Mayor Sean VanGordon’s 2022 State of the City Address
Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon is delivering his 2022 State of the City Address via video! Watch the full State of the City Address at https://youtu.be/7OCWVN-rVjs and learn how Springfield is building a community of opportunity.
You can also read a copy of the Mayor’s Address here in English y aquí en Español.
In 2021, we continued to face challenges as a community and a country. However, we showed up for each other. That’s what Springfield does. It’s our ability to look out for one another that leads to significant achievements. Watch Mayor VanGordon’s Address and read below for even more of the City’s accomplishments in 2021.
(Be sure to read to the end for highlights from our Team Springfield partners including Springfield Public Schools, Springfield Utility Board, and Willamalane Park and Recreation District!)
- Our Economic Development team collaborated with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Centro Latino Americano to deliver much needed PPE to more than 600 Springfield businesses. In total, we distributed more than 100,000 masks, nearly 275,000 gloves, and more than 750 gallons of sanitizer.
- Despite all the hardships of the past year, Springfield continues to grow. For example, in Downtown alone we saw more than a dozen new storefronts open.
- The Springfield Economic Development Agency (SEDA) released, for the first time ever, a formal Request for Qualified developers on riverfront acreage in Glenwood. This has been a project many years in the making with years of public input and engagement around the mixed-use vision. In December, the SEDA Board selected the combined development team of Edlen & Co. and deChase Miksis as a partner on the site.
- We launched our first-ever Economic Development dedicated website. This site serves as a place to learn about resources for growing businesses, who our amazing partners in economic development are, and the exciting projects to come. Check us out at BizSpringfieldOregon.com
- Under the leadership of SEDA Board Chair Marilee Woodrow, we entered an exciting partnership with long time community members from the Scherer family and Oregon-based developer, Northwest Sustainable Properties, to invest in a first of its kind in Springfield mixed use residential building in Downtown Springfield. The Blue McKenzie Building will construct an eight story, mixed use, market rate residential building in Downtown. It will break ground in 2022 and be completed in 2023.
Springfield Police Department
- Springfield Police Department (SPD) incorporated new technology to support our goals of accountability, transparency, and adherence to best practices. Examples include:
- Implementation of body-worn cameras and in-car video systems.
- Implementation of IA Pro professional standards software.
- SPD also enhanced communication and outreach efforts with our community, including:
- Creation of a Public Information Coordinator position.
- Focused effort on expanded use of multiple social media platforms to share the personal and professional side of SPD.
- Hired of a new Community Outreach Coordinator to further engage community organizations and community members.
- SPD is dedicated to expanding the community engagement and outreach to build trust and relationships with youth and minority communities.
- SPD coordinated with a third party to develop, conduct, and analyze results of a community survey. This survey will provide insight on community perceptions, which can inform our near and long-term public safety and service initiatives, as well as provide key information for new strategic planning efforts.
- We established an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) supporting officer and employee wellness.
- Data from the IA Pro professional standards software and community survey results will provide new and promising opportunities to inform our department and community, as well as direct future efforts in service, training, and outreach.
- Learn more about SPD at https://springfield-or.gov/city/police-department/
Springfield Public Library
- We remodeled, rearranged, and refreshed the Springfield Public Library to maximize the use of physical space and improve users’ experiences. The old, tiered, platforms in the preschool story time room were removed to create a multi-use programming space for all ages. The New Books section was moved to the heart of the Library where there is more space to browse and comfortable seating. All the old signage, posters and artwork were removed and assessed. With new signs, uncluttered walls and select art, the Library has a fresh new look and improved wayfinding for users.
- On July 5, we opened the Library doors for everyone to come browse, check out materials, use computers, ask questions, and get help from Library staff. In 2021, the Library had more than 2,000 computer sessions, checked out approximately 57,000 items, and welcomed about 90,000 people through our doors!
- The services we offered during the pandemic closure, which allowed people to use the Library without coming into the Library, helped those with transportation or mobility barriers greatly increase their Library access. Curbside pick-up, remote printing, online registration and Zoom appointments to get a Library card are now part of regular Library services. The Library’s online resources usage increased four-fold in 2021 and almost 89,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks checked out, a 28 percent increase over pre-pandemic circulation. Waiving overdue fees during closure increased access for our economically vulnerable users by giving them the grace period they need to return materials without having their cards blocked. Looking forward, Library staff are taking lessons from virtual programs to offer hybrid programs to allow the homebound, youth without transportation, and others to participate in Library activities without needing to be in the Library.
- With grant funding, Library staff was able to take the Library to the people with pop-up Library services at four key locations that serve LatinX and underserved populations.
- During the summer, the Library offered weekly family programming on the plaza featuring multi-cultural performers who had the audience singing, dancing, and laughing, all while learning about different cultures and building community.
- Local business is Library business. The Library’s Seasons of Light celebration, Downtown Scavenger Hunt, Día de los Niños, Summer Reading Challenge and Día de los Muertos events all incorporated our downtown businesses with art displays, walking tours, scavenger hunt clues, gift cards and donation boxes. As a vibrant, welcoming community resource, the Library brings people downtown and increases foot traffic for local businesses.
- Library staff applied for multiple grants and were awarded 11 different grants for a total of $191,491.
- Learn more about Springfield Public Library at https://wheremindsgrow.org/home
Springfield History Museum
- Our Springfield History Museum Committee created, approved, and implemented a new 5-year strategic plan.
- Springfield History Museum reopened its doors in July and remains open one day per week plus Art Walks.
