Eugene City Council Candidates Questionnaire

The Oregon primary election is May 19. And there are a lot of people running for positions in the city of Eugene,and it’s hard to do endorsement interviews with a passel of people and a pandemic problem. But it’s important voters don’t just see Eugene Weekly’s endorsements, but also what people running for those offices have to say. So EW sent a questionnaire to these candidates, asking questions about their qualifications and thoughts on important local issues. Here are their answers. 

Click the candidate’s name to jump to their response:

City Council Ward 1:

City Council Ward 2:

City Council Ward 7:

City Council Ward 8:

Note: These entries have been lightly edited for formatting and space. 

City Council Ward 1:

Eliza Kashinsky

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

After years of working on a volunteer basis on issues surrounding housing and transportation, I grew increasingly frustrated with lack of progress on many topics on the part of the City. Eugene feels like it has stagnated—historically we were on the forefront of identifying creative ways to solve challenges and help create a more sustainable and just society. But lately, while our residents continue to innovative and work diligently, our city leadership talk about actions that don’t seem to materialize. I can help us move forward more effectively, and thus was motivated to run for office. I have no interest in higher office. 

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

I have served on the Eugene Budget Committee for three years, and also served on the Active Transportation Committee. I co-founded the Walkable Eugene Citizen Advisory Network (WE CAN) and have studied Eugene’s land use code diligently. I have spent 15 years in professional non-profit leadership roles, for organizations with between 6 employees and 100 employees. I read budgets and zoning code for fun, and excel at figuring out how to break down complex problems in order to get them solved. I also value collaboration and building strong working relationships with others. I listen empathetically, in order to bring others understanding of the world into my own.

What are your views on this form of city government?

Eugene has gotten too big for its current form of City Government. Eugene first adopted the strong City Manager/weak Council form of government in the 1940s when our population was almost 1/10th the size that it is now. The ability for part-time Councilors to effectively represent the diverse residents and ensure that the City is meeting their needs has become more difficult as the city operations have become larger and more complex. 

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

In order to effectively address Eugene’s housing shortage and the resultant affordability crisis without destroying our farm and forest lands, we need to reexamine the base assumptions behind our land use and zoning code. Our current system has had the results it was intended to—it has concentrated wealth and opportunity in the hands of some, while excluding many others. Councilor Semple has, on numerous occasions, made specific proposals to modify zoning and land use code at the behest of those with a vested interest in preserving the status-quo. I would look to ensure that modifications to our zoning code would work to make Eugene more sustainable and just for everyone, allowing opportunities for more diversity in our existing neighborhoods.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

I don’t think the city is handling homelessness well. In particular, I think we have failed to find the appropriate balance in supporting those who are unhoused in our community. We need to quickly address our housing affordability crisis by increasing both the amount of subsided affordable housing and the overall amount of housing. We need to work with our partners on the state and county level to ensure that we have enough mental health care and substance use treatment to help those most at risk to be successful and supported in housing. We have, to a large degree, focused on the immediate humanitarian crisis, without addressing the societal infrastructure that has led to an increase in homelessness in our community. Those solutions will take time, so we do need to provide more immediate supports to everyone impacted by homelessness in our community. Moving more expediently to implement the TAC report is a good starting place.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

I believe the City Council sets high ideals and goals, but fails to follow through when they weigh in on the specific projects that implement those goals. For example, through numerous high-level plans — including the Climate Recovery Ordinance, Envision Eugene, and the Transportation System Plan — have emphasized the importance of making biking easier in Eugene, Council has on multiple occasions gotten drawn into and delayed specific active transportation projects. Council has also repeatedly said that it wants to promote compact urban development in order to provide housing while also preserving natural areas, but when they discuss specific changes that would allow for more compact housing options, such as accessory dwelling units, they vote for modifications that make them harder and resists removing barriers that have been put in place. I would work to ground decisions made on specific projects or actions to our overall values. I also would work with other councilors and residents to ensure that the actions we are taking are furthering the stated goals of the City. 

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

In light of the crisis we are facing from COVID-19, I believe one of the top issues that is facing Ward 1 right now is the risk to downtown. Eugene has worked to make downtown strong, and we have seen restaurants, cultural institutions, and locally-owned shops thriving in downtown in recent years. Most of these are now locked, and face an uncertain future. We won’t know everything that is needed to assist downtown with recovering in the long term until we are able to see what the damage is, but acting quickly to help downtown get back on its feet is going to be a top priority for Ward 1 in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

The current draft of the Climate Action Plan 2.0 falls woefully short of what is needed to achieve the climate recovery goals passed by City Council. The plan is vague on budget, timeline, responsibility, and priority for the actions that were outlined, and even if all the actions in the draft plan were accomplished, Eugene would still not meet its climate recovery goals. 

Through the years that Eugene has been working on climate recovery, we have received so many ideas about how the City can mitigate climate change. These range from supporting transitions to cleaner energy, to facilitating the building of smaller homes, to encouraging the shift away from gas-powered cars. It is time to start implementing the ideas we have—prioritize them, include them as a part of a complete Climate Action Plan, put appropriate funding behind them, and monitor so that our plan can be adjusted as necessary if we aren’t meeting our goals. 

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

I served on the Budget sub-committee that examined funding options for the Community Safety Initiative. While I definitely saw the need for additional revenue in order to ensure appropriate safety services, I never felt that the payroll tax was the best option, and was vocal about that throughout the process. 

It is appropriate for the City Council to pass a City Budget directly—the budget is hundreds of pages long and incredibly complex. One of the reasons why we elect representatives such as City Councilors is to absorb lengthy and detailed items like the budget.

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

Right now, the City’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic is to help ensure the stay home order is fully implemented. The city itself should follow the guidance, such as by keeping the community centers closed. It should also support residents with following the public health guidance, including providing resources for the unhoused to shelter where they are and hold firm against pressure to violate that guidance. Much of the funding for economic recovery will be coming from state and federal coffers; the City can focus its own resources on local businesses, and include requirements regarding local employment and working conditions. Providing coordinated information for where residents can get help would also help protect residents who have lost their jobs. Finally, expedited follow-through on addressing existing challenges, most particularly related to housing affordability, will assist residents who have lost jobs be able to make ends meet as we recover—too many Eugene residents were struggling to pay their rent and keep their house before this crisis. 

Candice King

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I am not interested in higher office. I want to serve, rather than lead. I am seeking to interrupt the dominant narrative of political decision making which is steered by white settler colonialism. 

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

I have been doing community organizing for 20+ years; I am an outspoken advocate for marginalized people. I am willing to take personal risks to ensure the greater good. I am a trusted meeting facilitator, because I ensure that everyone gets space to speak or contribute in the ways they are able. I have a degree in economics, so I’m not just guessing at the potential outcomes of inter-sectional choice matrices. 

