Editor’s note: Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon delivered his 2021 State of the City Address via online video – a first in Springfield’s history. Watch the full address at youtu.be/xDHcEopuJ2w.
The last year was significant not only for the local response to the pandemic and wildfires, but also for the many accomplishments that were still achieved in a year unlike any other.
Economic DevelopmentThe City has continued efforts to collaborate with agencies like the Tallwood Design Institute, with a focus on expanding industry access to research and development. We’re excited and hopeful for future announcements around an innovative new facility coming to the Gateway area with a focus on timber and other industry innovations.We have watched over the last year as many of our core industry manufacturers have continued to invest in their employees and the community. These investments will be the momentum we need as we continue to move forward.Springfield employers stepped up to pivot quickly to respond to the changing market, they came to meetings and took our calls to share their needs, concerns, and feedback early and often. They did all this while also prioritizing and implementing safety protocols to ensure the safety of their employees and their employees’ families. Springfield businesses pivoted quickly where needed while still maintaining the course toward a long-term recovery. For this, we will be forever grateful to them.The City collaborated with Pacific Source to support their expansion into their new Gateway area headquarters. Even though employees found themselves quickly in a work from home environment, the company maintained their investment and move into the building in preparation for a future return to the office. Once the home of Symantec, this site has been an ongoing Springfield priority investment in time, retention and recruitment efforts.The City worked to see Richardson Sports substantially expand at their current Gateway site and we couldn’t be more excited that their leadership valued the investment in our community enough to maintain pace over this last year.Kingsford completed a site expansion and improvement, which has been a welcomed and exciting addition to a facility that has remained active for decades. We’re honored that Kingsford Clorox continues to make investments in Springfield.Springfield companies leaned into supporting their community in 2020, upping their contributions to organizations like United Way of Lane County, collaborating with the City to modify services when fire danger was at unbelievable peaks, and maintaining open lines of communication to ensure feedback and needs were communicated in real time.
Springfield Public LibraryThe Library has been available by phone 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday since the physical building closed in March. On Mondays and Tuesdays, help in Spanish is available by phone. The Library staff fielded over 3,200 calls from July-December 2020.In June 2020, Library staff designed a curbside pick-up program that gives patrons access to the physical collection by placing items on hold via online or calling the Library. Once they receive notice, patrons can come to the Library parking lot from 1-3 p.m., Monday through Saturday and call up. Staff check out their books and run them down to the patron using COVID-19 safe protocols. The Library staff are also able to distribute make-and-take project kits, photocopies, yard signs and a variety of other things this way. Over 200 books are waiting to be pulled from the shelves each morning and on average 40-50 people come to pick-up books during curbside each day.In July 2020, the Library began open hours for computer appointments and printing. The Library opened two hours a day for six, 45-minute computer appointments and a computer available for printing each hour. “Please Bother Me” tech help started scheduling one-on-one appointments with patrons once a week during these open hours.The Get on Board grant-funded program pivoted to new initiatives.This program was originally designed to remove the transportation barrier of getting to the Library for families by providing them with bus passes. With the closing of Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Public Library’s physical locations, Library staff had to pivot the initiatives while honoring the intention of the grant. The Library used part of the MillsDavis Foundation grant to launch a community-wide Digital Library Card Drive. By promoting the Library as a 24-hour resource for digital content and creating incentives for new card sign-ups, Springfield Public Library created connections with new users and connected local families with much needed information and entertainment during this difficult period, as well as supporting at-home education. To support this digital initiative, Library staff reallocated a portion of grant funds to increase the Library’s eBook collections. More than 460 free books and Library information have been given out.Learn more about your Springfield Public Library at https://wheremindsgrow.org/home
