Neighborhood presses Councilor Keating for straight talk, heads up on housing5 min read
Southeast Eugene’s City Councilor told the neighborhood that he has taken a third job. Speaking on Feb. 1, Matt Keating.
[00:00:07] City Councilor Matt Keating: My day started at 4:45 in the morning. It’s the first day of the Oregon Legislature’s 81st assembly. It’s a five-week short session and I’m happy to answer any questions about the bills I’m working on, on behalf of my boss, our representative, Marty Wilde.
[00:00:22] John Q: City councilor, legislative aide, and now campaign manager for a high-profile candidate.
[00:00:28] City Councilor Matt Keating: February is a very difficult month for me because of the short session. And I just signed on with Sen. James Manning as his campaign manager. So I’m working in essentially three jobs now.
[00:00:37] John Q: Councilor Keating addressed his criticism of landlords.
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[00:00:40] City Councilor Matt Keating: I’ve been accused of being a little salty in my comments toward landlords, some of whom were framing the issue as from a place where, and they consider themselves ‘housing providers.’ And so I called out the community and asked them to actually provide some housing, if they’re going to consider themselves ‘housing providers.’ There’s a dearth of rental housing availability, of course, in this community and the tenants’ advocacy points are sound and I’m proud to stand behind them.
[00:01:05] John Q: He noted that he is the only City Councilor who rents his home.
[00:01:09] City Councilor Matt Keating: Since my comments about landlords, I’ve met with landlords throughout south Eugene, and I want to say not only am I the only renter on council, I’ve rented from at least a dozen different landlords. And there’s only been one bad apple in that batch by and large, both tenants and landlords have more in common than they didn’t then than they then they disagree on both. They want to be good tenants and you have a great place to live and be good neighbors.
[00:01:35] And I commend the landlords in our community who have been solid partners and engaging in positive relationships with their tenants. And of course there’s gonna be bad apples in every batch, but the advocacy points that are in front of us are welcome.
[00:01:51] I think they’re needed to reduce barriers. Lowering a credit score to 500 is one approach; statewide fix for one-stop shop for applications so folks aren’t being nickel-and-dimed paying screening fees, and applications all over the place. When Becca and I were looking for our place, we paid upwards of $500 just in screening fees and applications and removing the student loan debt and medical bills from affecting one’s credit score are just some of the advocacy points that I could get behind.
[00:02:19] John Q: Councilor Keating said he is organizing a Town Hall.
[00:02:22] City Councilor Matt Keating: And around the corner I want to share with, I would have a larger conversation about housing and Mayor Vinis and Council President Syrett have agreed to do a joint town hall. My fingers are crossed. It can be an in-person virtual hybrid, but it may just be a virtual town hall, but I’m pleased that the council president and the mayor are willing to do a town hall with me. And for those who haven’t heard, my colleagues elected me to leadership. I’m serving as council vice-president and in just my second year on council to have my colleagues elect me to leadership is a pretty cool thing.
[00:02:56] John Q: Southeast Neighbors board member Jess Roshak.
[00:02:59] Jess Roshak: We had asked Matt last meeting about the potential for a ballot measure and you were going to check to see what the city lawyer said about council putting middle housing as a ballot measure instead of a council vote. Was there any response?
[00:03:12] City Councilor Matt Keating: So I’ve mentioned that to (City) Manager (Sarah) Medary and I apologize for not having an answer on this evening’s call, but what I do when I do have an answer, um, I can either email you all through the Southeast neighbors email, I can alert Dennis or, or (Vice-Chair) Devon (Mann), but apologies for not getting that to you tonight.
[00:03:35] Dennis Hebert: You got something else Jess?
[00:03:36] Jess Roshak: Oh no, that’s fine. I just wanted to note that that might be time sensitive, so…
[00:03:40] City Councilor Matt Keating: Copy that. Copy that.
[00:03:42] Dennis Hebert: Okay Emily—
[00:03:43] City Councilor Matt Keating: Considering, considering here it is, it is time sensitive. Yes, it is time sensitive. Absolutely. Yes, yes, yes.
[00:03:51] John Q: Neighborhood Vice-Chair Devon Mann wanted to know more about the H.I.P. – the Housing Implementation Pipeline.
[00:03:57] Dennis Hebert: Devon, do you have something?
[00:03:58] Devon Mann: Well, it was just back to that HIP thing that I never heard of. And we met with Matt and we were talking about all kinds of stuff that related to housing, and he didn’t say anything about it, Dennis, when we were with him, and so that’s why, like right before the meeting, I call him on the phone. ‘What’s going on with this HIP thing and are you going to ever tell us about it? And when are you going to tell us about it?’ And he started out with, ‘Oh, I think I should bring in staff. We should do a town hall.’ And I was , ‘No, let’s not make it, again, this dog and pony show. Just tell me as a city councilor, what this is and how it came about and why it’s here.’ I would prefer him just to open up and tell us about this thing.
John Q: Southeast Neighbors press their City Councilor for straight talk and a heads up on housing issues.
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EDITED Feb. 27, 2022 – One speaker’s remarks edited at that speaker’s request.
Here is the quote for which we were asked to remove audio, which would allow attribution: ‘I know he has three jobs now, but, you know, he ran for city council and to us, that’s his most important job. So we need to keep his feet to the fire on that one. As far as being campaign manager and all that other stuff, well, that’s extracurricular activities as far as I’m concerned.’
March 9, 2022 – Update caption and Councilor Keating’s leadership title.