What are your views on this form of city government?

It’s the form we have. If we have enough motivated people within it, we can grow it to something better. 

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

Yes, I would not denigrate people based on economic class, I would choose my words carefully. I would speak to the needs and concerns of all the people in Ward 1, not just my friends. 

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

As a person who works intimately with the housing conundrum, I know that our city is embarking on a lot of projects that will essentially amount to too little too late. The only solution to the problem of too much enclosure is SPACE . We also need multiple avenues and options for people to access housing, and some of that has to be FREE housing, where people can be terrible neighbors, and not bother anyone while they hopefully sort their affairs. Everyone needs shelter, but not everyone is going to be the neighbor you want. 

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

Yes, the city council is ill-informed, moves too quickly, isn’t accessible for people who experience disabilities, families, working class people, children, or most people of color. They vote on issues before they have fully read ordinances, and they are unresponsive/ annoyed by outspoken constituents who have read them. They only bring the expertise and positionality of assimilated ‘professionals’. 

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

My ward is a beautiful thriving area in the dead center of Eugene. We still have a little uniqueness and “weird” Eugene spirit, but for some reason, the city council and an overly vocal sector of the Eugene business community thinks downtown should be overpriced and follow the “outdoor mall” model that seems to plague every growing city across the U.S. We can have restaurants and business, AND more importantly, we need to foster the arts. Gentrification happens because people make cultural centers where there used to be nothing of interest. We can resist gentrification and keep the culture.

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

It’s a plan to fail. I’m almost out of words, so please see Zondie Zinkie or Ben Ricker’s responses. 

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

Obviously not. This was the exact type of ill-informed, inaccessible half-assed decision making that moved me to run for this position. 

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

The city had a monumental responsibility to provide clear messaging and to be responsive to people working to respond to COVID-19. Too often, they failed to communicate anything, or provide much more than empty platitudes about what to do next. 

There are a lot of people, including small business owners who will be suffering through the next several years while trying to recoup major losses through dealing with a dysfunctional federal system. The city should provide free navigation and legal support services for small businesses who have been forsaken by their bankers, in favor of clients with deeper pockets. Further, they should ensure that no business is shuttered because of unpaid rents. 

Daniel Liev Williams

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I want to use the opportunity of an election to inspire the people of Eugene to consider non-traditional ways of contributing to civic life, beyond just voting and perhaps going to a city council meeting. I would like to see many community groups formed to bypass the stonewalling of the city council and directly solve critical problems Eugene is facing, including the housing crisis, meaningful climate change prevention, making the city more accountable for how the budget is spent, and ensuring basic human needs for everyone in the city. 

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

I have participated as an activist in a number of local movements, including protesting the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Occupy Eugene, supporting a number of environmental protection actions, and trans peoples rights. I believe strongly a good city councilor is not someone who comes in with a solution for everyone’s problem, but someone who listens to the people in their ward and talks with them. 

What are your views on this form of city government?

While the city manager system allows councilors and mayors with little government experience to fulfill their responsibility, this also requires the city manager to have robust independent oversight, which does not yet exist in Eugene. I also believe there is too much emphasis on the city council using the police and legislation as solutions, and would much rather see the city emphasize supporting community groups and neighborhood associations. 

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

I actually volunteered with Emily Semple’s campaign, but I’ve been disappointed that she appears not to be drawing on her activist experience and is supporting the status quo of using the EPD as the main tool to resolve homelessness issues. I think Housing First initiatives and community led support programs are far more effective in creating sustainable housing. 

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

To expand on my previous answer re: Semple, the city council has consistently refused to take a long-term approach to homelessness and would rather allow the police to displace people rather then invest in permanent solutions. This is cowardly and wasteful. The City of Eugene needs to take an aggressive, multilateral, and proactive approach to solving our housing crisis. 

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

The only form of meaningful input the general public can have on the city council is city council meetings that are not accessible. I would like to have frequent and regular meetings with councilors and their ward constituents, and expand the kind of formats these meetings can have (such as online conferences, phone conferences, and public message boards). 

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

Ward 1 has been the center of Eugene’s economic growth policy for many years, and much of this growth has been in the form of tax breaks to attract new businesses. While bringing in some jobs, this “growth” has primarily been concentrated into a few hands and has contributed to escalating affordability in the whole city. I want businesses to be contributing to making Eugene livable and affordable, even at the cost of possible growth. Economic progress should not be made at the cost of poverty.

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

The current plan is anemic and far from adequate. The City needs to take recommendations from climate scientists, including a drastic increase in public transportation access and aggressive taxation for high-pollution businesses. 

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

My main objection to the payroll tax was that it was used to expand the EPD budget instead of investing in proven and more cost effective programs like Opportunity Village. In principle, I understand that a city budget is a complex process that needs to be done in a timely manner. 

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

As a city, Eugene can do little against a global pandemic. From what I’ve been able to see, the city government has used what resources it has available to follow CDC guidelines. Economic recovery will also be on a global scale, and the city will be reliant on what funds and tools the State of Oregon and the federal government can provide. The most I think the city can do is use what it has to invest in community organizations that will improve the resilience of those communities and be able to efficiently and effectively distribute resources, including funding and grants to expand non-profit organizations, employment assistance, and for people wanting to start or keep open their small business. 

Tim Morris

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I am motivated to run for office because my values and perspectives are not being well-represented and I believe that accurate representation is critical if we hope to have fair decision-making. If elected to City Council, in a city composed of 51% renters I will be the only progressive renter on Council. In a city with an average age of 33, I will also be the youngest City Councilor by several decades and the first progressive LGBT+ city councilor in 30 years. 

Local government, and local decisions, matter. The Eugene City Council is where I can best tackle the issues I care about – our city’s housing crisis, our response to the climate emergency, and more – on a meaningful, intimate level. I want to apply my experience, skills, and in-depth knowledge of the challenges that face Eugene on a daily basis on the level where I can be most effective. Right now, that means running for City Council.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

What I bring to Eugene City Council is my passion for our community and a deep understanding of the many challenges we face. As Eugene’s next City Councilor I pledge to fight every single day to create a better and more affordable city for all of us.

I am a founding member of two local service-based non-profits: Our Revolution Lane County and the Springfield-Eugene Tenant Association. I am proud to have played key roles in cultivating non-profits with the primary goal of supporting our vulnerable community members. 

I have served on the Lane Community College Budget Committee as an advocate for affordable tuition for students and high education standards. I also have served on the Lane County Budget Committee, where I advocated for transparency in government and led an effort to protect the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. I also serve on housing-focused committees for the State of Oregon such as the Rulemaking Advisory Committee for House Bill 2001, the multi-use zoning law.

