After fatal traffic stop shooting, Springfield agrees to pay $4.55M, review police use of force

Stacy Kenny
Stacy Kenny

UPDATE 12/28/2020: Added links to recent Washington Post podcast and Atlantic story.

UPDATE 10/17/2020: Added information from Washington Post story about police shootings involving people in the throes of a mental health crisis.

  • On March 31, 2019, during a traffic stop, Springfield police killed Stacy Kenny, a 33-year-old Springfield resident, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Court records show Kenny legally changed her name and gender in Lane County Court on September 20, 2018.
  • On April 16, 2019, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow ruled that a Springfield police officer was lawful in his use of force.
  • On July 15, 2020, lawyers for the family of Kenny announced that the city of Springfield had agreed to pay $4.55 million and to undertake police reforms.
  • Nationally, about a quarter of all fatal police shootings involved someone police said was in the throes of a mental health crisis.
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Black Unity activist struck by driver during Children’s March

Isiah Wagoner
Isiah Wagoner speaks to fellow protesters at the Federal Courthouse during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Eugene, Ore. Wednesday, June 3, 2020 (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard file)
  • Multiple eye-witnesses report that Isiah Wagoner, 29, a leader of the activist group Black Unity, was intentionally struck by Travis Paul Waleri, 34, driving a white Subaru during a Children’s March on Sunday, June 28, 2020.
  • Wagoner was taken to PeaceHealth Riverbend and later sent home to recover from injuries he sustained. Waleri was later detained by police as part of an investigation.
  • Black Unity held a march on Friday, July 3, 2020, to demand justice for member Wagoner. Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis denounced acts of violence.
  • BEST is looking into an increase in the “weaponization of vehicles.”
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2020 BEST Awards to Eugene transportation project, Downtown Springfield, and Springfield planner

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EUGENE, OR (June 24, 2020)—Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation recently presented awards to the Amazon Active Transportation Corridor, Downtown Springfield, and Springfield Transportation Planner Emma Newman.

Inspired by the Oscars and affectionately known as the “BESTies,” the annual BEST Awards recognize excellence in improving the quality of transportation in the Eugene-Springfield area and beyond.

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Eugene candidates offer views on making streets safer

EUGENE, OR (May 2, 2020) — Ten candidates running for city council and four for mayor offered their views on making streets safer in Eugene.

BEST invited all 20 candidates running in the May 19, 2020, Primary Election to respond to a transportation safety questionnaire. A local 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing all responses received as a public service to inform voters.

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Transportation Safety Questionnaire for City of Eugene Candidates

This transportation safety questionnaire was distributed to all City of Eugene candidates running for office in the May 2020 primary election. It was developed by BEST and community partners to assist candidates in informing voters on an important issue of community concern.

Responses from all candidates were accepted through Thursday, April 30. There are eight questions in four sections: About You, Goals, Actions, and Funding Priorities. All questions were optional.

As a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing the responses we received as a public service.

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Springfield candidates offer views on making streets safer

SPRINGFIELD, OR (April 28, 2020) — Four candidates running for city council and one for mayor offered their views on making streets safer in Springfield.

In early 2015 after a driver hit and killed three children at 54th and Main Streets, Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST) expanded its mission to include promoting safe streets for everyone, regardless of how each person chooses to get around.

Now BEST invited all eight candidates running in the May 19, 2020, Primary Election to respond to a questionnaire. A local 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing all responses received as a public service to inform voters.

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Transportation Safety Questionnaire for City of Springfield Candidates

This transportation safety questionnaire was distributed to all City of Springfield candidates running for office in the May 2020 primary election. It was developed by BEST and community partners to assist candidates in informing voters on an important issue of community concern.

Responses from all candidates were accepted through Monday, April 27. There are eight questions in four sections: About You, Goals, Actions, and Funding Priorities. All questions were optional.

As a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing the responses we received as a public service.

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Focus Groups: What Transportation Investments Should Our Community Be Making?

Efforts such as Transit Tomorrow, MovingAhead, the Main Street Safety Project / Main-McVay Transit Study, New Franklin Boulevard, the Franklin Boulevard Transformation, the River Road Corridor Study, and Beltline Improvement Plans are each separately asking how to invest public monies to improve transportation in particular ways or along particular corridors.

But it is critical to see the forest for the trees. Especially if funding is limited, what are the community’s top transportation investment priorities — if transportation is even a priority compared to other pressing issues such as public safety, housing, education, parks, etc.

To begin developing an answer, this past summer BEST held a series of informal focus groups with our partners and other community leaders.

