for a large town, not a small city with big city challenges. The city's political infrastructure is an immature equity nightmare and largely captured by a very small cadre of people, often with political agendas that do not line up with the popular will. Some people are happy with that, most are not. Under the current structure, the Mayor and City Council do not have direct authority over city operations and instead must go through the unelected City Manager to implement policies or manage day-to-day affairs. That means city employees are answerable to their managers, not elected leaders. Staff tell elected officials what managers tell them to say. Voters can replace the Mayor and City Councilors, but not the City Manager. 

Democracy functions when the will of voters directly impacts how government functions and those voters can remove someone who underperforms. I will work to reform the city charter, replacing the City Manager with a strong elected Mayor, paying the Mayor and City Councilors a living wage, and assigning them dedicated staff. Currently, Councilors have no support staff, which makes it difficult to meet constituents' needs. The Mayor and Councilors make less than graduate students at the University of Oregon and far too little to live on. That means the Mayor and Councilors need full-time jobs, an understanding and employed partner, be retired, have the wealth to sustain themselves, or live on a minimal income. We have full-time problems and need full-time representatives. Any resident should be able to run for office and serve and still pay the bills. That is what equity is all about. 

The city also needs an independent auditor and campaign finance reform. We have seen special interest groups drop tens of thousands of dollars in local races.


Neighborhood Associations are the Foundation of Eugene's Democracy

Neighborhood associations are fundamental to our city's civil society. Eugene's system of chartered neighborhood associations was designed to give people direct input on all phases of land use that impact their neighborhoods. In addition, neighborhood associations give residents access to staff and elected officials as well as a wide variety of interest groups and service organizations. Neighborhood associations are codified in the Neighborhood Organization Recognition Policy (NORP) as advisory to the Mayor and City Council. Neighborhood associations articulate the will of their neighborhoods in a way that Wards alone cannot. They are infrastructures for action when residents need assistance to develop and improve their neighborhoods. 

Neighborhood associations represent everyone in geographically-defined areas, so are not limited by identity, ideology, or dedicated to a specific and narrow cause or creed. They act as training grounds for leadership development and civic participation, with residents often getting their first taste of community organizing by serving on these hyperlocal boards before going on to engage more broadly in civil society. 

Because of their impact, effectiveness, and ability to challenge the agenda of special interest groups, neighborhood associations have been under assault for years. Tarred as NIMBYs, "too self-interested to make the right choices" as defined by a select few, and viewed by elements of city management and staff as bothersome, neighborhood associations have been starved of resources, their support staff reduced, their place in land use and planning ignored in violation of the NORP,  and recently even excised from the name of the office that oversees them.  

If elected, I will be strong defender and supporter of neighborhood associations and restore them as a countervailing pole of power in Eugene.

Active Transportation and Mass Transit

My Active Transportation Platform

While some of these initiatives may rather asymmetrical to active transportation, I believe that the broader scope and many benefits place active transportation in the center of good public policy.

Scheduled monthly street sweeping. High density neighborhoods have so many cars parked on the street they almost never get swept. Since these neighborhoods are mostly lower income, this is huge equity issue. Street conditions are a hazard to cyclists and pedestrians and impedes drainage. All factors in active transportation hesitancy. If we schedule street sweeping on specific days once a month and require vehicles are removed it will:

o   Improve road conditions.

o   Improve drainage.

o   Reduce damage to road surfaces.

o   Remove abandoned vehicles and increase parking.

o   Reduce street camping.

o   Encourage people to get rid of underused or non-operational vehicles stored on the street.

Safe Sidewalk Corridors. The city should start with major east/west and north/south high use walking corridors so that people know there are safe places to walk. We can build out from there. I have discussed this strategy with the city manager who expressed some interest.

o   Create a task force to explore and present funding options for sidewalks within six months. We need to focus our efforts and talk endlessly talking about the problem and move to solving it.

o   Have the city council vote and execute the plan.

Trash/Recycling Franchise Agreements. Currently, we have trash and recycling trucks on every street in every neighborhood almost daily. This is hard on roads, polluting, and hazardous and unpleasant for cyclists and pedestrians.

o   Create franchise zones (like every other Oregon city) that ensure pick-up happens ONE day a week. This will also facilitate street sweeping by coordinating these activities. Trash/recycling containers impeded street sweeping.

Equalizing Transportation Modes. Eugene is making great progress on addressing our road repair backlog. We should steadily increase the percentage of funding in future bonds for active transportation.  Our goal should be the Dutch model where every mode gets an equal share of urban space.

“Cut the Car.” Like the concept of cord cutting cable and switching to streaming. Create an education program that evaluates people’s transportation needs and desires and helps them choose alternative modes. Once people see that non-vehicle travel is a realistic option, at least in some cases, they are more likely to adopt it. At least they will know what will work for them.