What are your views on this form of city government?

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

It is time to get serious about our housing crisis and commit to growing our city in a way that is equitable for everyone. Eugene’s housing shortage drives up housing costs, slows local economic growth, and contributes to an increase in homelessness. As someone living through the housing crisis myself, I share the concern that hundreds of housing advocates and community members share: We have to do more. As a city councilor, I will advocate for removing the archaic zoning and land-use laws that act as barriers to low-income housing. I will push to create 20-minute neighborhoods, where the services used daily are a 20-minute (or less) walk away. 

It is time to elect a city councilor whose future is dependent on the actions taken today. My generation, and the generations of those to come, require a climate leader who will prioritize environmental protections, reduce overconsumption and food waste, and champion alternative transportation options to lower our overall carbon emissions. Eugene can be a climate leader and an example for the rest of Oregon – we just have to fight to get there.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

The rising cost of housing and the rising population of unhoused people speak for itself. People experiencing homelessness all face different challenges; some might struggle with substance abuse, mental health issues, dental issues, or high medical bills. But the most common challenge faced is a lack of low barrier, low-income housing. It is critical that we advocate heavily for more affordable, accessible, and available housing. I plan to work closely with the Joint Housing & Shelter Strategist to ensure that we are providing not only the appropriate tools for success but also the proper wrap-around services to address the myriad issues an unhoused person might face. 

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

Accessibility to elected officials is a significant problem for our current city council. City Council Meetings are only held in Downtown Eugene and only allow two minutes of public testimony twice a month on Monday evenings and you may be required to wait for hours before your name is called. It is absurd in the year 2020 to have such limited access to our elected officials. I am the only candidate in Ward 1 who has committed to hosting an annual town hall, so that we can come together and have an honest conversation about the issues we face. It’s time we built a community together.

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

I have seen the housing crisis hit Ward 1 particularly hard. Ward 1 has hundreds of renters struggling with the rising cost of rent, businesses that don’t feel enough is being done on homelesseness, and people experiencing homelessness who do not have access to the resources they need to be successful. 

Our downtown continues to see new construction and revitalization of many major structures. In order to support local working families, I will work to implement Project Labor Agreements for construction bids accepted by the City of Eugene. PLAs will guarantee that the workers of a job are paid a prevailing living wage, have guaranteed health benefits, and are hired locally.

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

I believe the current climate action plan is far too passive. The goalposts have been moved multiple times for our reducing our carbon reduction goals by 2030 and we are still projected to be unable to meet these goals with the actions we are taking now. One of the largest contributors to Eugene’s greenhouse gas emissions is transportation. Eugene is plagued with broken sidewalks, unprotected bike lanes, and few options besides driving. As a city councilor, I commit to fully supporting the Transportation System Plan’s goals of addressing our current and future transportation needs, while encouraging alternative options to driving. 

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

One of Eugene’s key roles is to provide the most up-to-date information and broadcast awareness to guarantee that all of our citizens have access to the resources they need to survive. City leaders need to guarantee that our emergency services are well stocked with supplies as well as armed with up-to-date information to do their jobs effectively. 

Eugene will need to work with our various community partners – non-profits, county and state government, and businesses, and more – to foster an economic recovery. This will require a leader with lived experience in the issues and an understanding of coordinated budgeting with other governments. 

Emily Semple (incumbent)

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

When George Brown decided to retire, I didn’t want to lose his voice on Council. I had been coming to Council meetings since 2011 and had an understanding of how Council and the City work, and many of the issues. 

I am a quick, enthusiastic learner and have the drive to work hard in helping to make the world a better place, starting with Eugene. In just a few days, and with George Brown and Betty Taylor’s support, I decided to run. It was a good decision and I’m making changes.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

With my many and varied life experiences, I’m approachable and listen well. I’m empathetic and understand the different sides of an issue. I’ve watched Eugene grow and change for 35 years and have been involved in many projects and groups (Oregon Country Fair, Junior League, 4J and other volunteer work) giving me valuable insights into Eugene’s needs and strengths.

This is my fourth year on Council. I have the experience, enthusiasm, insight, knowledge, and momentum to keep projects going and solve new ones.

What are your views on this form of city government?

I think we need full-time Councilors so we can take on more projects, work faster and Get Things Done! As Eugene continues to grow, and at the same time recover from/prepare for COVID-19, we will need more focus and time. We should also pay Councilors a living wage. More people would run for Council if they could afford it.

In our strong manager/weak mayor and council model that we use now, we are very fortunate to have Sarah Medary as our City Manager (Pro Tem). She is calm, competent, prepared, knows and loves Eugene and is leading us well in the pandemic crisis. She’s not Jon. I will vote to hire her. In the future, we may want a strong mayor and council/weak manager city government.

For transparency, accountability, efficiency, and trust between public and government, we need an Independent Auditor to help us be a better city.

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

I am the incumbent! Although some issues have been difficult, I get all the information and opinions I can to weigh the different sides and solutions to make equitable and responsive decisions. I stand by my votes.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

Advocating for the homeless is where I started this work! Although we’ve found and use some solutions, they aren’t nearly enough. We do need to implement the TAC report and a centralized navigation system which will allow service providers to work together and make things easier for people to connect with them. We need smaller areas in many spread out locations for people to camp safely with showers, toilets and hand washing stations. We need more support (and that includes money) — job training, education, loans, time, energy and education. Preventing homelessness will be one of the biggest things we need to do, most certainly now with the financial stresses on rent and mortgages.

I have introduced the topic of adding housing status to our protected classes and I hope we will get to it soon. Last year, I asked for a work session to revisit our camping ordinance but it wasn’t approved. I will be bringing a poll to work on the decriminalization of homelessness, using the guidance of the report from Legal Aid.

The COVID-19 crisis is giving us opportunities to try out and search for more responses, outreach and shelter solutions. It will be important to evaluate and keep the successful ones. We must use this chance to move forward.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

There is too much time between work sessions on the same topic when they aren’t dependent on timelines for action. People are frustrated and see the Council as inefficient. We do need to make well-considered and informed decisions, which can take time, but in other situations we’re too slow. (I get frustrated too.) Work sessions can take over a year to get on the agenda and then a variable amount of time to come back.

How to fix it is tough. Agenda setting and few meetings affect our efficiency.vIt will be interesting to see things change with new councilors and the continued work of our City Manager.

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

Homelessness, housing, jobs, THE CLIMATE, downtown revitalization, safer roads, more bike paths.

