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Eugene Mayor Vinis details 2023 plans, will focus on homelessness and economic development

LucyVinis.jpg
City of Eugene
Mayor Lucy Vinis presents her State of the City.

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis delivered her annual State of the City address Wednesday evening at the Hult Center. She said homelessness, housing, public safety and climate change are the city’s priorities for the coming year.

Vinis said she wants to make Eugene resilient and ensure that everyone has somewhere to live. She said she was proud of the progress made last year, but change is slow.

“We are the generation holding the bag. It is our job, the challenge of our era to persevere in realizing our vision and not to pass the burden of these challenges on to our children and grandchildren.”

According to Vinis, Eugene’s renters are struggling, and the city will continue to support affordable developments. She promised to seek federal and state funding around homelessness.

She also announced her support for restricting natural gas in commercial developments, which she hopes will reduce Eugene’s carbon footprint. City Council will likely vote on that proposal this fall.

During the address, Vinis detailed plans to work with local business leaders on a new economic development plan. The Blue Ribbon Business Council on Economic Development will aim to create a healthy local economy.

Vinis said Eugene relies on businesses to execute its environmental, housing and transportation plans. Several local leaders served on a Business Advisory Council throughout 2022.

However, Vinis said a council similar to The Blue Ribbon hasn’t existed since 2004.

“We don't have a comprehensive plan in place to support and grow the businesses that we depend on. We don’t have a current economic development plan for our city. It is time.”

The council will have six months to identify its strategic priorities for Eugene businesses, with plans to begin in February.

Nathan Wilk is a freelance reporter and former reporting intern. He began in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon. He is a senior at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.