- We continue to evaluate our exhibits to ensure representation of all cultures. We will start a translation project that will exhibit information in Spanish as well as English.
- We are working toward a membership program that will help support Museum initiatives. This will include a Friends of the Museum program as well as a Museum Explorers program for youth.
Community Development Division
- Our Capital Engineering team wrapped up design of the eight street preservation Bond Measure 20-296 projects and completed construction of five Bond Measure 20-296 projects. Bond Measure 20-296 is a five-year $10 million general obligation bond passed by Springfield voters in 2018 to repair specific streets throughout Springfield. In 2021, design work was completed for Centennial Boulevard from Aspen Street to Prescott Lane and the following streets were fixed using bond measure funds:
- Olympic Street – Mohawk Boulevard to 28th Street
- 42nd Street – Main Street to approx. International Paper
- Thurston Road – 58th Street to 69th Street
- Mohawk Boulevard – G Street to Hwy 126
- Highbanks Road/58th Street – 52nd Street to Thurston Road
- To date, seven streets have been repaired with portions of 14th Street and Commercial Avenue completed in 2019. Learn more at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/2018-go-bond-measure.
- The Community Services team digitized our business license application process in 2021, providing customers with the option to submit applications electronically from the City’s website. Additionally, we enhanced the online business license webpage by providing the option of printing and submitting requests for license modifications. Learn more at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/applications-licenses-and-permits/business-licensing/.
- Through the COVID-19 pandemic, our Development Center staff have continued to find innovative solutions to maintain continuity of service. In 2021 the Development Center was open to the community four days per week during normal business hours. The team identified needs for optimizing applications for digital submission and worked to create online forms and assist customers in transitioning to online business. Our staff were commitment to serving the community and responding to the robust increase in development under pandemic conditions.
- 2021 was a record setting year for development applications, higher than the pre-COVID year of 2019 – a record year for planning applications for at least the last 10 years. The number of applications submitted exceeded the 2019 submissions by 110 percent and exceeded the 2020 submissions by more than 135 percent.
- Our Building team continued to evolve and refine the hybrid approach to permitting, ensuring access to plan review and inspection services for all applicants, both in person and online. After five years of steady declines, the Building team processed 3,500 permits in 2021. Permits were issued for 214 new single-family dwellings. Building staff also completed about 500 plan reviews in 2021 as well as more than 9,900 inspections. This is nearly a 30 percent increase in inspections compared to 2020. Our Building team’s work represents more than $85 million in construction. The Community Development Division values investment in the Springfield community for the present and the future.
- Design and construction occurred for 11 Public Improvement Projects (PIPs), including multiple phases of Marcola Meadows. Public Improvement Projects are privately engineered developments that include construction of new public infrastructure, such as public streets, sidewalks, storm drainage, wastewater pipes, street lighting, and signage. Learn more at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/public-improvement-projects.
- Our Code Enforcement team continued refining workflows to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, procuring and implementing new technology, creating a new online submission form for complaints on the City’s website. Additionally, Code Enforcement Officers have on average been able to conduct a first inspection on complaints in less than four days, with a median response of two days.
- The City of Eugene joined us in submitting a request for federal funding to complete Phase 2 of the Franklin Boulevard Partnership project. In November, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the cities a $19 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant. We will continue to modernize Franklin Boulevard, reconstructing the Mississippi intersection as a roundabout and adding safe and usable walking and biking infrastructure and high-capacity transit improvements. This investment also supports key redevelopment plans for the Glenwood Riverfront District. Learn more about the Franklin Boulevard Partnership Project at http://newfranklinblvd.org/project-overview.
- Our Comprehensive Planning team made major progress on Springfield’s Development Code Update Project, completing work in both Phase 1 – Housing, and Phase 2 – Employment Lands. In 2021, we released a revised Draft Residential (Housing) Code Section for public review and input. This updated draft incorporates new rule language from the State of Oregon’s new housing related legislation, House Bill 2001 (HB 2001), which was passed in 2019. HB 2001 requires, among other things, that the City allow Middle Housing on residentially zoned lots and parcels that allow the development of single-family homes. Middle Housing is defined as duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes, and cottage clusters. The Draft Employment Lands Code Section was also made available in 2021. Community outreach for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project was conducted, with a virtual open house and community survey developed and promoted to Springfield community members. The purpose of the Development Code Update Project is to revise the Springfield Development Code to support efficient, timely, and clear development review. The project timeline is approximately 2018 to 2023. Learn more at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/springfield-development-code-update-project.
- We permitted 17 accessory dwelling units. An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a small, self-contained dwelling that is allowed in conjunction with an existing single-family dwelling. An ADU can be an apartment created within an existing home, an addition onto a home or above a garage, built as a freestanding cottage, or designed and constructed as part of a new housing development. In 2018, the Springfield City Council amended the Development Code to make it easier to build ADUs, as well as to allow ADUs in the area within the urban growth boundary that is outside city limits. Between July 2017 and June 30, 2022 (subject to annual review), the City is waiving transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater system development charges (SDCs) for newly permitted ADUs, reducing the cost of construction by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000. Since January 2018, a total of 37 ADUs have had building permits issued, many of which have completed construction, and an additional 20 ADUs have or are currently obtaining planning permits. Learn more at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/applications-licenses-and-permits/accessory-dwelling-units.
- Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-04 in 2020, directing state agencies to reduce climate pollution. In response, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) directed the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to draft updates to Oregon’s transportation and housing planning rules, and to convene a rulemaking advisory committee to help guide the work. This work is driven by transportation-related climate pollution increasing in Oregon, accounting for roughly 38% of Oregon’s climate pollution. Planning staff are participating on the Rulemaking Advisory Committee and have contributed to the draft rules being sent to the LCDC. Our staff and elected officials have brought Springfield’s perspective to the table and collaborated with other state and municipal agencies from across Oregon to keep the City perspective in front of rule writers and decision makers. We are also preparing to implement required changes in Springfield plans and the development code to meet pollution prevention goals. Learn more at https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/LAR/Pages/CFEC.aspx.
- The Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities Rulemaking effort includes a scenario planning component. As proposed in the draft Oregon administrative rules, Eugene-Springfield is scheduled to be the first metropolitan area (outside of Portland) to create a plan to meet climate pollution reduction targets. The plan will include land use and transportation measures that result in Comprehensive Plan and Development Code amendments.
- The City and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) released the Draft Facility Plan for the Main Street Safety Project. Heading into 2022, this Facility Plan will be reviewed in public hearings and will be considered for adoption later in the year. The Main Street Safety Project is an initiative to make Main Street safer for people walking, biking, driving, and taking transit. Springfield’s Main Street is consistently ranked as one of the most unsafe City streets in Oregon based on the severity and frequency of traffic crashes, and traffic is expected to increase by 20-30% over the next 20 years. We are acting now to save lives, reduce injuries, and lessen property damage due to crashes. The purpose of the Main Street Safety Project is to select infrastructure solutions that will make Main Street safer for people walking, biking, driving, and taking transit. The plan is necessary to secure state funding for safety improvements in this corridor. This will positively benefit the Springfield community for many years to come. Learn more at http://ourmainstreetspringfield.org/main-street-safety-project.
- The Oregon Legislature decided to make certain American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars available to its members for investments in their local districts. Representative John Lively funded $2 million for qualified projects in Springfield:
- Manufactured Home Park Preservation – $445,000
- Long Term Affordable Housing in Springfield – $620,000
- Springfield Essential Infrastructure Project – $185,000
- Broadband Micro-Carrier Hotel Fiber Expansion – $750,000
- Projects must be reviewed by Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for conformance with the ARPA requirements, and agreements memorialized between the City and the state prior to receiving funds. Most of these dollars will ‘pass through’ the City to the organizations who will develop and deliver the projects, with the City responsible for fund and project oversight.
- The Oregon Legislature again funded $3 million dollars to support a new non-profit mobile home park model development. These dollars had been previously allocated but were removed from the state budget in the early COVID-19 emergency response. We will pass these funds through to a qualified organization to support infrastructure, land acquisition, and other costs. We are currently working in partnership with St. Vincent DePaul to find land suitable for this project, and with the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department on gaining clarity for fund distribution.
- We are also working toward becoming Federally Certified to deliver capital projects on its own behalf. This will unencumber the City from reliance on third parties to build our infrastructure when federal funds are involved and benefit the entire community by increasing the money available to deliver these projects.
- Learn more about the Community Development Division at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/development-enforcement/
- A thin lift overlay project was completed on 31st and 33rd streets between Olympic Boulevard and Industrial Avenue. improving the condition of over two-lane miles of street. Our Operations Division staff identified these streets as needing resurfacing after recognizing a disparity of pavement maintenance on these unimproved streets in lower-income areas. This project was possible due to the additional staffing approved by Springfield City Council. The cost savings benefit of performing this thin lift overlay eliminates the need for annual pothole repair. Operations staff collaborated with Lane County Public Works to use their asphalt zipper machine to break up and grind the road surface and base. The broken-up asphalt was then graded to serve as the base for a new overlay of pavement. A typical thin lift overlay wouldn’t require grinding of the surface, but these streets were in such poor condition that this was the most cost-effective method of resurfacing. Our staff will continue to evaluate projects within all demographics to serve all community members with an equitable delivery of services.
- More than seven linear miles of streets were resurfaced with a slurry seal in several Springfield neighborhoods including the Gateway, Jasper Road, Hayden Bridge, and Thurston areas. This work extends the life of City streets and reduces future repair costs. Slurry sealing streets has less traffic impacts compared to repairing or rebuilding the pavement.
- Our crews completed crack sealing of 2.15 linear miles of neighborhood streets in the West Centennial area, helping preserve the structural integrity of the roadways. This work extends the life of City streets by four to 10 years and reduces future repair costs.
- Our traffic team engineers coordinated with ODOT staff to implement the state’s immediate safety upgrades on Main Street. This work is in addition to the existing Main Street Safety Project and will complement the overall draft Facility Plan once it moves forward. New pavement markings, signs, traffic signal upgrades, and the streetlights were added to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists and improve visibility for drivers. Signal upgrades included replacing controllers with a current model to provide better programming flexibility. A passive pedestrian detection system that adjusts the time provided for pedestrians to cross a crosswalk was added. Upgraded signal heads and new signal heads were added for additional traffic control related to pedestrians. The work was done through an emergency procurement process and an innovative contracting method. Throughout the work community members were informed about the difference between the overall Main Street Safety Project and the current immediate safety upgrades.
- Our Building maintenance staff updated and maintained Fire Station 4 by replacing rotted fascia and soffit material around the building. Staff installed new lap siding on the gable ends of the building. Once the work was completed the new wood surfaces were painted and new gutters were installed.