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

I think it is taking much too long. We have spent so many years discussing on and on how much change and what measurements we will use to measure it.We have many plans and strategies and they still don’t add up to our goals. As technology advances (and the world changes in response to the pandemic), I believe there will be new methods for combating greenhouse gas and carbon emissions to get to our goals. But we need to get started NOW on implementing the strategies we do have. There will be many hard choices to make and it will be a challenge to get everyone on board. I appreciate the things individuals can do, such as food composting and alternative transportation to bring us together in community and collaboration. With more people involved, education and funding, working together, we will make a difference. 

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

This was the hardest decision I have had to make. I advocated for increased public safety, not to harass the homeless, but because 30% of calls for help weren’t answered, our 911 Center was overworked to burn-out, the court is overloaded and firefighters need ambulances. We need more prevention, outreach and solutions for our homeless and youth and funding for that is also included. 

I was on the Public Safety funding team and it wasn’t easy. No one wants more taxes. Very few of the options would bring in enough money and they were all regressive. The payroll tax was the best choice. I would have liked to not tax lower income people and raise the rate slowly as income increased. The numbers didn’t work well and council majority did not approve the lower rates.

It is difficult to defend not sending the ordinance to the voters but, of course, we thought it might not pass. The benefits of increased public safety are worthwhile and necessary. I think in the long term, it was the right decision and life will be better for everyone.

Budget is really complicated. I think we need to trust Council, the Budget Committee and staff to compile, adapt and judge the budget thoroughly. We have an interactive website that shows the budget in detail for people who are interested and we always welcome comments on people’s budget needs and desires.

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

The city’s role it to do everything we can. Most of the health concerns and needs are the responsibility of the County but that doesn’t stop me from asking! Our number of cases is low but we haven’t been able to test everyone who is sick. It will be critical to reopening.

The City put forth some funding for loans and it was gone instantly. We need to find more and work very closely with County, State and Federal governments for monetary help and support. Things are financially worse everyday as businesses can’t open and people can’t work. Unemployment and stimulus checks won’t carry us very far. This is bad. There will be hard choices and sacrifices. We will have to be savvy and stick together. 

There will be opportunities to make changes we already need and seek and we’ve seen some already. We must seize them, nurture them and believe in ourselves. This is a crisis. We are working together, we’re seeing changes, we’re figuring it out. We’re learning and practicing and we can use all of these skills, networking and communication to save our community and our climate. 

City Council Ward 2:

Kate Davidson

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I’ve lived in the Eugene area 30+ years (18 of them in Ward 2), committing myself to bettering our community. It’s time I give my passion, expertise, and leadership to the Eugene City Council. I’m the right person at the right time to bring wisdom and creativity to the issues we must face and resolve together. My full attention will be focused on the task of bringing truly progressive change to our beloved city. I have no plans to seek office beyond City Councilor for Ward 2.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

For this question, Davidson submitted her entire resume, which is found at KateDavidson.org/Kates-Qualifications.

What are your views on this form of city government?

In my MPA program, I studied municipal government structure and management. The city manager (council-manager) form of government is the most common form of municipal government in the U.S. Council-manager governments tend to favor more comprehensive policy solutions, experience less conflict among senior officials, and are more willing to adopt innovative policies and practices than mayor-council governments. Council-manager governments also seek to distribute the benefits of public policies more broadly. 

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

-Hold regular town halls in the Ward

-Monitor issues, like public transit

-Fulfill Climate Action Plan 2.0

-House the most vulnerable; enhance mental health and addiction services 

-Enhance public safety

-Protect neighborhoods

-Promote affordable housing on EMX corridors

-Expand fiber optic network

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

Eugene, partnering with Lane County, is committed to the TAC Housing Feasibility Study. I support that plan. We must also support innovative grassroots solutions, like Community Supported Shelter’s effective method to move people off the streets into housing. I will press for more behavioral health services and addiction treatment; increased mobile outreach teams and Cahoots.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

City Council meetings can rotate through the wards, with child care available, so more people can attend. I’ll bring more inclusiveness, transparency, equity, accountability to our city’s processes.

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

The creation of neighborhood refinement plans. 

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

The CAP2 doesn’t go far enough and has no accountability structure. It also needs to drive the budget process. We must:

–incentivize rooftop solar

–incentivize carbon neutral construction

–increase carbon sequestration offsets

–increase (electric powered) public transportation, support active transportation

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

Yes and yes.

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

The city’s role is to ensure the safety of its residents by doing as they are doing – collaborating with Lane County and non-profit partners to create safe spaces for the un-housed, hand-washing stations, signage at trailheads; use technology to keep people informed, and ensure resources for those who need them most first. 

The local economy can recover with a Eugene Green New Deal. The COVID crisis has given us the knowledge that unity and change are possible, adapting quickly in the face of calamity. We shouldn’t ‘go back to normal’ and return to ‘business as usual.’ We must move forward with rapid innovation. My experience makes me the candidate most qualified to help drive the progressive changes needed for Eugene to become a world-renowned truly ‘green’ city. 

Together, we have everything to gain by committing unequivocally to this vision. We have only 9 years to cut GHG by 50%. Together, we can do it.

See katedavidson.org. Elect Kate Davidson on Facebook. 

Matt Keating

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

Councilor Betty Taylor, after serving six terms, is retiring. I thank Councilor Taylor for her service and I am honored to step up and step into the role of Eugene City Councilor. 

For two terms I served on the Lane Community College Board keeping tuition affordable and protecting programs like Medical Office Assistant, Engineering, Welding, Theater Arts, and Early Childhood Education. 

But there is far more that must be done to improve the lives of everyday Eugene residents. We must work collaboratively for affordable housing solutions, reducing our carbon footprint, and investing in mental health services. 

As a pragmatic progressive “DeFazio Democrat,” I am interested, exclusively, in where my skill set may best serve our community. Our campaign endorsers Congressman Peter DeFazio, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, State Representatives Paul Holvey & Marty Wilde, Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson, Mayor Lucy Vinis, and former Governor Barbara Roberts would agree: Eugene City Council is the best place for me to better our community, protect our environment, and bolster our local economy.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

I make data-driven decisions and I believe in stakeholder engagement and shared governance. This collaborative and informed approach is vital to a functional participatory democracy. 

Experience passing progressive, forward-thinking policy on the LCC Board of Education, the Democratic Party of Oregon’s Administration Committee, KLCC’s Public Radio Foundation Board, and the Eugene Public Library Foundation Board illustrates a clear commitment to our shared values. The broad support our team has earned from educators, labor leaders, elected officials, and environmental organizations underscores my win-win collaborative approach to public service on the Eugene City Council.

What are your views on this form of city government?

A most inspiring part of Eugene’s form of city government is the citizen-engagement structure of our boards and commissions. As I have on the LCC Board, I will champion a diverse array of voices serving on said boards and I am strongly supportive of utilizing our boards/commissions to propose progressive, pragmatic policy and track measurable outcomes of our stated housing, public safety, diversity, and climate goals.

