June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Homeless advocate endorses Eliza Kashinsky and Lisa Warnes

3 min read
Matt Keating's four years on the council have not impressed me. Trying to come down on both sides of an issue is not leadership.

by Lynn Porter

I watched the March 29 Eugene City Club meeting on City Council Wards 1 and 2 candidates, and recommend that you do likewise to see what these people are like.

The Ward 1 candidates are Ethan Clevenger, Ted Coopman, and Eliza Kashinsky. The Ward 2 candidates are Matt Keating and Lisa Warnes.

I would pick Eliza Kashinsky and Lisa Warnes.

Ethan Clevenger is a downtown business person. He said he is endorsed by the Democratic party and the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber told the City Council they don’t want any more affordable housing downtown, only market rate rentals for people with money to spend. The Chamber has also opposed a downtown homeless shelter. He supports the $15 million bond issue to build a baseball stadium that the City Council put on the May ballot. Reasons enough not to vote for Clevenger.

Ted Coopman is a notorious local NIMBY, along with his pal Paul Conte. They have opposed ADUs (backyard cottages) and the City Council’s decision, prompted by state law, to go further than the state in rezoning Eugene for “middle housing” – small apartment buildings, etc. They kept it from going into effect until recently by appealing it. Coopman wants to keep his neighborhood as is. We can’t do that. People need places to live.

Ted told the club he’s against “dictates from Salem.” Those dictates are the only thing that forced the City Council to abolish single-family zoning. Coopman’s big deal is neighborhood associations, which are often opponents of homeless shelters and affordable housing. They typically represent middle-class homeowners, not renters and certainly not the homeless.

He said he supports the bond issue for a new baseball stadium, which is irresponsible.

Eliza Kashinsky is clearly brighter and more knowledgeable than her opponents. She’s a YIMBY, supporting affordable housing. Answering a question about city budget priorities, she talked about the need to make tough choices between things that would be “nice” and those that are essential. She said the baseball stadium is “not my priority.” Other than that, I could not get a clear idea of her budget priorities, just that she thinks we have tough choices ahead.

Matt Keating is chief of staff for state Sen. James Manning. His four years on the City Council have not impressed me. To be fair, he voted for middle housing rezoning and renter protections. He bragged to the City Club about supporting homeless safe sleep sites while voting for an ordinance to keep homeless people from camping in public places, like in front of the library. That is not homeless-friendly. Trying to come down on both sides of an issue is not leadership. He supports the baseball stadium bond issue. He did not answer the question about city budget priorities, just talked about how accessible he is.

Lisa Warnes is nowhere near as polished as Keating, seems unused to public speaking and using a mic. She opposed the baseball stadium and talked about not giving tax breaks to developers for market rate housing. I agree. They should be restricted to affordable housing. She said she has been knocking on doors in her ward and people say Keating has not been responsive to their concerns. I don’t think she’ll win, but I suggest voting for her to send a message to Keating.

Lynn Porter is actively working to create more survival shelter sites to serve the 4,493 persons reported as unhoused in Lane County during February 2024.

Images courtesy Eliza Kashinsky and Lisa Warnes campaign websites. Rio is part pit bull, Chihuahua, and corgi.

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