Eugene Voters to decide on a new payroll tax in November special election
EUGENE, Ore. – A charter amendment is on the Eugene Special Election ballot for November 5th. It’s a measure that affects the tax rates for a new city payroll tax.
Eugene city councilors went ahead last June and passed the new public safety payroll tax, without a public election.
This time, officials are going to the public on a charter change, that would lock in tax rates for Eugene employees and employers.
It’s Lane County Measure 20-302 on the November ballot, coming to voters more than four months after the payroll tax was approved.
“To show their good faith with regard to how that tax would be used, they wanted to lock in the ability for the community, the voters, to have control over how and when that measure might be used in the future,” said Chris Pryor, a Eugene City Councilor.
The Eugene payroll tax will collect just over $23 million dollars a year for 40 more police officers, more detectives, more 911 dispatchers and other public safety needs. If passed, the charter amendment caps the tax on local employers at 0.0021 percent on gross annual payroll. The top tax rate on employees would be 0.0044 percent.
“It really boils down to a notion of emergency and need, with regard to why the council to this unusual step,” said Pryor.
Minimum wage earners are exempt from the tax. Those earning above minimum wage but under $15 an hour pay at a lower rate.
Pryor says voters upset with the council passing the tax should still vote yes on the charter change otherwise.
“Then it is possible that some future city council could change the uses of that money, because there would be nothing locked in to the city charter to prevent them from doing it,” said Pryor.
Collections on the Eugene payroll tax begin the middle of next year.
At the same election, Coburg voters will decide if they want to boost their local gas tax to pay for more street repairs. And voters in the Santa Clara fire district are deciding whether to renew a five year / operating levy.
Windermere is in its fourth season of helping #TackleHomelessness with the Seattle Seahawks!
Each year, as part of that campaign, Windermere hosts a “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive for a local non-profit. This year, we are collecting warm winter gear for our new non-profit partner, Mary’s Place, an organization that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services to women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness.
We are asking for donations of NEW hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and warm socks for all genders and sizes.
From October 14 through November 8, you can drop off donations at our participating Windermere Real Estate and Property Management offices in King and Snohomish Counties**. Once the drive is over, our friends at Gentle Giant Moving Company — our winter drive partner for the past three years — will once again generously donate their time and trucks to pick up the donations collected by our offices, to deliver to Mary’s Place.
Since 1999, Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of women and families move out of homelessness into more stable situations. Across eight emergency family shelters in King County, they keep struggling families together, inside, and safe when they have no place else to go. But shelter capacity is limited and there are still hundreds of families sleeping outside in cars and tents each night. Please help them stay warm during the cold winter months by dropping off your donations to our participating offices.
Feel free to contact your Windermere agent or local office for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eugene whittles 1,100 street name suggestions down to 12 semi-finalists
EUGENE, Ore. – Eugene residents recommended 1,100 ideas for the names of 3 new streets to be created through redevelopment of the Willamette River waterfront.
That list has now been whittled down to 12 semi-finalists.
Neither Roady McRoadFace nor Streety McStreetFace made the cut.
Suggestions had to fit into one of three categories: Community/Culture; Ecology/River; or Industry/Energy.
“Additionally, names had to meet practical guidelines such as not exceeding 20 characters or being too similar to another street name in Lane County,” the City of Eugene said. “Names of people who are still living or already have a public space named after them were also removed.”
So which names made the cut?
Current: “Represents both water and electrical currents, relating to the site’s history with EWEB, the City’s publicly-owned water and electricity provider, and the site’s proximity to the Willamette River.”
Wiley Griffon: “Among Eugene’s earliest documented African American residents (c. 1893), Wiley Griffon drove Eugene’s first horse drawn streetcar system and later worked as a janitor at the University of Oregon. He remarkably owned a home near the Riverfront at what is presently E. 4th and Mill during a time when African American people were excluded by law from living not only in the city limits, but in the state of Oregon.”
Andíp: “Andip is the indigenous Kalapuya word for “the camas,” a flower that blooms throughout the Willamette Valley.”