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

I have profound respect for Councilor Betty Taylor. It would be inappropriate for me to criticize her.

I do, however, want to underscore my commitment to ensuring a robust community benefits agreement (CBA) be attached to any project using public tax dollars. Paying prevailing wages, fighting for full family benefits, promoting a diverse workforce, using sustainably sourced materials, and prioritizing procurement of local goods and services are critical to the health of our local economy.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

The COVID crisis has made clear that the City of Eugene can — and should — provide basic community sanitation stations and services outlined in the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) report.

The success of the Nightingale Rest Stop on 34th & Hilyard is a model to be replicated and celebrated. Providing transitional shelter for folks most in need is the responsibility of our entire community. Our for-profit, nonprofit, education, faith-based entities, and government agencies all share responsibility in alleviating homelessness. It takes a village.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

To improve communication, in-district town halls should be held with more regularity. Further, I welcome the possibility of sharing staff with a neighboring ward, positioned in or near-district and better connected with constituents.

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

In addition to affordable housing, reducing our carbon footprint, and mental health services, here are key South Eugene-specific issues I will continue to champion:

-Transportation. Lane Transit District (LTD) routes used by South Eugene residents should be protected. While I am in favor of dense transit, we should protect lines used by seniors, students, and persons with mobility issues.

-Public Safety. As someone who’s truck has been broken into more than a handful of times, I am keenly aware of the rampant crimes that often, sadly, go unreported in our community.

-Disaster preparedness and fire/earthquake/severe weather preparation. I will ensure South Eugene roads are in proper repair, power lines are responsibly set underground, routes are cleared for first responders, and communication is consistent and clear. 

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

The Climate Action Plan is visionary, but a plan without proper benchmarks and metrics is doomed to fail. To reduce fossil fuels and CO2 levels, while increasing our green open spaces and tree canopy program, key climate benchmarks should be woven into the performance review of city staff. I am also a proponent of the creation of a citizen-driven Climate Action, Implementation, and Results commission.

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

Like you, I communicated with Council my longing for a far more progressive structured payroll tax. Thankfully, Council listened to community input and implemented much-needed structural change before putting the question to the voters.

The budget process should remain public and transparent as illustrated on https://www.eugene-or.gov/106/Budget

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

-Testing. Testing. Testing.

-Increased oversight of our community’s often neglected for-profit senior care facilities. How we, as a society, care for our most vulnerable populations says a great deal about who we are.

-Hazard-pay for frontline workers during a state of emergency.

-Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stockpile at a municipal and/or county level. We have learned that an inadequate and unprepared federal administration can be far from reliable in a time of crisis. Partnering and coordinating with our statewide agencies to ensure Oregon’s frontline workers are never without PPE is paramount.

-Communicate clearly, often, and with clarity. I applaud Mayor Lucy Vinis for standing with Lane County Commission Chair Heather Buch and Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg calling on Governor Brown to act swiftly and decisively to stay home, stay safe and prevent the spread. 

Recovery:

-Advocate for expansion of Oregon Promise offering tuition-free higher education courses and federal student loan debt forgiveness, especially for frontline healthcare workers

-Rent and mortgage freezes. Landlord, renter, and homeowner assistance through the Emergency Economic Injury Grant

-Ensure our local businesses have information and access to Small Business Debt Relief Program

-Establish and promote quality, free, online/n-person/telephonic counseling centers (financial counseling, mental health services, childcare) for residents navigating this uncertain economic time.

-No resident should have to file bankruptcy for absorbing a temporary financial loss as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

City Council Ward 7:

Douglas Barr

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

What motivated me to run for Ward 7 is…Have you ever had an idea that would help people and end their suffering. Well I have and the outcome was two very successful student pantry’s within the Bethel School District High Schools. 

Where, homeless and low income students, have more access to food and can focus on just being students. 

Now, 

I have an idea on how to put a major dent in our homeless crisis. That’s my motivation!! I’m not a politician. I’m a grass roots kinda person, but I gotta see this through. This idea will help end suffering.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

Strengths

Creative Thinking…it’s my Superpower!!! 

Humanity …I truly enjoy knowing diversity and loving individuality!!!

Experience…I have been with the Eugene Neighborhood association Active Bethel Citizens for a couple years now. 

I currently work at Food for Lane County. I’m a proud low income section 8 graduate. I’ve been married 29 years, my dedication and experience to our community is valuable knowledge that will help end our homeless crisis. Saving taxpayers money. 

Working with FFLC has me entrenched alongside volunteers, various companies and pantry’s who donate so much of their LOVE, TIME, and MONEY to curing daily hunger and sheltering insecurities of our citizens. 

A strength and experience In my opinion that makes me the best candidate to END our homeless crisis. 

What are your views on this form of city government?

There’s 8 people that represent Eugene on the City Council.

I like so many believe Equity and Inclusion should be reflected within these 8 people. Myself, as a a low income disabled person along with my knowledge and representation of this demographic of Eugene citizens gives Equity and Inclusion a much needed seat at this table.

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

I’m definitely not gonna criticize Councilor Syrett. I believe and have faith in people. Plus I’m a Fan of hers.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

Ward 7 needs to overcome and move on from our homeless crisis. 

Statistics show that one homeless person can cost a city 35 to 40 thousand dollars a year. 

Ward 7 probably has beyond 1000 unhoused individuals on any given night. 

The Mission 600, Dusk to Dawn 230, with many more individuals sheltering on the streets of Ward 7. 

Giving Ward 7 a estimated total of 40 plus million dollars a year of taxpayers money spent on our homeless crisis.

Hiring me to serve, along with my knowledge and experience of overcoming these issues. Will save taxpayers money.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

By voting for Equity and inclusion of ALL demographics of Eugene citizens giving them, along overdue seat at the city council table. 

You don’t hire a doctor to fix your car and you shouldn’t hire an electrician to do the plumbing. 

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

Climate Change currently at the comer of highway 99 and Roosevelt which many of us consider Eugene’s food desert. There’s a new Am Pm gas station being built across the street from an old gas station half a mile from the gas station around the corner from another gas station. This is a slap if the face to everyone working hard for climate change and feeding the low income people in Ward 7. 

So instead of building new gas stations in this area or anywhere for that matter. I would wanna bring access to more grocery stores and food to help alleviate hunger. Again its past time and overdue for this area.

End, but hopefully just the beginnings of Rant 😁😁

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

First addressing the city canopy issue. This is an easy fix. Planting trees and raising our city’s canopy percentage rate to 40% and above We are Eugene. We LOVE trees. Why are we below the recommended canopy percentage rate anyway ? It’s like we’re losing our identity. 

