Council takes first steps towards electrifying Eugene

The Eugene City Council last Wednesday through two motions at a work session took initial steps towards banning new gas hookups and electrifying buildings in Eugene. The first motion proposed by Councilor Syrett and passed unanimously moves the City Manager to schedule a work sessions to discuss changes to the city code that would require all new residential, commercial, and industry buildings to be electric be electric by Jan. 1, 2023. The second motion, which passed by a vote of 6-2 and was also proposed by Syrett, moves staff to create a roadmap to equitably electrify all exist buildings in the City by 2045. Councilor Clark and Councilor Groves were in the dissent.

Aimée Okotie-Oyekan, the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Coordinator, said following the vote,“We are happy to see the City of Eugene begin to address climate change with the urgency it warrants. The sheer scope and exploitative origins of the climate crises require an intersectional approach; It is imperative that the ultimate outcome of the ensuing equitable building electrification conversations concurrently addresses housing insecurity, energy burden, economic disparities and public health ills by directing reparative investments in frontline communities.”

NW Natural showed that it will continue to grasp for straws to be able to pump its gas into more places in its statement after the vote. Saying that gas and electric are complementary and using a misleading claim of delivering “renewable molecules”.