Two days before hearing the budget proposal, the Eugene City Council is already hearing public comments about Greenhill. On April 24:
[00:00:09] Stefan Strek: My name is Stefan Strek and I have some concerns I’d like to share with people that might not know. Something really, truly horrible is happening in our community. Apparently in the upcoming budget, Greenhill is losing some of their city funding, and I am sure I’m not the only person that’s bothered by this.
[00:00:32] There’s a lot of people in this city that really care about animals, and I know that Greenhill does some really, truly amazing things.
[00:00:41] It’s really easy to forget how important some of these places can be that are harder to access. Greenhill’s a bit out of the way, and I’d like it to be increased in the budget so Greenhill can have a satellite center closer to downtown.
[00:01:00] It’s easy to forget that hurt people hurt people, and I think we’ve all been hurting a lot in the past few years. It’s in the Geneva Convention, that past 15 days of isolation is defined as torture. I mean that, that’s a war definition. In the past few years, I know that there’s quite a few people that have exceeded 15 days of isolation on their own, and we’ve all got a lot of healing to do.
[00:01:27] And I know that Greenhill is a really important asset that can help everyone in this community in one way or another, and the people that we all care about, the people most at risk to heal for the future and really be an example for other communities. Please consider increasing Greenhill’s budget, not decreasing it.
[00:01:50] Vanessa Ringgold: My name is Vanessa Ringgold from Ward 6, and I’m here to also speak on behalf of Greenhill and the animal welfare services of Eugene, specifically the reduction in the budget in the upcoming biennial.
[00:02:03] To give you some context, I’ve been in cat rescue for about the last year and a half, and in that time I have primarily worked in what’s called ‘Trap-Neuter-Return,’ which spays and neuters unownable cats in the community, as well as fostering 26 kittens, 21 of which have been adopted out by Greenhill.
[00:02:20] So in the current budget, over 58% of the budget will be reduced and a full-time animal welfare position will be eliminated, and this will leave two people to serve approximately 170,000 people in the City of Eugene. Also the animal sheltering contract will be cut by half.
[00:02:36] I have a very good working relationship with Greenhill and I see a lot of inside information and the people there are incredibly dedicated to the welfare of their animals that they serve and are understaffed, underfunded, and can’t serve nearly the number of animals and people that are needed by Greenhill.
[00:02:53] The animal welfare officer is one of the few people that are actually able to investigate animal abuse and neglect, including situations like hoarding and which leads to situations like recently where 19 cats were abandoned at Greenhill. In fact, as cited in page 64 of the biennial proposed budget:
[00:03:12] ‘With the reduction of the Animal Sheltering and Adopting Service contract, some related service levels may be reduced or eliminated. This may include reducing the number of animals that can be sheltered on behalf of the City of Eugene, limiting the amount of veterinary care provided, reducing certain spay and neuter services, and reducing other current contracted services. As a result, local animal rescue organizations may see an increase in demand.’
[00:03:32] So instead of the City of Eugene taking care of the animals and its citizens, it’s expecting more private citizens to cover the City of Eugene’s loss. Fortunately, Council Ordinance 20616, which is the payroll tax, specifically cites animal welfare as being a beneficiary of this tax and I’m hoping Eugene will see fit to fund and increase the budget.
[00:03:57] John Q: Residents ask that the city expand animal services by adding a downtown satellite center and increasing funding as allowed by the payroll tax. The city manager will present the proposed budget this Wednesday, April 26, at 5:30 p.m.