Next…Helping and giving incentives to those individuals for going above and beyond for their dedication to climate change. Like those who ride their bikes everywhere. Come on we all know these dedicated individuals. People who take the bus or use alternate transportation and businesses who give their attention and behavior to issues that education has shown helps alleviate climate issues let’s find a way to reward this behavior. 

Then homework for everyone!!!

Watch Plastic Wars on OPB it’s the most educational way to understand how we as people can help change the narrative. Eye opening is a understatement!!

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

Seriously have know idea, at this time.

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

Controling the pandemic.

First,

You have to trust the protocols the city have in place and has trained for. 

Then adjust where and when needed, with the insight of the team of individuals assigned to said pandemic positions.

Pulling out all stops and making sure to stay within the SAFETY FIRST position. 

Recovering from Bankruptcy and lost jobs, it’s gonna take awhile, but on a personal level our lockdown has been very successful, I’m glad my wife has the opportunity to look for a new job. 

Thank you for including me in your endorsement search

Charles “Cliff” Gray

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I see Eugene in deep trouble. It’s anger, I suppose, the drive in me that activated my labor struggles for years. I have no interested in anything beyond Eugene’s City Council.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

Perseverance, research, learning from history, the ability to break myths, as was my role lobbying our legislature for the chance of “real” rent control in Eugene. From previous experience I know what winning feels like, seeing what is missing in so many established assumptions. Presenting uncomfortable truths, more importantly, with solutions in hand. 

What are your views on this form of city government?

The city manager, who is unelected, overseen by the elected City Council and Mayor could ideally work, if the right questions were asked. Elected officials are by their nature, amateurs, and so they should, being one of the people reflecting concerns of our residents. Corruption, lack of communication interferes with that. I do not mean money under the table corruption, as is popular, but corrupt ideologically. Both before and after being elected, these very active people are constantly bombarded with programs that sound great, but have hidden agendas. The ability to see through that has been obscured. The unelected staff has as well, have acted as agents of these agendas. It is my wish that you view all elected and staff alike as innocents. They just need to hear and see what is missing in their discourse. If I didn’t think I could accomplish this, I would not have bothered to run.

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

We agree completely on the issue of women’s rights, equal pay for equal work, child care and planned parenthood. Housing, however, is our great divide. Single Moms are not served by housing they can never afford. Increasing density, height limits and constraining our borders, historically produces high priced housing, affordable only to the top third of our residents. Displacement of the lower half is the inevitable consequence. This is how gentrification works. I am more connected to real people.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

Go out and ask the homeless of their previous address, when they had a home. You will hear some fascinating stories, as I did. San Francisco found 71% had homes in their city. Likewise, our homeless were our former neighbors. Think what would happen to yourself in the becoming. They are a direct byproduct of past city policies. The fact that the TAC recommendations have only been implemented in token measures confirms the fear that even meager resources for subsistence would weaken the motivation of poor people to work. Hence, the belief among ruling groups that such poor relief must always be stingy and distributed on punitive terms. Even if TAC were fully implemented, it would soon be overrun by masses of people evicted into homelessness, particularly after the moratorium ends. These people have been demonized at every level. This prevents anything more than just more token efforts.

To fix this is a Housing First approach. No illness will be cured without a stable home. Grant them a Right of Return to their original neighborhood. Decriminalize their past. Stop feeding people to homeless ranks by ending the processes of gentrification. Consider creative reuse of buildings for single room occupancy, residential hotels for permanent home use.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

If a popularity poll was conducted today on the current Council performance, it would rate very low. Not all of it is deserved, like it takes too long to come to a decision. Inviting Bostonians to do the TAC Report, instead of taking immediate action for the homeless, a deliberate waist of time, then short circuiting its implimentation to token levels. That one was pretty bad. However, I do support real study of the issues if they were to use truly independent research from people independant of special interests, to form their oppinions. Currently, it is a developer/real estate dominated information train. They have yet to acknowledge rent increases anywhere in their data.

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

I get a great deal of feedback concerning a virtual disconnect with the council. Communications get lost or not responded to. Of lost friends and community, that attracted people to move here, due to dislocation, rising rents, shabby maintenance, threats from landlords and de facto evictions. Abandoned homes disintegrating before our eyes, or taken over by gangs. There was a special harmony of organic development from old times that has been compromised and threatened by redevelopment. Community input often ignored until after secret contracts were signed. The Lombard Apartments, one example, being continuously fought by the Greenway Guardians, boosted by over 500 neighborhood signatures–all ignored. 

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

The greatest inhibitor to reaching our climate goals is poverty. You can educate the poor towards better alternatives, however, they can’t afford an electric car, while the used car lot has such deals. nor can they ignore the cheapness of natural gas than electricity for cooking and heating their home. EWEB has the highest electric rates I’ve ever seen. Why? Garbage collection rates, too. CAP2.0 says climate change “impacts marginalized communities” without really explaining how, except for what may be imposed upon them. The Plan has admirable goals to achieve, but their plan is weak, inefficient and expensive. Really, more dense housing along transportation corridors? First, such housing is unaffordable to those most in need. Second, the bus plan would fail for–lack of busses, and a lack of a downtown other cities possess. Eugene is not centralized. People work all over Eugene, and the minute they have to change busses to get there, they stop using them. I’ve driven every conceivable commuter bus for 25 years, and all of them work ten times better. The Plan comes off as something designed by developers, not a city concerned for its people.

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

The City has a history of proposing regressive tax measures and putting them to voters, all rejected. So, somehow, they found a way to avoid their obligation to us and impose an equally regressive payroll tax. A wage earner making one cent over minimum wage, gets taxed. It should have never happened. Any tax measure must be approved by voters.

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

If I can keep five families in their homes instead of bailing out one business, I would. Conversely, if a business supports the income necessary to keep five families homed, I would try that too. One must weigh in the loss of expendable income necessary to support these businesses, for if they flounder anyway, those moneys don’t come back. Now those five family’s incomes must truly support staying in their homes. Minimum wage paying businesses, don’t qualify. Meanwhile, when the moratorium ends on evictions and mortgages, what happens? There has to be a push to share the load of built up debt, be it landlords (home and business) and banks (deferred payments). I foresee and fear mass evictions if nothing is done. People first! Businesses should know the risks.

Claire Syrett (incumbent)

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I am currently serving in this office and wish to continue to serve as there are many important issues and exciting projects our city council is currently and will be taking in the next four years. I am motivated to see our implementation of our work housing those without shelter through these next four years, as well as the development of the former EWEB riverfront property. I wish to be part of helping our city navigate our way out of this current pandemic in as strong and healthy a way as possible. I currently do not have aspirations for higher office. I very much enjoy my service on the city council and wish to continue to serve in this role. 

