On Sept. 8, ShelterCare Development Director Lucy Vinis announced her candidacy for mayor of Eugene in the 2016 election, and she said three platforms drive her campaign: education, affordable living and climate change.
Vinis, who worked with environmental nonprofit EarthShare of Oregon before her time at ShelterCare, said those three issues have emerged “consistently and repeatedly” as she’s talked with members of the community.
“I want Eugene to be a city in which everyone has an opportunity to thrive,” she said.
Vinis announced her candidacy to a small crowd in front of the Lamb Cottage in Skinner Butte Park. Thomas Pettus-Czar of The Barn Light, Norma Grier, retired director of the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) and registered nurse Sandra Caughron introduced Vinis.
All spoke of their confidence in Vinis’ leadership skills.
“She upholds a viewpoint that I find refreshing,” Pettus-Czar said, adding that he appreciated her pro-business and pro-growth views. “I know Lucy will come to the table with a balanced perspective.”
In an earlier interview with EW, Vinis spoke of her “longstanding interest” in sustainability, calling it an “essential goal” of hers.
“The role of the mayor is an opportunity to have a bully pulpit, and I think particularly around sustainability,” she said. “This community has a long history of wanting to contain sprawl and protect our resources. Because our population will grow and because of the pressures of climate change, that becomes even more urgent as we move forward.”
Vinis also said that failure to invest in education seems to be a universal concern among Eugene community members, and as mayor, she would stand for education as a value.
“We are experiencing many years of underinvesting in education, and people are concerned that will hold us back,” she said. “We must invest in human capital in our community.”
On the topic of living affordably in Eugene, Vinis said that “the shortage of affordable housing is a picture we wish to change. How do we increase wages so that people can afford their housing? Both of these things are out of alignment.”
Vinis said she thinks MUPTE (Multi-Unit Property Tax Extension) has potential as a valuable tool for Eugene, and she thinks the Eugene City Council’s revisions are positive in calling for more oversight. “The business folks I have spoken to downtown are universal in their feeling that MUPTE is an important tool in ensuring residential development downtown, which they see as key to continue revitalization.”
Overall, Vinis said, her focus as mayor would be to “engage people in public discourse.”
She said she is enthusiastic at the prospect of furthering her community involvement and bringing people together. “I think my abiding characteristic is that I love being part of a community,” she said.
So far, Vinis is the only Eugene mayoral candidate to make a formal announcement. The election is May 16 of next year.