- Building maintenance staff also worked with a lighting contractor to upgrade lighting throughout City buildings. 109 new energy-efficient LED light fixtures were installed in the Library. Existing lighting was replaced with LED fixtures at fire stations 3, 4, 14, and 16.
- Operations is continuing with a wastewater hydraulic modeling project to determine where wastewater pipes need repairs or replacement. Fourteen flow monitor sensors were set up in a wastewater micro-basin between 32nd and 38th This project tests the flow of wastewater throughout the year to determine where inflow and infiltration occurs. Once testing is completed, a model will be created to aid in the selection of wastewater rehabilitation locations. Modeling created from data collected between 2020-2021 has identified two micro-basins that are proposed for future repair.
- Operations has made good progress in affirmative action hiring through the Bureau of Labor and Industry’s Apprenticeship program. We increased outreach efforts to women and minorities to improve the number of diverse candidates. Human Resources partnered with community groups to connect directly to potential applicants and reach underrepresented community members. Human Resources staff coordinated with WorkSource Lane to use computer testing and screen applicants to be more inclusive of applicant’s abilities. This computer testing ensures that everyone can show their skills regardless of experience.
- Operations continues to develop and invest in field tools for staff to enter rehabilitation and maintenance activities. Upgraded GIS software allows staff to map out current infrastructure and record what projects have been completed. With these newly developed tools, staff completed work on assets, which helps with planning and maintenance priorities.
- A new Gradall, used for ditching on unimproved streets and other maintenance projects was purchased. The new equipment replaced a 1991 Gradall that was becoming cost-prohibitive to operate due to its age and obsolete parts. The new Gradall has an automatic transmission which allows all staff with a commercial driver’s license to operate the new equipment since only a limited number of staff had a CDL for manual transmission vehicles. This new piece of equipment is also more efficient and cleaner for the environment.
- Operations activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for COVID-19 response on March 16, 2020 and maintained daily operation through June 30, 2021. The EOC was also used to support the City’s response to the Holiday Farm Fire from September 8 through October 2, 2020. Following the response efforts for both EOC activations, some of the EOC staff also led the City’s efforts to recoup our eligible cost reimbursements through FEMA, the state, and Lane County.
- Emergency Management supported our Operations Division with enhancing the City’s capabilities for responding to potential flooding by increasing our stockpile of sandbags to more than 22,000 bags. In addition, Emergency Management is preparing additional staff training opportunities and working through the procurement process to purchase a stockpile of rapidly deployable/reusable temporary flood barriers called NOAQ Boxwall. These barriers can be used to protect large areas from river flooding and wherever we may need to block or divert flowing water such as a water main break is a street.
- Our Traffic staff worked on remediation of wire theft in a commercial subdivision off Olympic and 42nd Fixtures in this commercial zone were vandalized, lighting cabinets were damaged and electric wiring was stolen. The vandalized fixtures and cabinets have been replaced and repaired and the wires that were removed by theft were replaced to make the lighting functional again.
- Traveling the Rosa Parks Path got a lot brighter this year with newly refreshed lighting stretching from F Street to the Hayden Bridge Way roundabout. The path, located between Pioneer Parkway East and West, is used for commuting, accessing the EmX stations, and recreation. Some of the lights had become damaged due to vandalism and many of them no longer had their decorative globes. We worked with the lighting manufacturer and contractor to get every light operational and looking their best.
- Learn more about the Operations Division at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/infrastructure-operations-and-maintenance/
Eugene Springfield Fire
- Eugene Springfield Fire (ESF) staff provided COVID-19 vaccinations. This gave us the opportunity to meet our community where they are and provide quick and efficient distribution of lifesaving vaccines. This also created the opportunity to build on our relationship with community partners like the Lane County Health Authority, other regional fire service agencies, and local medical providers. We received doses of the vaccination early in the nationwide distribution process, which led to a high rate of vaccination for our agency. Overall, 1,913 people received one or more vaccine doses from ESF personnel at the Emergency Services Training Center. ESF entered into an agreement with the University of Oregon, Bethel School District, and Lane County Public Health. ESF personnel participated as strike teams of vaccinators and did vaccine mixing and medical monitoring at many of the mass vaccination clinics in the county. This was a unique opportunity to serve the community using EMS personnel in a non-traditional role.
- ESF participated and collaborated with regional, state, and federal law enforcement partners to make the US Olympic Trials a successful and safe event.
- Our community has asked us to find opportunities to decrease our carbon footprint. The Logistics Division of ESF acquired and upfitted a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Van. This van allows Logistics personnel to deploy remotely to test Air Purifying Respirators (APRs), N95 masks, and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBAs). This means that crews will stay in their service area while equipment is being fit tested and repaired or replaced on-site at the stations. This reduces our department’s carbon footprint as our crews will be able to stay at their station instead of traveling to Logistics with response apparatus. The van is outfitted with an inverter to make the van self-sustaining on its own power supply or it can use shore power while at the stations.
- ESF’s Young Women’s Fire Camp is a 2021 Community Equity and Inclusion Award winner. This award recognizes communities for organizational achievements in building or celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. While the main goal of the Young Women’s Fire Camp is to instill confidence and leadership skills in young women in our community, this award recognizes the inclusive environment the program creates. The camp uses hands-on activities to teach life skills such as team building, communication, and problem-solving. Activities include extinguishing live fires, learning emergency medical service skills, rappelling, self-defense, and vehicle extrication. Participants also engage in conversations about peer pressure, societal pressures, self-image, and general mental health and wellbeing. The camp celebrated its 10th year in 2021 and it continues to be a free program for all participants.