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

My over eight years of experience on the city council as well as fourteen years on the intergovernmental Human Services Commission means I have a deep understanding of how and where we can marshal public resources to effect positive change in our city. I am a pragmatic progressive leader on the city council which means I listen to the other perspectives to find areas of consensus for how we make public policy that can bring the most benefit to our city. I work for the Oregon Nurses Association as a labor representative which provides me with an important perspective on worker’s issues and I worked for several years for the ACLU of Oregon which strengthened my commitment to civil liberties and civil rights. 

What are your views on this form of city government?

I believe our current city manager form of city government is the best fit for our city right now. It has not been demonstrated to me that moving to one where councilors run the day-to-day functions of the city would be better. In fact I believe we would end up with more polarization and less efficient government if we went in that direction. 

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

Not applicable as I am the incumbent. 

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

I have been a strong advocate for implementation of the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) report and I was the councilor who made the motion to set aside one million dollars from the Comcast settlement as “seed” money to build our first publicly funded shelter in Eugene. While I acknowledge that our response to homelessness is not perfect or fast enough, I believe we are finally heading in the right direction with a clear plan. Our current partnership with the county had been a long-time missing piece necessary to truly make a difference. I will continue to push for funding to implement the strategies in the TAC report which, if done correctly, should allow us to move a majority of our unsheltered residents into housing or shelter. We are close to selecting a location for our public shelter in partnership with the county. 

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

I do not. While public processes can always be improved, I believe our council is working diligently to represent our respective constituents and serve the city with integrity. 

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

I am concerned about how we address rising rents which doesn’t just affect my ward but does have an out-sized impact due to the percentage of renters in my ward. This is a challenging issue for council to address as we are limited in our authority over rents. However, we have new revenues for our affordable housing trust fund which I will work to ensure are directed towards helping people stay in and afford their homes including renters. I will also be working to ensure that the River Road/Santa Clara neighborhood planning process continues to move forward and that transportation planning for the River Road corridor takes into account the needs and desires of those neighborhoods. 

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

We need to move forward on most of the recommended strategies outlined in the current plan. This will be challenging as many will require that we find additional funding. In addition, I believe the city and climate activists need to build much greater community buy-in for making change from the rest of our community as changing consumer habits will be an important piece of making any significant progress on our climate goals. I don’t have any new ideas to offer at this time but I believe our current situation with reduced travel and other changes in how we conduct business will provide some ideas and examples of ways we can continue to reduce our carbon emissions after this pandemic has passed. 

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

I was and am still supportive of our public safety pay roll tax. We have a budget committee, composed of eight citizen members and the city council, that holds public hearings and gathers public input on the budget. We have a representative form of government in which elected officials are empowered to and responsible for adopting city budgets. We are responsible for making these important decisions, informed by input from our constituents and the facts on the ground. That is what we are elected to do. 

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

No one can control a pandemic. We can only take actions to try and protect our residents from becoming infected. We have worked in close partnership with the county which is the public health authority for our area to adopt measures to protect our community from further transmission. As of today our efforts seem to be working as we have very few new cases reported on a daily basis. The city will be required to find ways to help our residents and local business recover by working with the county to find economic development dollars, using our affordable housing fund to help people pay rent and make mortgage payments, and by not laying off any city workers as we tighten our budget during the expected recession. We will be looking to business and social service partners to help guide our decisions and efforts in the coming months so we are an effective partner in helping our community weather this difficult challenge. 

City Council Ward 8:

Randy Groves

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

I’ve been a west Eugene resident for almost forty years and in public service my entire adult life. My wife and I raised our kids here. And I want to make our community a better place to live.

I’m running for this seat because when Chris Pryor told me he was retiring; I knew we needed an experienced representative who cares about west Eugene.

I have no intention of running for any other office.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

I have developed the skills and experience to help our community over a long career as a firefighter, captain, union vice president, district chief, deputy chief and eventually fire chief.

When I was fire chief, I set the vision and led the merger between the Eugene and Springfield fire departments which resulted in better service at a reduced cost for our two cities. This accomplishment required us to bring two communities, two city councils, two executive management teams, two fire management teams, four unions and focus us on a common cause – to provide better service to our communities. This has saved us millions of dollars and allowed us to keep fire Station 2 open. Making all of Eugene safer. 

I have proven my ability to get things done that helps all of Eugene. I have the experience to understand the unintended consequences of proposals. And I know this community because I’ve been here for 40 years.

What are your views on this form of city government?

I’ve served as an executive manager in both Eugene and Springfield. I’ve also worked as a consultant and seen other forms of government. My biggest take-away is that bad systems can work if you have the right people, and good systems can fail if you don’t. Our current system works.

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

Chris Pryor isn’t running for reelection. When he decided he was retiring I was honored that he was willing to endorse me for this seat.

My top priorities are economic recovery, good jobs, and safety. I also care deeply about climate change, affordable housing, and homelessness. I think if we do it right, we can create solutions instead of creating false conflict. 

For example, I have a green energy innovation plan that will create green jobs AND fight climate change.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

I am encouraged by the construction underway of The Commons on MLK, a 51-unit supportive housing complex, and the proposed 75-bed low barrier temporary homeless shelter. These are two steps identified by the TAC Report on Homelessness. 

I am also frustrated by the pace of progress. People continue to live in unstable situations, and health and safety issues continue to endanger our housed and unhoused residents and disrupt workers and businesses. 

Accomplishing this is going to be particularly difficult in light of the economic fallout of COVID-19. I was fire chief during our last recession and we need someone who has the experience to effectively guide us through budgeting priorities.

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

It often feels like we’re talking a lot, and not doing a lot. Detail is important, gathering public input and allowing deliberation are all important. Especially during crises like our affordable housing and homelessness situation; however, decisions need to be made with purpose and acted on.

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

There are a lot of issues facing our whole city that I plan on addressing: affordable housing, climate change, COVID 19, the economy, homelessness, and safety to name a few. 

There are also issues that are local to west Eugene. West Eugene does not have a community center, and many of our parks and paths feel unsafe. The Amazon creek path, for example, needs constant cleaning of human waste, and needles. It needs to be made safe for all residents.

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

A lot of folks, not just our youth, feel like it’s a good idea but it doesn’t go far enough. My son and daughter are going to be facing the real brunt of our climate challenge and we have a responsibility to set them up for success. It’s important for us to not just curb climate change and mitigate its effects, but also to build systems that are going to be successful in addressing those challenges long term.

To me, this kind of systemic change requires buy-in from stakeholders across the city and using the levers of industry to “bake in” environmentally restorative priorities.

