I led the Board of Commissioners to create a business-friendly, net new job-creating approach to climate action. The county has, for the first time, a handle on its carbon emissions and is creating jobs by decreasing them.
Now I’ll push for county-enabled partnership financing to create hundreds of local Springfield and Lane County jobs installing energy efficiency/solar/battery storage/car charging retrofits without requiring individual home or business owners to take out debt to pay for it.
GOOD JOBS AND LOCAL COMMERCE
More than any other county commissioner, I’ve led pragmatic changes to move more money locally, focus on good paying local jobs, contracting with local business, and insuring workforce equity. I will continue to focus on capitalizing Springfield and Lane County, creating living wage jobs and sustainability.
State legislation with my name on it can now affect how $10 billion is spent in Oregon annually toward local jobs with good pay and benefits, contracting to local business, workforce equity and clean energy without one penny in added taxes. That’s just smart.
I have changed Lane County investments to put more money in local banks and credit unions to loan to local homebuyers and local business. Again, a no-brainer.
We need more housing at all levels, especially for first-time homebuyers and our more vulnerable neighbors. Everyone ought to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and the feeling of being safe in their home. We need to build more and support that in every way.
We also need to offer our seniors and others the dignity of staying in their homes. Case in point: My actions were fundamental to enabling residents to purchase the Patrician manufactured home park. These 86 families will never again experience the fear and anxiety they felt when the park was going to be redeveloped, and then was up for sale. Now they own and are the Filbert Grove Cooperative.
I am working on state legislation enabling residents in all 108 manufactured home parks in Lane County, a large number of them in Springfield, to do the same thing when park owners want to sell. Too many Springfield residents are now subject to losing their homes with literally nowhere to go.
I moved my Community Benefits Agreement from idea to a pilot program redirecting millions of dollars to local businesses and local hires right here in Springfield and Lane County, and from that to state legislation - all in less than three years. We can take the same road to providing security and dignity to our manufactured home neighbors!
People and the public interest, not government or wealthy private interests, need to be first. Solutions need to be local and create local jobs. Period.
Whether shelter for those needing warm shelter on cold winter nights, evacuations due to natural disasters including fires, clean air respite during smoke days, cooling centers during heat dome events, we have to be smarter. Rather than treating solutions separately, I propose retrofitting community centers. Places in every community that produce more clean energy than they use, store the surplus to power critical food lockers, bathroom and shelter areas for weeks. Whether church basements, school gymnasiums, vet or grange halls, we need to retrofit existing community facilities and create solutions where people are.
Simply creating evacuation warning systems with go-bags isn’t enough. We need functional places for people to go.
County commissioners have no direct authority over the 16 Lane County school districts. Nonetheless, we run multiple programs in partnership with them.
To this end let us be clear. Our programs should leverage schools to do four simple things: help our young people develop a work ethic, a service ethic, a citizenship ethic, and the ability to think for themselves and get along with others to solve problems. All else is peripheral.
Lane County needs strong, Sensible leadership, now more than ever
Over the past year and a half, county government has been called, like never before, to be a lifeline, providing critical support to all our communities:
coordinating testing and vaccines countywide
getting rent relief to tenants and landlords
getting relief to local businesses
advocating for the needs of county residents and necessary commerce
successfully overturning a FEMA decision and securing a FEMA Housing Mission for Holiday Farm Fire victims who lost their homes
putting community needs first and funding more deputy sheriffs to respond to emergency calls in rural areas, even as COVID shrunk budgets
pushing to safely open local businesses, health clubs, restaurants, and venues
acquiring real estate assets, providing shelter and health services to our friends and neighbors down and out due to the COVID and fire crises
building more subsidized housing.
We have delivered in many of those categories, but there is still work much to do. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and keep putting in the work to make Lane County a better place for the next four years.
joe on the issues
Project Labor Agreements and Tangible Community Benefits
Improving Equity in County Government
Beginning Lane County's Climate Action Plan
Investing in Our Communities