- ESF received $790,000 in CARES Act funding, which not only helped to ease the burden of COVID-19 pandemic challenges but created opportunities for the agency to improve emergency medical services. In preparation for a surge of COVID-19 patients, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Health Security Preparedness and Response Program (HSPR) gave ESF a grant for $55,000 dollars to purchase two gurneys and three additional seven-year warranties on the equipment. The third gurney was paid for with CARES Act or COVID relief money. We can now support a surge of calls using additional gurneys that can be placed into service if necessary. We are also able to use the gurneys if one of our regular units is removed from service for maintenance. This was a huge help to the organization and an asset that has been added to the region if any of our neighboring departments need a replacement gurney. When a gurney is out of service, it takes an entire medic unit offline as a resource. The HSPR program also gave us $25,000 to purchase Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect medic units. These sprayers were placed at each of the hospitals in Lane County for all EMS Agencies to use. The resources we acquired with government funding benefited regional EMS provider agencies as well. We were able to continue outfitting all medic units with video laryngoscopy. The first units were placed in service last year on all frontline apparatus and this year, with thanks to the CARES funding, we were able to complete this project. Now, all 19 medic units, both frontline and reserve, and training are outfitted with Glidescope Go video laryngoscope devices.
- Our ESF Haz-mat team participated in an exercise with PeaceHealth on the movement of an unknown infectious disease patient in May of 2021. This project was funded by a $25,000 grant to refurbish the old isolette, purchase a new isolette and five new personal protective suits. It also paid for a training and a functional exercise with the hospital on moving a simulated patient with an unknown hemorrhagic fever.
- To make fire safety educational resources more accessible to the community and to limit the spread of COVID-19, ESF developed a virtual Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week has been sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association since 1922 and focuses on fire awareness, safety, and prevention education. It is held each year during the week of October 9th in honor of the Great Chicago Fire. This year, instead of visiting all second-grade classrooms in our community, we sent example lessons plans and online resources directly to local school districts and made this information available on our website for at-home educators and caregivers. Eugene Springfield Fire’s virtual Fire Prevention Week included educational videos and materials covering topics like the sounds of fire safety, personal protective equipment used by firefighters, a firetruck tour, when and how to call 9-1-1, and more. There was engaging activities like home fire safety planning, music videos, coloring and activity sheets, and story-time with Fire Chief Chris Heppel.
- Our Technology Services Team of ESF worked on several software implementations. These implementations required strategic planning, training staff on new platforms and procedures, and limiting the amount of time the programs were down for upgrades or transitions.
- Our Technology Services Team also supported technology upgrades that included:
- Replacing Panasonic Thoughtbooks with iPads. The iPads are a more cost effective alternative and compatible with programs the department uses.
- Adding “Training Towers” to every station. “Training Towers” are TV stands that include a computer and webcam, which allows staff working in stations to attend trainings remotely. This has presented a cost savings and lowered ESF’s carbon footprint by not requiring every training to be in-person.
- Other projects of note include supporting the implementation of medical dispensing software and hardware, upgrade of CAD Drawing software, and migration of FARO and POSI Check systems to a server for more reliability.
- Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs) are used to breathe clean air inside an Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) environment such as a burning structure. SCBAs are critical safety equipment for firefighters. Springfield contributed more than $572,000 toward the overall $1.9 million approximate cost of replacing SCBA equipment that had reached the end of its service life. Our Logistics section was able to completely remove and replace the SCBAs on every frontline apparatus in Eugene and Springfield in one day.
- The technology upgrades and implementations completed in 2021 will allow ESF to collect and analyze more accurate data. This will result in more efficient services to the community by applying data-driven decision making to policies and procedures. These improvements and the addition of a Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement position funded by the City of Eugene will help guide best practices for the agency.
Finance & Courts:
- Once again, we received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This is the 40thconsecutive year that we have received this award and it is a testament to the quality of work and professionalism of our Finance staff.
- Financed managed the reimbursement, reporting, and audit of $2.4 million dollars of federal CARES Act dollars related to Coronavirus relief funds which spanned two fiscal years.
- Finance implemented software to manage City debt, leases, and reporting.
- Springfield Municipal Court has refined the docket process so that attorneys and community members can readily know when certain court appearances are held. Eliminating time that was previously being spent going back and forth for scheduling between the court and attorneys. The newer docket structure allows attorneys to know when they can expect their cases to be set for next appearances.
- We continue to offer access to justice through our hybrid justice model, providing an open and accessible forum to address traffic, criminal, and civil matters. This hybrid service delivery includes phone, written, and video appearances.
- Courts continued to have a positive initiative to disposition ratio that exceeds the average initiative to disposition ratio in the state.
- Email has become one of the main ways defendants and attorneys reach out to Court staff in 2021. The Court has improved response times for email correspondence with many responses being sent back out within one business day.
- The Court now uses a bulletin board in the lobby where staff can post helpful information and resources for the community.
- We expanded use of our automated text notification system to automatically send reminders for upcoming court appearances, payment due dates, missed payments, and after failures to appear. Since January 2, 2021 the Court’s automated notification system has successfully delivered more than 9,400 notifications to defendants.
- Springfield Municipal Court has been active in the Crisis Center Project to assist with mental health needs of our underserved populations.
- Court staff also completed trainings on active violence, security awareness, and communication. These trainings have given staff tools to help keep themselves and everyone in the Court safe, along with tools to help them communicate during stressful situations, conflicts, and when interacting with difficult individuals.
