Clair Syrett, Ward 7 Candidate Answer to WE CAN questions

See the other candidate's answers to these questions.

1.    Eugene residents, in large numbers, have expressed support for more walkable neighborhoods.  What does a walkable neighborhood mean to you, and how would you seek to bring about more walkable neighborhoods in Ward 7 and the rest of the city?

I am very fortunate to live in the very walkable neighborhood of Whiteaker where I get to experience the health and economic benefits of a walkable neighborhood on a daily basis.  I am able to walk to the grocery store or natural food store, the pet store and other businesses. In addition, I can walk to a number of different nearby parks or other amenities. I can do all of this safely because of sidewalks and other infrastructure that creates a safe and pleasant walking experience.

While not all parts of Ward 7 wish to have their streets changed to include new sidewalks, street lights or other similar infrastructure the city can still support these neighborhoods in becoming more walkable. This includes extending the river path north of Beltline, improving sidewalk and street light in those places where neighborhoods and commercial areas intersect, and improving public transit options and infrastructure especially along major and minor corridors so that people feel safe walking from home to the bus stop.

2.    What are the biggest challenges to people on foot in Eugene? How would you address these challenges?

Safety is one of the biggest challenges I see for pedestrians. This will need to be addressed through education directed at both drivers and pedestrians, traffic enforcement and engineering. I believe that with a concerted effort we can create a culture of pedestrian safety in Eugene but it will take time.

3.    Given the current economic climate, families in Eugene are struggling more and more with housing affordability. What is the most important thing we can do to ensure affordable housing in Eugene?

This is a complex issue for which there is no single solution. I believe that the city of Eugene will need to consider adopting policies that create more opportunities for low and moderate income families to find housing. These include exclusionary zoning, increased renter protection against "no cause" evictions among others. In addition we should support policies at the local, state and national level that increase economic stability for working people including raising the minimum wage and paid family leave.

4.    Many people identify the Capstone apartments as the type of development they do NOT want to see more of in Eugene. Can you give an example of a development that IS what we want more of in Eugene?

Based on input I have received from residents, city planners and real estate professionals Eugene lacks the variety of housing options one might find in a larger city. Both younger residents and those heading into retirement are looking for housing with a smaller footprint. I believe we need to create the environment for a variety of housing types to be developed in response to the market. This would mean condos, semi-detached houses, and other forms of multi-family housing as well as the new "tiny" houses we are developing as a strategy to reduce homelessness.

5.    Eugene is projected to add 34,000 new residents over the next 20 years. How do you propose that we accommodate this growth?

The city council is on track to adopt a strategy to accommodate this growth through the Envision Eugene process. That process has identified creating more density within our urban core as the main strategy for meeting our goals. Most of this development would be along major transit routes and within downtown over the next 15 or so years.

6.    Eugene has a population with a lot of different points of view. What do you see as your role in to building an atmosphere of trust and open dialog?

I think its critically important that we provide a space for all points of view to be heard. I encourage residents to educate themselves on the issues and share their views with the council. The council must strive to be transparent as we process that input and deliberate on possible action. This is the basis for a functioning democracy in my view.