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

Our city needs to adequately fund emergency services. I’ve worked in our public safety community for over 36-years and I understand the chronic shortages we’ve experienced throughout the system. Our population is growing but our emergency services are not keeping pace with our community’s demand.

I’m concerned with burdening folks with a new tax and I’m concerned by the process that it was passed. Since I wasn’t there when the decision was made, I’ll just say that I generally believe tax increases necessitate a large amount of community input like a ballot initiative where there is ample time to explain the details, justify the tax, and see if people agree.

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

Health and Safety: We must work closely with the county (which is charged with public health) while continuing to focus on providing essential service delivery.

Economic Recovery: I led our fire department through the last recession, and we saved our city millions of dollars while improving fire service by thinking in new ways and creating a new, combined fire department. Recovering from this pandemic will require a few steps:

1. Build a foundation: We need to position ourselves to maximize current resources and get stakeholders all on the same page.

2. Build the framework: Use our foundational work to bring in stimulus funding and grants for economic development. 

3. Build the Future: We need to build an economy that is more resilient and prioritizes local business, and stabilizes jobs and people’s employment for the next crisis.

In the coming months, we will have a better understanding of how our city budget is affected by the pandemic and we need someone who can be effective on day one and who has a vision beyond day one.

Ryan Moore

Note: To stay within the word limit, Moore chose certain questions to answer. 

What motivated you to run for this office? Are you interested in higher office?

My partner and I were forced out of our last home due to the ever-rising cost of rent. We were thrown into the depths of the housing crisis and searched frantically for anyplace we could afford, but there was just nothing at all available. While we lucked out at the final hour and found a beautiful apartment within our price-range, many people in Eugene are not so lucky. This crisis was worsening even before COVID-19 hit and it is damaging innumerable livelihoods.

None of our current City Councilors, and no one else in the race for Ward 8, has this sort of intimate experience of the housing crisis. On this, and on so many other issues, important voices have been left out of the discussion. As a result, our City Council is failing to grasp the true weight of these problems and has not taken adequate action to address them. I am running for Council to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the decision-making process and to push for real and faster solutions.

I have been involved for years with local non-profits, as a community organizer, and professionally at multiple levels of government to tackle things like the housing crisis, climate change, and government accountability. I came to these fights long before ever thinking about running for office, not vice versa. I am not interested in running for any other seat, I am focused on creating a City Council that works for all of us.

What strengths or experiences do you bring?

What are your views on this form of city government?

Is there a particular issue or topic that you can identify that you would handle differently from the incumbent?

This is an open seat and there is no incumbent in the race. However, I bring a unique background and motivation that does not currently exist on our City Council. Our community is wearied by Council’s slow pace and relative lack of action on things like the housing crisis, climate change, and government accountability. Especially in the era of COVID-19, Eugenians want representatives who are right there with them, who have proven their values and commitment to progressive issues and who they can trust to go to bat for them.

I have spent my life fighting for a better future and I am the only candidate in the Ward 8 race who truly feels the urgency of the challenges we face and who has already put his values into action to better our community. I Co-founded the Springfield-Eugene Tenant Association because more than half of our residents are renters and many are falling through the cracks. I have served for years on the Board of Directors at the Laurel Hill Center to help some of the most vulnerable members of our community cope with mental illness and find their way to recovery. I stepped up to run the local Democratic Party’s community action efforts because I believe politics ought to serve the people, not the other way around. In these ways, and so many more, I have “practiced what I preach.” I am the only candidate in this race who was in these fights long before ever thinking of running for office and I believe, especially in this time of crisis, that this proven dedication will be critical in serving the will of our community as Eugene’s next City Councilor.

How do you think the city is handling homelessness? Do you have any ideas on how the city could improve?

Do you have any criticisms of how the council is functioning right now and what would you do to fix those issues?

Are there any issues in your ward that you would like to address as a councilor? (if running for mayor, you can discount this question)

What are your thoughts on the city’s climate action plan? Do you have other ideas on how the city can mitigate climate change?

I am the climate champion in this race. I am proud to have received the endorsements of the overwhelming majority of climate-related organizations in our community including the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Sunrise Eugene, the 350 Eugene Climate Emergency PAC, and more. They have placed their trust in me because I have a proven commitment to tackling climate change and they know that I walk the walk when it comes to progressive values.

Eugene’s Climate Action Plan 2.0 is a step in the right direction but there is much more work to be done. Local researchers and activists have been pushing for years for the city to implement certain benchmarks and accountability measures to better track and ensure that we follow through on our carbon reduction goals. The Mayor has convened an advisory group to take another look at the plan and I am hopeful that we will see some solid gains once that process has concluded.

Rather than making unattainable campaign promises, I have focused on the considerable intersection between affordable housing issues and climate change. Right now in Eugene it is illegal and/or unfeasible to build many types of smaller housing that are not only cheaper to construct, but also result in drastically less carbon emissions. They take fewer materials to build, they require fewer furnishings, and they consume less energy to heat and maintain. Things like single-room occupancy complexes, otherwise known as “residential hotels,” can cost less than a quarter of what it takes to build a conventional apartment building and can then be rented at much lower rates. Eugene has also battled for years over things like accessory dwelling units and cottage clusters but our City Council has not had the political will to make the changes necessary to enable these smaller housing types. As Eugene’s next City Councilor I will bring this issue front-and-center to create the more affordable and environmentally sustainable housing that we so desperately need.

Do you agree with how the city handled the payroll tax? Do you think the City Council should pass a budget without voter approval?

What is the city’s role in controlling the coronavirus pandemic? How can the city help the local economy recover and protect citizens who lost their jobs from bankruptcy?

My partner works at a local sushi restaurant and has been temporarily laid off. We are one of the many families that have already been financially impacted by the pandemic and there are surely many more to come. The sad reality is that the economic hardships stemming from this crisis are projected to fall disproportionately on younger members of the workforce, on renters, and on low-income populations. I am the only candidate in this race who brings these voices to the table and I believe I have unmatched dedication and motivation because of it.

While the County government is responsible for our actual public health department, our City Council should focus on larger-scale policy solutions. We have already seen some great work in this area ranging from new emergency shelter sites, to small business support, to a free parking program for local restaurants’ take-out customers. Ultimately, Eugene’s full economic recovery is going to be too heavy a lift for our city to handle on its own and we will require state and federal support; however, our City Councilors are the local experts who can serve as guides to direct support where it is needed most.

I am endorsed by people like former Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene City Councilor Jennifer Yeh, and multiple Executive Directors of local non-profits like Sponsors and Huerto de la Familia. These people have placed their trust in me because they know I have an authentic desire to serve the will of our community and that I will continue fighting every day to protect our residents as Eugene’s next City Councilor.