Megawatt: “A unit of power equal to one million watts; a nod to the site’s history with EWEB, the City’s electric and water utility.”
Chifin: “The Chifin tribe was a specific group of the indigenous Kalapuya who occupied much of the area of Eugene.”
Electric: “Built in 1931, the Steam Plant provided standby electrical power to the pumps bringing river water in to the city’s original water treatment plant and starting in 1962 supplied heating to downtown businesses.”
Akawan: “Akawan is the indigenous Kalapuya word for ‘fish.'”
Track Town: “With a history of world class runners and its embrace of the running community, Eugene has long been known as Track Town, USA.”
Lotte: In honor of Lotte Streisinger (1927-2017) who “during an important period in Eugene’s growth she advocated for and administered the selection of much of our public art (at the Hult, the Airport, the University) and appeared weekly on KLCC hosting the Visible City program. She was the founder of the Eugene Saturday Market, which sprang from an annual art sale she founded. She was a fierce peace activist.”
Cannery: “Previously located near the riverfront, the cannery was one of the City’s largest industrial sites and employers, playing a key role in the growth of the region’s agricultural sector.”
Annie Mims/Mims: “Annie Mims and her husband C.B. Mims were the first African American family to own a home in Eugene at a time when African American’s were excluded from living in the city limits and redlining was rampant.”
NakNak: “Naknak is the indigenous Kalapuya word for ‘duck.’”
Online voting is open through October 18.
The voting results will be given to Mayor Lucy Vinis, who will help make the final decision.
Turf is down and the park, on the former site of Civic Stadium, will host its first event in October
Bright green artificial turf now covers the ground where Civic Stadium — a Eugene landmark lost to flames more than four years ago — once stood.
Civic Park is coming into shape and the field will have its first event next month, said Nancy Webber, Eugene Civic Alliance co-executive director. The turf went in earlier this month. Construction crews continue building a field house and a parking lot has yet to be installed.
“There’s still an awful lot to do,” she said, walking Monday through the 10-acre construction site.
Still, neighbors are now getting a sense of what the new south Eugene fixture will look like and how it will impact the neighborhood. So far, the Eugene Civic Alliance has raised $25 million for the ongoing Civic Park project, Webber said. The Eugene-based nonprofit organization will have to raise more than $5 million to cover the cost of phase one, which includes the field, field house and parking lot. Future additions would include a 2,500-seat grandstand and other amenities.
Willamette Street runs parallel to the field, just uphill to the west of the new playing surface. From the porch of her home along Willamette, Hali Burley, 56, looked Monday toward Civic Park. The field grabs your eye. “It’s permanently green and gorgeous,” she said.
Burley has lived there since 2013 and recalled the June 2015 fire that destroyed Civic Stadium. The blaze, sparked by children playing with matches, leveled the 77-year-old wooden ballpark.
The dramatic fire left a gap in south Eugene. And neighbors were curious about how it would be filled.
Taeza Lowell, 51, also lives along Willamette Street above Civic Park. She recently walked by fencing surrounding the construction site to have a better look at what crew are building. “It’s not what I was expecting,” she said, particularly the field house — a 40,000-square-foot structure that will house three basketball courts.
But, she supports having athletic facilities return to the location. Even before the fire there was talk about a shopping center replacing Civic Stadium since the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball team shifted to PK Park in 2010. Instead, the Eugene Civic Alliance focused on a new venue for sports.
Kidsports, a local youth sports group, plans on hosting leagues on the field and in the field house. Also, the Lane United Football Club, an amateur soccer team in Eugene plans to have Civic Park be its home. Other local sports clubs and organizations also are interested in Civic Park, Webber added.
The first event for the park, a fundraiser for the Eugene Civic Alliance, is set for Oct. 20. The park is set to fully open next spring, she said.
October’s Day of Play, an event hosted by former University of Oregon athlete Jordan Kent, will allow participants to go through sports-themed stations to get an idea of what activities will happen at Civic Park.
“People can come out and experience being on the field,” Webber said.
Lowell and Burley said they won’t mind the sound of sports at Civic Park being heard in their homes. They’re already used to the noise and commotion of sports at South Eugene High School, which is adjacent to the new venue.
