City of Eugene: COVID-19 Community Update

For the first time since the COVID-19 response started earlier this year, Lane County has increased the local alert level to high. This means there are increased cases and spread in our community, local healthcare facilities are stressed but still have some room, and most importantly, we must all take measures to limit contact and modify everyday activities to reduce exposure.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Lane County has grown at an alarming rate since early September. According to Lane County Public Health, we are on an upward trajectory that could have exponential growth over the coming weeks.

“This should serve as a reality check and wakeup call for people in Eugene and throughout Lane County,” Mayor Lucy Vinis said. “If we don’t recommit to drastic measures now – things like limiting our interactions with others, wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, staying home when we’re sick and washing our hands – this virus could devastate our community. Our neighbors, friends and family could get sick, need to go to the hospital and in some cases – even die.”

According to Lane County Public Health, social gatherings have been the biggest driver of increased cases, especially among people ages 17-28. There have been seven recent outbreaks among this age group. Some of the people at those outbreaks contacted a large number of people after contracting the virus. It is important to understand that young people can and do get the virus, and can then spread it to even more vulnerable populations without knowing it.

“This is a community-driven virus and we all need to look at our own actions and behaviors, regardless of age,” Incident Commander of Eugene’s response Chris Heppel said. “We don’t live in vacuums, we’re all connected in some way. We need to evaluate when and how we’re having those social interactions. If they’re not necessary at this point, it’s probably best to hold off.”

Lane County Public Health is expecting this uptick to last for at least three to four weeks, longer if people don’t modify their behaviors. We urge you to please think about your actions over the coming weeks and make sure you’re practicing the four Ws:

  1. Wear a face covering – indoors and outside when you can’t maintain 6 feet of space, it’s a statewide requirement
  2. Watch your distance – stay 6-feet apart from those outside your household and limit your gathering size
  3. Wash your hands – often with soap and water for 20 seconds throughout the day
  4. Wait it out – stay home if you are sick

As flu shots become available this season, please utilize this public health tool. Preventing flu cases helps COVID-19 efforts in our community by decreasing the strain on our healthcare resources.

Answer the Call – Contact Tracing is Important to Stop the Spread   

If you get a call or voicemail from a Public Health contact tracer, please answer or return the call. Contact tracing is critical to our community’s ability to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. People who participate in contact tracing are actively helping to keep their community safe by helping public health officials track the virus. For more information from Lane County Public Health on contact tracing please visit their contact tracing webpage. The State of Oregon’s contact tracing web page also offers useful information and resources. 

COVID-19 Resources 

See a list of Community Resources for physical and mental health, food, housing, businesses, employees, schools and children, as well as information in Spanish.

Also learn how you can help. Our partners have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information:

Lane County Call Center: Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 541-682-1380

McKenzie Fire (aka Holiday Farm Fire) Resources

Eugene Community Safety Updates

community safety updates

Upcoming City Council Work Session

The Eugene City Council received extensive input from the community on the FY21 budget, which was approved on June 22. In addition to their on-going commitment to 21st century policing reform, members of the City Council have also noted the need to take thoughtful and deliberate actions addressing discrimination and systemic bias. As part of that effort, the Council is scheduled to meet at 5:30 pm on July 20 to specifically begin working on issues related to public safety funding including the Community Safety Initiative (CSI). That meeting will be available live on Comcast channel 21 and online, both live and recorded, at www.eugene-or.gov/webcasts.

Public Comment for Administrative Rules begins July 6

The City of Eugene is seeking public comment on Proposed Administrative Rules for the Community Safety Payroll Tax. These rules will implement the Community Safety Payroll Tax Ordinance (No. 20616)
passed by Eugene City Council in June 2019 to provide long-term funding for community safety services. The Community Safety Payroll Tax will generate funds to provide faster, more efficient safety responses, deter crime, connect people to services, engage and help at-risk youth, support more investigations and court services, and add jail beds to reduce capacity-based releases and hold those who commit crimes accountable.
Visit the Payroll Tax web page to review the proposed Administrative Rules, provide comment, or learn more about the Community Safety Initiative, including to check if your business is within the Eugene city limits.
community safety payrol tax

Citizen Advisory Board

One of the accountability measures for the Community Safety Payroll Tax is a Citizen Advisory Board. The Citizen Advisory Board is responsible for preparing an annual report separate and distinct from the report prepared by the outside auditor, documenting the City’s use of the tax revenue and noting whether the tax revenue was spent in compliance with the purpose and use set forth in section 3.750 to 3.768 of the City Code of Ordinances.
Board members must be city residents and/or subject to the payroll tax. They are selected based on their interest in the Community Safety Initiative and/ or local government, and are appointed by the City Manager to represent a cross section of Eugene residents. The Citizen Advisory Board is comprised of community members, business owners, employers, employees and local community organization leaders. Their background and experience will provide important perspectives and oversight on the work of the Community Safety Initiative.
The Board held its first meeting on June 16. See the meeting packet and presentation slides on our website. We look forward to sharing more about the work of the Advisory Board in future emails.
cpmmunity safety payrol tax accountability measures