Now BEST is reviewing and summarizing what we heard. Check back soon for our report on what is most important to the community, areas of agreement, and possible next steps.

Three local transportation efforts win “BESTie” awards, former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy honored

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EUGENE, OR (May 23, 2019)—Tuesday evening, Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation honored excellence improving the quality of transportation in our area.

The local nonprofit organization presented BEST Awards—affectionately known as “BESTies”—in three categories.

The award for transportation options went to PeaceHealth Rides, for safe streets to the Mill Race Path, and for walkable neighborhoods to Amazon Corner.

“Collaboration is the special sauce for getting things done,” advised keynote speaker Mia Birk. For 27 years, Birk was at the forefront of promoting healthier forms of transportation, including launching the nation’s first bike share system.

“We believe we are better when we speak and act together,” added BEST executive director Rob Zako. “BEST is pleased to honor three team efforts as some of the best in our community.”

But a surprise fourth award went to an individual. Former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was recognized for her lifetime of bold transportation leadership with the Ruth Bascom Award, named after another former mayor.

“I’m honored, but the real kudos go to the visionary folks who see transportation as key to a good life for us all,” Piercy said. “It’s one way we share community together.”

Launched a year ago, PeaceHealth Rides is a shared bicycle service. It won the award for achievement adding new or improving the availability, practicality or affordability of existing transportation options.

“It’s such an honor to be acknowledged for our work and partnership in the community,” said Lindsey Hayward, general manager of PeaceHealth Rides. “We’re grateful to all our wonderful members and encourage everyone to ride with us—to give bike share a try. The true winners of bike share are the riders getting exercise as they travel, the community experiencing less traffic congestion, and the environment having fewer carbon emissions.”

The system is managed by JUMP Bikes in partnership with the City of Eugene, University of Oregon and Lane Transit District, with support from the Oregon Department of Transportation and PeaceHealth.

Completed in January 2017, the Mill Race Path is a multi-use path from downtown Springfield to the Middle Fork Willamette running along the restored historic waterway. It won the award for achievement protecting lives on our streets, especially for more vulnerable users.

“Willamalane Park and Recreation District and its TEAM Springfield partners—City of Springfield, Springfield Utility Board, and Springfield Public Schools—are proud to receive this award,” said Eric Adams, Willamalane director of planning, parks and facilities. “It is a perfect example of what can be accomplished through effective community-focused collaboration, and wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support provided by the 2012 bond measure.”

Opened last November, Amazon Corner is a five-story, mixed-use, bicycle-friendly development on Hilyard Street in Eugene. It won the award for achievement designing or building complete neighborhoods where many basic services are within walking distance.

“We are honored to receive this award from BEST, who has been a supporter of the project from the beginning,” said Dan Straub, Tokatee Capital’s vice-president for property management and development. “We hope Amazon Corner can be a model for future walkable and alternative transportation neighborhood development.”

Rowell Brokaw designed and Essex General Construction built Amazon Corner for Tokatee Capital.

“The First Annual BEST Awards was a festive celebration of the years of work by local partners to make our community better; that is, with safe, healthy, convenient and affordable transportation options accessible from walkable neighborhoods,” said BEST president Mike Eyster. “It was BEST’s pleasure to highlight the excellent work of all the finalists.”

Also recognized for the transportation options award were finalists EmX West, Free Bikes 4 Kidz, New Franklin Boulevard, and #YesRideChoice.

Also recognized for the safe streets award were finalists Active Amazon Transportation Corridor Project, Sun Automotive, Lane County’s Transportation Safety Action Plan and Fatal Crash Investigation Team, and Eugene’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

Also recognized for the walkable neighborhoods award were finalists Blossom Cottages, LUCíA and Arcadia, and The Oaks at 14th.

Roughly 150 people joined in the awards dinner celebration at the Downtown Athletic Club. Attending were Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis and City Councilor Jennifer Yeh; Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch; State Representative Marty Wilde and former state legislators Phil Barnhart and Chris Edwards; Lane Transit District board members Don Nordin, Kate Reid, Joshua Skov, Caitlin Vargas and Carl Yeh, and former board member Gary Wildish; EWEB Commissioner Mindy Schlossberg; and Lane Community College board members Mike Eyster and Matt Keating.

Inspired by Hollywood’s Oscars, the second annual awards are planned for early 2020.

A local nonprofit founded in 2012, BEST brings people together to promote transportation options, safe streets, and walkable neighborhoods. It is led by 50 community leaders on its boards of directors and advisors.

Mia Birk appeared courtesy of LiveMove, the transportation and livability student group, and the Sustainable Cities Institute at the University of Oregon.

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