Environmental Services Division, Development & Public WorksUpStream Art was held in September 2020, adding five new storm drain paintings next to Willamalane’s Adult Activity Center. There are now 26 storm drain paintings around Downtown Springfield! Learn more at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/clean-water-and-stormwater/upstream-art/Our popular Canines for Clean Water Calendar featured very good dogs from around Springfield. The calendar is filled with great tips on how to protect our waterways. Learn more at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/stormwater-management-and-clean-water-programs/canines-for-clean-water/Scouts Day at the Mill Race was held in 2020 to help remove invasive species and plant native plants along the Springfield Mill Race. Learn more at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/clean-water-and-stormwater/stream-team/Learn more about the division at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/environmental-services/
Community Development Division, Development & Public WorksProgress was made on the Virginia-Daisy Bikeway Project. Notable in 2020 was the completion of Phase 1A, which included grinding and overlaying existing asphalt roadway, constructing American with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps, sidewalks, driveways, a vegetated stormwater planter, raised crosswalks, stormwater facilities, speed cushion, landscaping, signage, medians, striping, and other associated features.Completion of School Connectivity Projects at G Street, 5th and M streets, and 21st and H streets. This effort included the installation of raised pedestrian crossings, pedestrian ramps, and flashing beacon pedestrian crossing. The City received a federal Community Development Block Grant for the crossing improvements to help ensure that pedestrians have a place to cross safely and have access within the public right-of-way that meets current ADA requirements.The City kicked off the Wetland & Riparian Inventories Project. Learn more at https://bit.ly/SpfldWetlands.City crews completed a maintenance hole repair project at 15 locations throughout the City.Learn more about the division at https://www.springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/development-enforcement/
Operations Division, Development & Public WorksCrews completed Cracking Sealing of several City streets, helping preserve the structural integrity of the roadways.B Street received a Thin-lift Overlay.Crews also continued the Leaf Pickup Program and performed Traffic Markings maintenance.Learn more about the division at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/infrastructure-operations-and-maintenance/
Springfield Police DepartmentThe Springfield Police Department (SPD) quickly adapted to COVID-19 related requirements and best practices while continuing to provide nearly the same service level to the community.SPD participated in the unified response to Holiday Farm Fire including Lane County area support and City evacuation planning preparations.Springfield Municipal Jail (SMJ) joined Oregon State Sheriff’s Association (OSSA) and has been incorporating OSSA standards. SMJ is currently the only municipal jail within OSSA.SPD monitored grant awards received in 2020, which totaled nearly $240,000. Grant awards include $120,000 grant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to support the body-worn camera implementation, nearly $80,000 from the DOJ Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program, which benefits multiple City departments, more than $18,000 from the DOJ Justice Assistance Grant to be used for CAHOOTS vehicle improvements, and $19,000 from Oregon Department of Transportation for traffic safety overtime efforts.SPD identified and implemented virtual training opportunities to support diversity related training topics throughout the department.Learn more about SPD at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/police-department/
Eugene Springfield FireAnnually, each fire engine in the department must make multiple trips to the logistics building at the 2nd and Chambers campus for a battery of apparatus and equipment tests including pump, hose, and ladder testing. In May 2020, the Eugene Springfield Fire Logistics Section completed construction of a fire engine drafting and testing tank that allows staff to perform these tests on the same day for a department savings of roughly $90,000 over 10 years, with the cost of the tank covered in the first year’s savings.Thanks to Springfield voters, the fire levy passed to maintain critical fire and life safety service levels in our community.Outside of pandemic and Holiday Farm Fire efforts, Eugene Springfield Fire achieved a vision to improve safety on waterways with the construction of a life jacket kiosk at Clearwater Park, a popular spot for those accessing recreational water sports. Fire’s Water Rescue unit collaborated with Willamalane, Cabela’s, and Lane Professional Firefighters Local 851 to install the kiosk. Its construction was made possible completely by private donations and corporate sponsorship. We believe that it is a simple but effective way to save lives.Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus or SCBA is used by firefighters to breathe clean air inside a burning structure or toxic environment. The current SCBA equipment used by Eugene Springfield Firefighters has reached the end of its useful service life. In a joint investment supporting the shared services of Eugene Springfield Fire, the cities of Springfield and Eugene will be allocating funds in Fiscal Year 2021 to procure a new SCBA platform for the department. This equipment will feature several upgrades that will bring the department into compliance with current industry standards.A new ambulance will be delivered to the Springfield fire fleet in June 2021 thanks to a collaboration with purchasing teams from both City of Springfield and City of Eugene, and the City of Eugene Public Works Fleet team. The purchasing process was approached with a holistic perspective that allowed Eugene Springfield Fire to consider all options available to make the most financially responsible decision.Eugene Springfield Fire was focused on providing more remote learning opportunities before COVID-19 impacted access to in-person trainings. All stations now have dedicated media centers that broadcast trainings and information 24/7. By eliminating the need to travel for classes, Eugene Springfield Fire expects to save $90,000 in fuel and travel costs as well as carbon emissions. The program will pay for itself in savings within the first six months of implementation. Access to remote learning also allows crews to stay in their response area, which increases response reliability to the community.Learn more about Eugene Springfield Fire at https://www.eugene-or.gov/120/Fire-and-Emergency-Medical-Services
Human ResourcesHuman Resources staff earned the League of Oregon Cities Silver Safety Award for the fifth consecutive year. This important recognition memorializes the City’s dedication to employee safety and injury prevention. The outcome of having a low injury rate also helps to control annual insurance rate cost increases.Staff implemented a replacement for the City’s aged and outdated online recruiting system. The new NEOGOV recruitment and application systems improves the process for applicants by allowing online notifications for new job postings, streamlines the hiring process, and adds new efficiencies for both advertisements and interview scheduling.The City has not had a benefit rate increase in seven years because of the City’s benefit plan design, fiscally responsible use of reserve budget dollars, and employee use of the onsite medical clinic.Human Resources staff, working with our insurance provider, delivered a no–cost organization-wide training titled “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Steps for Understanding and Respecting Diversity in OUR Workplace and Communities”.Human Resources staff 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.Human Resources started implementing a new Risk Management Information System. Once fully implemented, this will improve the efficiency of managing liability claims including workplace injuries. The system will help the City ensure compliance with required federal and state reporting and potentially increase the City’s ability to collect reimbursement related to damage of City-owned property.Learn more about Human Resources at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/human-resources/
FinanceThis past year, once again, the City received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This is the 39th consecutive year that the City has received this award and it is a testament to the quality of work and professionalism of our Finance staff.Learn more about Finance at http://www.springfield-or.gov/city/finance/
Information TechnologyInformation Technology (IT) staff deployed the tools for secure telework for nearly 145 employees within one week of the original City Hall closure. Since that time, IT has continually worked to enhance and expand this toolset for all employees who are continuing to work from home.A new backup appliance and methodology was deployed to protect all City systems. The new system provides the ability to recover data from any City system in minutes with data loss of no more than several hours. This has greatly enhanced the City’s security, allowing the ability to restore and deliver critical City systems to any location in a matter of minutes in the event of hardware failure, user error, or malware/ransomware attack.IT provided staff to support the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) from March through September. While supporting the EOC, staff automated the procurement and inventory management processes. They also configured Microsoft Teams for EOC workflows and trained EOC staff on the new technology.IT researched and helped implement a virtual meeting platform tool to support work from home and public meetings within a few weeks after Stay at Home orders were issued. This effort also guided the search for better, long-term solutions for public meetings.IT also performed an emergency upgrade of the OpsCenter system to support EOC to achieve better reporting and data sharing during emergencies such as the Holiday Fire and performed application upgrades to both PeopleSoft financial and Human Resource systems to protect against security threats.IT is currently migrating from the temporary GoToMeeting platform to longer-term solutions that leverage previous investments in Microsoft Office collaboration and telework solutions Not only do these solutions facilitate remote work, they provide strong productivity gains among City work groups and enhance system compatibility with regional partners such as the City of Eugene, Lane County and Lane Council of Governments.Learn more about Information Technology at