Monday, November 23, 2009

Tonight's Work Session--Accomplishments?

8th and Lincoln

To the EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City:

Thank you to those that attended this evenings Mayor and Council work session on downtown conditions. To those of you that were not able to make it you will have another chance on December 16th when the Police Chief Task Force will have its final meeting with all of their recommendations. Tonight was another exchange of ideas and talk surrounding downtown. Councilor Pryor stated that Public Safety is like infastructure. It needs to be in place before growth will occur. Council Pryor also stated that this problem has been around for years and asked his fellow councilors to please not pass this problem on to others. Councilor Soloman echoed that and asked for more information from the Police Chief on the Task Force. Councilor Poling stated that the problem was real and that EugeneAdvocates had pointed that out. Councilor Poling further stated he would have to review with interest the idea of granting additional power to others. Councilor Zelenka agreed. Councilor Ortz asked about county seat services in downtown as she thought all were in her ward on highway 99. Councilor Clark had a well prepared list of solutions and challenges and asked a number of very pertinent questions of Police Chief Pete Kerns who started the meeting with a presentation on his Task Force who will have met six times by December 16th. They are preparing solutions both short and long term for Council consideration. Amazingly this problem has been around for years but we need further study. We really hope the Task Force is successful and that the Council will listen and more importantly act on solutions now.

Councilor Taylor who had just returned from Council business in San Antonio suggested that a charge be levied for empty downtown buildings without regard as to why they were vacant, expressed her dissatisfaction on the exclusion zone, wants more parties downtown, and quotes a businessman who was asked about how he would deal with the people downtown by replying "I am from NY." Perhaps Councilor Taylor has not followed how crime has been reduced in NY and thinks that Eugene is not crime ridden as the statistics so readily show.

Councilor Clark did an admirable effort to try to draw to the council's attention that the discussion is not about the homeless but about those who break the law in Eugene. People including those in the KVAL downtown solution piece which totally unfortunately missed the mark according to Councilor George Brown tend to shift the conversation to homelessness and the need for more services to accommodate those groups away from the criminals who break our laws. As Councilor Pryor stated the problem has to be identified and it is the rising crime rate not the homeless. As Councilor Clark stated there needs to be a balance of all needs. Councilor Clark was prepared to make some type of motion for action but decided to wait for the Police Chief's Task Force to come forward with their recommendations. This seems to be the course everyone wanted except for the large audience that was there expecting council action.

Mayor Piercy tried to point out the positives that have occurred and she has enumerated in emails such as: downtown parties, LCC move, increase in red hats, and other such solutions. The Mayor did point to the fact that Eugene is a county seat and does provide county services which may need to be relocated. For the benefit of those councilors who have not seen 8th and Lincoln we have included a photo. Councilor Clark invited his fellow Councilors to an outing at 8th and Lincoln. Do you think they will take him up on that??? To those who attended we heard more talk and to those who did not attend you missed more talk. Maybe next meeting will yield action by our elected officials so that our Police Chief can get the job done.

Note the absence of Police presence in this major gathering in downtown Eugene.

EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City