- We will continue assessing the community’s access to justice needs and address dockets to ensure the community has ample and open access to the Court.
- Court staff is also continuing to assess how they can offer additional treatment, mental health, and other services to reduce recidivism rates in our City.
- Learn more about the Finance Department and Springfield Municipal Courts at https://springfield-or.gov/city/finance/
- Our Human Resources Department received funding approval to outsource pre-employment background checks. Human Resources completed a review of potential vendors and implemented a contract agreement with Verified First the new Vendor in November of 2021.
- Our claim costs have not increased in eight years because of the City’s benefit plan design, fiscally responsible use of reserve budget dollars, and employee use of the onsite medical clinic.
- Work is ongoing to facilitate the executive Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) team’s work in identifying, ranking, prioritizing, and mitigating citywide risks. This work supports the executive strategic planning effort by allowing executives to compare widely different risks from all departments. Additionally, the development of the new Risk Management Information System (RMIS) is nearly complete. The go-live pilot working with the Development and Public Works Operation Division is scheduled to start in 2022.
- City County Insurance Services (CIS), the City’s current workers’ compensation vendor, has transitioned away from workers’ compensation services, which required the City to change carriers to the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF). This transition occurred on schedule and will result in financial savings to the City.
- Human Resources completed a best practices policy review with CIS and is currently implementing the recommended changes.
- Human Resources coordinated four citywide trainings. Trainings included Due Process, Harassment Free Workplace, Leave Laws, and Oregon Ethics.
- Human Resources implemented new policies and procedures that not only ensured compliance with Federal and State requirements but also found solutions that allow ways for employees to continue to work and deliver City services. Staff also provided support measures for our first responders.
- Learn more about the Human Resources Department at https://springfield-or.gov/city/human-resources/
- Our Information Technology (IT) staff improved enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) application performance and reliability and provided functional improvements for geospatial/mobile applications that streamline information gathering and publishing. Improvements provide near-real-time condition reporting and video of subsurface facilities conditions as well as expand the GIS licensing to support field crews and public safety personnel.
- IT began implementation of a new managed service model to support central service applications such as financial and human resource systems. The new model addresses regulatory compliance, security patching and needs for specialized system expertise.
- The department modernized the City’s phone system with unified and mobile VoIP communication solutions that lower ongoing operational costs and increase flexibility to better serve operations across the City, for those working in the office and those teleworking.
- While completing the Office 365 migration, the Network Team implemented a new security solution to educate users, identify vulnerabilities, and leverage automated security awareness.
- Learn more about the Information Technology Department at https://springfield-or.gov/city/information-technology/
Environmental Services Division
- Our Industrial Pretreatment team, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission, awarded 12 permitted industries with a Certificate of Environmental Compliance Award for 2020. This prestigious award recognizes each industry’s hard work to achieve 100% compliance with their Wastewater Discharge Permit. Industrial users of the wastewater system, which are categorized as Significant Industrial Users (SIUs) are issued a Wastewater Discharge Permit from the City and are subject to local discharge limits for industry-specific pollutants of concern. These requirements protect Springfield’s wastewater collection system, the MWMC’s regional wastewater treatment plant, worker safety and health, and the environment. Of the 12 industries who received an Environmental Compliance Award for 2020, seven were recognized for earning annual compliance awards for 5+ and 10+ consecutive years:
- Farwest Steel Corporation: 5+ years
- International Paper Company: 10+ years
- PeaceHealth – RiverBend Sacred Heart Medical Center: 10+ years
- Rosboro Company, LLC: 5+ years
- Swanson Group MFG., LLC: 10+ years
- Turtle Mountain, LLC (Main Street): 5+ years
- Turtle Mountain, LLC (Shelley Street): 5+ years
- New this year, Springfield SIUs who have achieved 10+ years of consecutive compliance (International Paper Company, PeaceHealth – RiverBend Sacred Heart Medical Center, and Swanson Group MFG., LLC) received a trophy in addition to their annual certificate. This trophy is a small token of appreciation for their partnership with us over the past decade to prevent pollution from entering our wastewater system or waterways. Learn more about Springfield’s Industrial Pretreatment program at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/industrial-pretreatment.
- Our stormwater system is an important part of Springfield’s infrastructure because it prevents flooding, which protects our property, health, and safety. Since must of our stormwater facilities are underground, it’s easy to forget they’re functioning 24/7 and that anything left outside that the rain can wash away can flow into storm drains and out to the Willamette and McKenzie rivers. Common pollutants include oil leaks from automobiles, pesticides and chemicals that weren’t applied correctly, debris from construction or trees, and litter such as cigarette butts. Springfield’s stormwater education program is how we remind community members of stormwater and how to take care of it. Each of us has a part to play in keeping pollution out of our water supply, which contributes to clean and healthy landscapes, habitats, and water sources – today and for future generations.
