Just a reminder:
Lane County Commissioners Pete Sorenson, Rob Handy and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy are holding a second town hall forum regarding food security from 6:30 to 8 pm Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Harris Hall, 125 E Eighth Ave., Eugene.
Speakers will include Lynne Fessenden, executive director of Willamette Farm and Food Coalition; Mary Wood, faculty director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the UO School of Law; Jabrila Via, co-owner of Winter Green Farm; and Jason Bradford, managing director of Vital Farmland LP. They will discuss sustainable agriculture, climate change and peak oil and how they impact food security in Lane County.
“Our ability to protect Lane County’s prime farmland and support local farmers, markets and distribution infrastructure is critical to expanding our job base in the new economy,” says Commissioner Handy. “Continued movement to a sustainable, relocalized economy has these components among key elements to a successful plan.”
Hey y'all! I'm at the Mayor's Art Show, and I'm going to try to use CoverItLive to get this underway ... Rick Dancer is hosting the event, which, what?
In the worst blow to downtown since the hospital left, the Eugene City Council voted 6-2 today to move the police department out of the heart of the city.
Critics charge that the $16-million plan to buy an office building on Country Club Road for the police department will cripple downtown, defy three votes, waste money, increase polluting sprawl and congestion, increase earthquake and flooding risk and reduce police accountability while damaging civic pride.
But Mayor Kitty Piercy and Councilors Mike Clark, Jennifer Solomon, Chris Pryor, George Poling, Andrea Ortiz and Alan Zelenka supported the move. Councilors Betty Taylor and George Brown voted against it.
"This is a terrible deal for the city," said Councilor Brown. The only one benefiting will be speculator Ward Beck, Brown said. "He will be able to unload an under-performing property."
Mayor Piercy said she supports moving police out of downtown and cut off Taylor and Brown's comments opposing the move after allowing staff to repeat a twenty minute sales pitch on the proposal that the council had already heard.
"We are rushing through this because someone wants to sell a building," said Councilor Taylor. "We haven't considered any other possibilities." Taylor noted the $16 million exclusive deal with Beck wasn't subject to the normal competitive bidding process governments use to prevent corruption.
Brown said the $16 million could be better used to hire more police officers. "This project does nothing for public safety, all it does is buy a huge building for 30 employees to wander around in," said Brown, noting the police chief's statement that only a few officers will spend much time in the 66,000 square-foot building.
Brown moved that the council refer the big expenditure to voters. Piercy refused to allow debate on the motion and the referral vote failed 6-2.
Voters have rejected spending money on a new police station three times in the past. Taylor pleaded with the council to not waste the taxpayer money. "People say 'our money,'" she said noting comments by staff and council supporters. "It isn't ours, it belongs to the public."
(For details on the police move, please read a story in Thursday's EW to be posted here.
In her fifth state of the city speech tonight, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy called for tapping into the Obama federal stimulus package, an Economic Summit, discussion of an in-house city attorney, locating a solar panel factory at the abandoned Hynix plant and hinted at possible tax measures for more jail beds, crime prevention and affordable housing.
Here's some key excerpts from Piercy's speech to a standing-room crowd of more than 300 people in the Hult Center lobby:
- "Eugene has a list of over $200 million in 'ready to go' projects that fit the stimulus criteria...We expect these projects, if funded, could create 4,404 well-paying jobs by the end of next year--with an emphasis on green industry."
- Piercy called for an Economic Summit early this year. She called for "more jobs that pay well" and decreasing "our impact on climate change and finite resources." The mayor said, "Moving from Hynix to solar is our community goal."
- "We cannot have this revolving door in our jail, and a court system that cannot do its job. While our city is still rated one of the safest, this won't continue if the system is not fixed. Eugene voters will support specific, balanced and accountable solutions that are not simply a forwarding of failed policies."
- "The Mayor's Blue Ribbon Committee to finance Homelessness and Housing Programs will report its recommendations to the council on January 26. It will then be important for a larger community discussion to occur about the steps this community is willing to take to reduce the numbers and ensure that more citizens have basic needs met, including treatment programs, mental health care and shelter options. It will not be cheap."
- "The City Manager has stated that he will examine whether or not an in-house city attorney makes good governance sense for a city of our size and complexity, and will be seeking input from the city council as part of his analysis."
The Eugene police union attacked Mayor Piercy's last state of the city address as a â€œbizarre,â€ â€œthree-ringed circusâ€ for focusing on environmental issues. This year, Piercy included an award to a group of violent crimes police detectives as part of the ceremony.
Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Lane County Commission candidate Rob Handy and U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley have all won their tough and pivotal election fights.
In unofficial final results, Piercy beat Jim Torrey by 2 percentage points. Handy beat Bobby Green by just one percentage point.
Merkley leads by three percent with 79 percent of the statewide vote counted. Smith reportedly plans to concede shortly.
Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy appears likely to win a narrow re-election victory.
With about three-fourths of the vote counted at 7 pm, Piercyâ€™s lead over Jim Torrey had widened from less than one percent to two percent, a few hundred votes to 1,363.
With the dwindling number of late counted ballots apparently favoring Piercy, it appears mathematically unlikely that Torrey will be able to make up the deficit.
Lane County Elections will release itâ€™s next results, what appears likely to be a near complete vote count, by 10 am Thursday.
With about a third of the vote still out at 10 am, Kitty Piercy and Rob Handy held on to 1 percent leads in the pivotal Eugene mayor and county commissioner races.
With 23,769 votes Mayor Piercy held a 528 vote lead over Torrey. Looking at turnout in the 2004 election and inflating for an increase in registrations this year, Piercy may need at least about 35,000 votes to win.
Handy won 9,523 votes, 204 more than County Commissioner Bobby Green. Looking at turnout in the 2004 election and inflating for an increase in registrations this year, Handy may need at least about 16,000 votes to win.
Judging from the May primary, late-counted votes may favor progressives Piercy and Handy. In the last 40 percent of votes counted in May, both Piercy and Handy gained about 2 percentage points.
At 10 pm with about a quarter of the votes counted, Kitty Piercyâ€™s lead had widened slightly to 52 percent in the Eugene mayor's race.
Rob Handyâ€™s lead in the county commissioner race held at about 52 percent.
Both races remained too early and close to call.