Despite many challenges, the Lane County Commission had some notable accomplishments this year
Dear <<First Name>>,
What a year it’s been! Last December, I was full of optimism about what 2020 would bring. It certainly didn’t turn out to be the year I — or anyone else — expected. While 2020 had a lot of challenges and low moments, I’m proud of how much the Lane County Commission was able to achieve in spite of numerous obstacles. Here is a look back at some notable accomplishments.
Our team has weathered the COVID-19 crisis with compassion, speed and a deep commitment to keeping our community safe. I can’t thank the folks at Lane County Health and Human Services enough for doing their best to keep us educated about the disease and ways to prevent its transmission and spread. They’ve also shown tremendous commitment to our community’s most vulnerable citizens, acting quickly to find space for a temporary COVID recovery center on River Avenue and emergency shelters for our residents experiencing homelessness this winter.
We’ve also worked hard to keep businesses informed about obtaining available financial relief and understanding the changing requirements around opening and closing and keeping workers safe. They are having a tough time and I’ll continue to advocate for more support. Please do what you can to support small businesses right now, whether it’s getting take-out from your favorite restaurants or safely visiting local shops for necessary supplies.
Holiday Farm Fire
When the Holiday Farm Fire ripped through Lane County in early September many of our rural communities, including Blue River and Vida, were completely devastated by the flames. Every person in Lane County was impacted by the blanket of choking smoke and all of Lane County grieved with our McKenzie neighbors. During that time, our first responders did a tremendous job of fighting the fire and keeping people out of harm’s way.
Many local nonprofits, including McKenzie River Trust, St. Vincent de Paul, Red Cross, Greenhill Humane Society, and the United Way, stepped up to help the people who evacuated. People in the community really stepped up too, donating food, toiletries and other much-needed items, which was heartening to see. The County continues to help people find recovery resources and access emergency assistance. It is so important to support the many companies and nonprofits engaged in the rebuilding effort, including those bringing internet access back to these affected communities. This will continue to be a top priority for me in the coming year.
Climate Action Plan
The Commission passed the County’s first Climate Action Plan in 2020, and we’ve already completed the first phase: developing an inventory of our internal greenhouse gas emissions. With that information, we can come up with a plan for decreasing our overall emissions. Phase 2 is under way.
Community Benefits Bidding Process
Another major accomplishment was approving the county’s first bidding process that takes community benefit into account. This process will require any County-led capital improvement projects with a budget of $1 million or more to prioritize contractors that provide living wages and significant local economic benefits. When the County makes significant investments in projects, it should also make significant investments in local businesses whenever possible. This is one step in ensuring that happens.
Housing Action Plan
Affordable housing and homelessness continue to be major issues for me. I’m proud that the Commission approved Lane County’s first Housing Action Plan earlier this month. Priorities include finding ways to put more housing on existing buildable land, supporting pilot projects and partnerships that result in more housing development, and investigating innovative ways to get more affordable housing in rural areas. Our next step for this plan is to create a framework for implementation and integrating the high-impact and immediate-impact recommendations into work plans for 2021 and 2022.
Floodplain Code Improvements
Another action the Commission took this year was making improvements to the floodplain code that improve resiliency and take into account the needs of wildfire victims and rebuilding.
On a more personal note, my husband was again at sea during the holidays this year. It is so hard being separated from your family and having to abide by safety distancing measures even if you can see them. It is important to remember these times won’t last forever.
Like so many others, we adopted a rescue puppy, Aurora, this year. (See her picture below.) With COVID-19 consuming so much of our lives this year, her name reminded us there is a new dawn, or new day, to look forward to when times get tough. May your 2021 be full of resiliency, recovery and new opportunity.
Your Support Always Helps
Believe it or not, my re-election campaign will begin next year. A contribution to my PAC will help me lay the groundwork for a successful run in 2022. Please give today.