- In September 2021, the 6th annual UpStream Art project commissioned five local artists to install murals at storm drains near Agnes Stewart Middle School and the Jasper Road Trailhead. Thirty-four artists entered the City’s Call to Artists with inspiring interpretations of the theme, “Keep it Clean, Drains to Stream.” Five winners were selected by a panel of judges who represent local artists, art educators, and art-related businesses. Each artist was paid for their completed mural, providing direct support to them, and they enjoyed the opportunity to use their talents to create a new Springfield attraction. Now, and for years to come, these locations will be a point of interest and stormwater education. UpStream Art will be back next year, in a different neighborhood. See them all in our Virtual Tour at bit.ly/upstreamtour
- Our Stormwater Team distributed the 10th edition of the Canines for Clean Water Calendar. The calendar features photos of 12 Springfield dogs at local water areas, plus tips for clean water. Canines for Clean Water reminds us to “scoop the poop” to stop the bacteria and diseases in pet waste from washing into storm drains and out to waterways. We handed out 4,000 copies of the calendar for free to Springfield residents, which invited community-wide support at our distribution locations: City offices, Willamalane locations, and a couple dozen Springfield pet-oriented businesses. By featuring our canine-loving community and the most common ways to prevent water pollution, the calendar helps us provide safe places for us and our pups to romp and play. Learn more at bit.ly/caninecal
- Utility Billing staff in the Environmental Services Division audited Stormwater tax-lots over an 18-month period, based on expansion or redevelopment of impervious surfaces. Using on aerial images and onsite inspections, stormwater charges were reassessed with appropriate and current billing charges to reflect the new/current impervious surfaces per tax-lot. The “growth” in construction, expansion, and redevelopment activity will likely offset a portion of the Stormwater billing user fees rates planned for July 1, 2022.
- Among the regional wastewater treatment system’s local assets is the Biocycle Farm, located near the Eugene airport. 400 acres of hybrid poplar trees soak up excess nitrogen and reduce pollutants from our recycled water and organic biosolids. After 12 years, these fast-growing trees have reached diameters of over 10 inches and lengths of over 60 feet, at which point they are harvested and replanted. The bulk of the poplar material is currently sold to the pulp market. We also pulled a small portion of the harvest aside to run a pilot project to produce locally milled, locally available boards from our locally grown poplar. Approximately 70-thousand board feet of poplar boards were milled up at Springfield’s Urban Lumber Company. Next year local builders, craftspeople, and DIYers will be able to buy some of our sustainable poplar at BRING Recycling. Durable lumber products sequester carbon, which reduces the amount of greenhouse gas we generate. The wood from hybrid poplar trees makes great trim and architectural finishes. We are excited to discover how the Biocycle Farm can add more value to the community.
- Learn more about the Environmental Services Division at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/environmental-services/
- Learn more about the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission at https://www.mwmcpartners.org/
Team Springfield Accomplishments
Last year our Team Springfield partners provided incredible service and support to the Springfield community. Here are just a few of their many highlights!
Springfield Public Schools
- Springfield Public Schools (SPS) returned nearly 10,000 Springfield students to in-person learning together for the first time in more than 20 months.
- SPS provided more than 1,000 students high-quality summer programming across eight district sites throughout the summer months, made possible through state funding to support student’s learning needs because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- A highlight of summer programming included enhanced partnerships with TEAM Springfield partner, Willamalane. Through intentional collaboration, Willamalane and SPS were able to offer nearly 800 scholarships to Willamalane summer camp programming. Additionally, more than 3,900 Springfield Public School students were afforded the opportunity to obtain the OnePass summer activities pass that provided access to safe and active summer activities.
- In July 2021, Springfield Schools welcomed Taylor Madden to the district team as the Equity and Inclusion Coordinator. This was a new role to the school district afforded by the intentional state investments of the Student Success Act. This role has already had a great impact on their system as a lead to ensure that they keep educational access, equity and belonging at the forefront of their decisions. Through his work, Taylor will be developing a district-wide Equity Advisory Committee to include stakeholders from across the district – students, staff, parents and community members who will help inform the district on the needs of students across their system.
- Expansion of covered outdoor learning and play areas at each of the District’s elementary school sites. Again, even during a global pandemic Springfield Schools was able to use state funding to enhance elementary schools by providing safe and dry outdoor learning spaces at all elementary schools. Rain here in Oregon is to be expected and now students will still be able to access the benefits of fresh air and expanded learning spaces through the construction of covered areas at each of the elementary schools that were still without them previously.
Springfield Utility Board
- SUB’s water department installed more than 10,000 feet of new and replacement water lines. This work protects the water that SUB sources and treats, and it ensures reliable delivery to homes and businesses throughout the community. SUB also commissioned a new pump station to support development in the South Hills area.
- SUB’s electric department installed nearly 300 new electric services in Springfield. This is a robust pace not seen since 2005. The department also made progress on a new substation planned for Glenwood, which will support the area’s development goals.
- SUB reconfigured its processes to ensure the safety of customers and staff by making services available to customers over the phone, online, through their drive up and via their newly installed Customer Service Window at the main office. Payment methods of all kinds can be accessed by residential customers without a fee, making services more accessible and convenient that ever.
- SUB continued its ongoing contributions to the Water and Energy Learning Lab (WELL), investing over $100,000 this year for training and equipping young water scientists. Over the years, SUB has contributed more than $2.5 million to this important effort.
- SUB continued to host COVID-safe community events, including their annual Customer Appreciation Week / Public Power Week celebration. The utility expanded the locations and hours so more customers could participate. SUB also supported many partner’s activities, including longtime events like the Haunted Hayride and the Springfield Christmas Parade and new initiatives, like the Springfield History Museum’s Illumination Exhibit, which highlights inclusive community stories.
Willamalane Park and Recreation District
- Natural Resources: Hikers and mountain bikers can expect some amazing new trails and views in 2022. Thanks to a $154,000 grant, the second phase of development at Thurston Hills Natural Area has already begun and will include an additional five miles of trail that will have segments for beginner, intermediate, and advanced mountain biking, as well as shared-use hiking trails that provide convenient, non-motorized access for the community. These trails are expected to open to the public in 2022. See a complete list of natural areas and amenities at willamalane.org/parks.