“They are happy sounds, thankfully,” Lowell said.
“It’s the sound of health,” Burley said. “It’s the sound of community involvement.”
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“With more than 300 workers on the job site a week, the new track and field stadium set to host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials and the 2021 World Track & Field Championships is starting to take shape since its unveiling in April 2018.
On Wednesday, The Register-Guard got a chance to step inside the construction zone for an early look at the evolving Hayward Field on the corner of Agate Street and East 15th Avenue.
Here are some key takeaways from our time inside the new Hayward Field:
You’ll feel close to athletes
From a distance, the new Hayward Field appears massive with the recently constructed horseshoe shape of the structure dominating the field of view on the southeast side of campus. But inside the bowl of the stadium, it doesn’t feel as intimidating. It’s easy to see how it will have a buzzing feel when packed with upwards of 30,000 people, especially when the old Hayward only held about 8,500.
Despite the jaw-like beams surrounding the stadium, the layout of the seating areas and the open-air feel of the stadium make it so you don’t feel swallowed up in the architecture. Plus, the new stadium will have spectator areas immediately alongside the track, bringing you closer to the events as they happen.
Spectators are key players
There are a lot of resources being tailored to spectators in the new Hayward. For watching competitions, there will be three private suites, three concession stands and a track-level VIP area. All of 15th Street is being turned into a plaza exclusively for pedestrian use.
The continuous bowl of the stadium also is designed for the best acoustics that will project the sound of the crowd back toward the athletes, according to lead designer Todd Van Horne.
“So there are no dead zones for those athletes, they’re always feeling the energy of the crowd and the enthusiasm,” he said.
There still will be ways for the local community to use the stadium, said Oregon Track & Field Head Coach Robert Johnson. In the past, there have been community practices held at Hayward, and that’s not going to change. He also noted that the observation deck being built at the top of the tower near the entrance will be open to the public.
Van Horne didn’t know if the new facilities would mean an increase to ticket prices for fans: “All I know is that that interest has gone almost more than double from Olympic Trials from previous times. So there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of interest. And I think even season ticket sales for the University of Oregon are up.”
On time, on budget
The plan as it stands is to have the new Hayward wrapped and open for Pac-12 Championships in May 2020. The project is on time, Van Horne said.
“The schedule is aggressive, they’re super excited,” Van Horne said of those working on the site.
But as with any construction project, there are variables that could set it back.
“Cross your fingers for good weather,” Van Horne said after being asked whether he was confident it will be ready for the Pac-12 meet. “But that’s what we’re really shooting for, and everybody’s confident at this point.”
The project, which has a cost of about $195 million, is on budget, Van Horne said. he has been told they are on budget.
Old Hayward isn’t gone
Those looking to take a break from the action in between events can walk down memory lane in the new Hayward Hall, which will hold all of the track program’s trophies from years past and some historical information about the field.
The university salvaged materials from the previous Hayward Field and is working with community members to create a public process for distributing these pieces. However, the materials will not be for sale.
Johnson said there “absolutely” will be pieces of the old Hayward incorporated into the new one, but he wasn’t ready to give up the details.
“I won’t quite give away that secret yet, but I’m blown away by it and I’m sure you all will be as well.””
“As development moves forward on our Downtown Riverfront(External link), there are three new streets that need names. One street is a main through way for vehicles and two are side streets connecting people to the Riverfront Park.
Redevelopment of the Downtown Riverfront has been part of the community’s vision for decades, and now that the vision is starting to take shape, this is another opportunity to ensure our new neighborhood reflects Eugene and its residents.
To be considered, street names will need to follow practical guidelines and meet themed criteria that will make them relevant to Eugene and the new Downtown Riverfront neighborhood. Criteria and guidelines are listed below. New streets cannot have the same name as an existing street in Lane County.”
Click on the link below to submit your suggestions!
As community members, it is up to us to strengthen our neighbors. Check out this blog post from the Windermere Foundation: https://www.windermere.com/blogs/windermere/posts/building-stronger-communities-by-helping-those-in-need