Johanis Tadeo focusing on serving ‘marginalized’ community. Kori Rodley touting broad experience, commitment to inclusion. Kris McAlister seeking ‘RELIEF’ for Springfield‘s most needy.
With 25 years of nonprofit management experience – plus roles on multiple boards and task forces as well as the budget committee for both the City of Springfield and Springfield Utility Board – Kori Rodley said that she has plenty of value to bring to the Springfield City Council.
“I loved it,” she said of her stints on boards and task forces. “I felt like I knew enough about what is going on and I had already felt like I was bringing a different perspective to budget chats with my background in equity and inclusion.”
Rodley is one of three candidates running for the Ward 3 position, which was held by Sheri Moore. Rodley is running against Kris McAlister and Johanis Tadeo.
Her platform is focusing on livable neighborhoods, affordable housing, infrastructure and small businesses – issues that have only intensified with COVID-19.
She said affordable housing would be the No. 1 challenge facing Springfield prior to COVID-19, as it’s impacting the graduation and population rate because residents can’t afford to live in Springfield. She also pointed to situations like the Patrician mobile home park, where seniors are afraid of being pushed out of homes.
She said that as Springfield continues to develop and grow, she wants to make sure it’s kept livable and safe, which is why infrastructure is a large focus as well.
She added that Downtown Springfield grew organically, but to push that development success to all of Springfield will require intentional work.
Her experiences on the budget committees gives her familiarity with the challenges, funding and maintenance that goes into both of those aspects, she said.
Rodley also wants to make Springfield as friendly as possible for women- and minority-owned businesses; she’s also quick to point out that the pandemic creates a need to prioritize business preservation and reinvesting in the economy.
“That’s part of it when we elect people, we do it in the moment and not really say, ‘Who are the best people to face whatever is to come?’” she said.
One of the things that Rodley would like to see as city councilor is a diversification in people’s interactions with the city.
She’s seen in her other experiences that the question posed is: What can we do to get people to sit at our table, instead of assessing if they even have tables for people to sit at.
“How do we change the system so people can participate in different ways? Does it have to be a committee? Are there other ways people can engage that is more culturally appropriate or changes things up a bit?” she explained.
From being a single parent trying to get through month-to-month to the work she’s done on equity and access boards to increase inclusivity and intersectionality, Rodley said what sets her apart from her opponents is her variety of experience.
“Not just for one community,” she clarified, “but how to include everyone and make sure no one gets left behind.”
Johanis Tadeo, who grew up in Springfield, said he has witnessed a lack of representation from various segments of Springfield’s community, including Latinx, immigrant, low-income, trailer park and marginalized residents. This is why he said it’s time to have a Springfield City Councilor who represents more of the community.
“My slogan is ‘Unifying Springfield.’ It’s time,” he said, later adding, “I’ve been waiting in Springfield for someone who not just looks like me, but is willing to hear me and work with me to address these issues.”
If elected, at 28, he would be Springfield’s youngest councilor and first Latinx councilor.
Although his platform includes public safety, infrastructure, affordable housing and expanding the economy, Tadeo said his top focus is increasing civic participation because it encompasses all of the other issues Springfield is facing.
“Without civic participation, residents feel unable to address their needs and concerns, especially Latinx and marginalized communities in our city,” he said. “In order to do the work we have to hear our residents.”
Tadeo has worked as a community organizer with Springfield residents for four years. He said it’s unfortunate there is a feeling of fear of the unknown and feeling as if concerns are not being heard.
He said he wants to build bridges between the community and the police; he said there are residents who are afraid to call the police for fear of being treated like perpetrators instead of victims.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community,” he said.
Issues like infrastructure and affordable housing are close to Tadeo’s heart, he said. He lived unhoused for a year, and understands the difficulty of it — especially as a person of color.
He has helped families during COVID-19 who were evicted, despite the moratorium placed on evictions, and fought to relocate them. He has been involved with legal aid to keep that from happening again.
He wants to create a transportation plan that includes safe roads and pathways. In high school, a friend of his was run over by two vehicles, and he said it’s important to hear from the community in terms of where to best place crosswalks.
Tadeo also wants to continue promoting new small businesses and stimulate the economy, especially for marginalized business owners.
Already, Tadeo has been working with the school district to ensure that all families were receiving lunches and computers.
He created his own food bank to help provide food for the elderly and Latinx populations who didn’t have that information. As a city councilor, Tadeo said that he can go a step further and do more.
“People want change,” he said. “People want to see direct change, because that’s the type of work I’ve been doing and people see I get results … That’s what I want to bring to council.”
A history of working with unhoused, displaced or laid-off members of the community makes him uniquely qualified for the Ward 3 seat, said Kris McAlister.
He said he wants to bring that experience to the council and help support and that population into the city’s decision making.
“How better to do that than be part of the system that makes ordinances and articulates policies, taking goals to the next level,” he asked.
He said he is interested in making change that sets the foundation for further growth and inclusion, which is why his platform is focused on RELIEF, which stands for reform, education, local-base, inclusion, engagement and future focus.
“All concepts go through that filter so we’re taking into consideration all the things we have to think about as we govern, through a people and system focus,” he explained, adding that he wants to support inclusion measures that engage with the whole community and make the council more accessible.
One example of that would be adding “inclusion days” where residents can have access to more resources in languages other than English and give English as second-language learners more time to meet with city staff to discuss their needs or specific issues.
McAlister also supports broadening the urban growth boundary to enfold more residents into Springfield.
Housing is the No. 1 concern for McAlister, who said that the city needs to build out its housing base because there is a lack of housing stock.
“We don’t have any low-income housing being replaced at a rate to keep up with demand,” he said.
He suggested looking at alternatives like The Commons on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Eugene, and utilizing both Springfield’s vocational training program and local products to help mitigate housing issues.
If elected, McAlister said he would take diverse perspectives into consideration. “I need to always challenge my thoughts and how I got to a certain decision,” he said.
“By listening and seeing what the community needs while checking it against my checklist: Does this help the community? Is this a proper reform? Is it going to relieve the people’s needs?”
McAlister has a wealth of expertise in engaging topics like homelessness and housing policies on a state, county and local level, and has been part of the Egan Warming Shelter and the Shelter Manager for the COVID-19 response shelter.
“I believe that Springfield has a chance to identify itself as independent and a team player as we move past this current situation,” he said, “and I really think that we need to look beyond what’s going on at the national front and really focus on what it means to be Springfield.”