- Parks: In 2021, Willamalane’s Planning and Development team worked with the community to create Master Plans that envision the future of Georgia Pacific Natural Area, Willamalane Park, and a yet-to-be-named new neighborhood park at the Pierce property near Briggs Middle School. The resulting Master Plans will guide construction efforts of these parks in 2022 and beyond. In addition to these Master Plans, a new ADA Transition Plan was created in 2021. This document details the next 15 years of accessibility efforts in parks and facilities across the district. In the coming year, construction will begin on many of these projects. Find your new favorite park at willamalane.org/parks.
- Services: Older adults in our community find meaningful connection and wellness opportunities at Willamalane Adult Activity Center. So, when the adult activity center needed to shut down for the pandemic, the Services team adapted quickly, expanding services by adapting existing programs and creating new ones. One major innovation was a drive-thru Senior Meals program that has served 25,000 meals over the first year of the pandemic. In 2021, Willamalane worked with a group of partners to expand food access by creating an in-facility food pantry and 10 Little Free Pantries throughout Springfield. Willamalane Adult Activity Center is back open. See what adult services are on offer at willamalane.org/services.
- 1PASS: The 1PASS program is a family favorite for summer programs in the Springfield and Eugene area. With the 1PASS, kids can use a single pass to access more than 15 different recreation programs across Springfield and Eugene including swimming, bowling, trampolines, a museum, golf (miniature and standard), climbing, and a variety of other sports. With this program, kids stay active and busy all summer long. Thanks to amazing partners at Springfield Public Schools (SPS), and an allocation of grant money eligible for programs offering education, wellness, and healthy activities for students, all SPS students were eligible to receive a 1PASS, paid in full by SPS. Willamalane also received support from the Willamalane Park Foundation and International Paper to fund additional scholarships for children who lived within Willamalane’s district boundaries but were not active SPS students. Thanks to this support, more Springfield children than ever before received a 1PASS in 2021. While the numbers don’t tell the full story, here are some highlights that showcase just how much impact this program had in our community.
- Total passes sold: 4,585
- Number of times the passes were used across all destinations: 24,253
- Number of smiles from 1PASS kids in the summer of 2021: Countless
- Aquatics: The pools were deeply impacted by the pandemic shutdowns and needed to remain closed or on limited hours for much of 2020 and 2021. But when facilities reopened, Willamalane staff were able to try new things they’ve never done before. For example, they opened the sun deck at Splash! at Lively Park for use during recreation swims, parties, and other gatherings. The new space is great for brand-new programs like Dive-in Movies and the Haunted Lagoon, a Halloween event featuring 13,000 square feet of cobwebs, a witch’s cauldron spa, and pumpkins and treats galore. These, and other programs, are expected to continue in 2022.
- Fitness: Two new fitness facilities opened in 2021. First, the FitLot fitness park debuted with a grand opening celebration and several introductory classes. Located outside of Bob Keefer Center, the park was grant-funded by AARP to serve adults of all ages and abilities. Learn more at Willamalane.org/fitlot. Willamalane Park Swim Center also got a major upgrade with the addition of a new fitness center! With this new amenity, you can work out on a machine, take a dip in the pool, and relax in the spa — all in one visit.
- Childcare: It takes a village to raise a child, and Willamalane’s Early Childhood and Youth Program aims to be members of that village, providing supportive structure to help our community’s families thrive. This team offers preschools and parent-child classes for small kids, and as kids get older, they stay connected with before- and after-school programs, camps, and Summer Playground Program. Disruption in the 2020-21 school year posed another significant challenge for families, so the Early Childhood and Youth Program’s major goal was to provide continued support and care. Through a new school-day care program, Willamalane was able to provide 92 school-age kids with a safe place to learn and socialize while maintaining safe distance. Summer camps expanded in 2021 to five-day weeks, serving free lunch and activities to 250 children. As schools opened back up in fall of 2021, staffing shortages have limited the number of after-school care sites available — but we look forward to staffing more elementary schools as staff are brought on board. A big silver lining was the partnership between Springfield Public Schools and Willamalane. Thanks to grant funds acquired by SPS, kids in Springfield had access to 31 programs that were completely covered by SPS grant funds. Through this initiative, more than 750 kids had access to childcare, summer camps, and youth programs that provided education and fitness.
- DEI: Willamalane is committed to addressing and dismantling the systems of oppression that contribute to ongoing and continued acts of hate and trauma against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQIA+ people, women, and individuals experiencing visible and invisible disabilities in our community. With this commitment, Willamalane has established a permanent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. Their first order of business was creating a Strategic Action Plan, which was adopted by board resolution in 2021.The Strategic Action Plan establishes goals and objectives for 2021-2026. The first phase of the plan aims to increase staff awareness around DEI topics and update policy and procedures for inclusivity. Tasks for the next year include:
- Writing new policies to support mental health, gender affirmation, and family-friendly accommodations.
- Auditing job descriptions for accuracy and equity.
- Implementing unbiased interview and hiring processes.
- Conducting staff training on DEI concepts, customized by concept familiarity level and job functions.
- Holding ongoing staff informational opportunities like book clubs, guest speakers, and topical newsletters.
- By educating staff and updating policy, Willamalane will be better equipped to serve the needs of the community in the long-term. Information on Willamalane’s progress, and the Strategic Action Plan, is available at willamalane.org/DEI.