I have lived in Eugene for 23 years and have come to love this very special place we call our community. I know that the success and livability of our community depends on having a long term vision, and having the courage and energy to keep moving forward in the face of daunting challenges.
My story is on one hand very different from many of the residents in Ward 2, but on the other hand exactly the same. I want my family to live and thrive in Eugene. I want my child to have every opportunity to succeed so she can choose to remain here after her education. I want my child and my family to feel safe and secure, to breathe clean air and drink clean water, and to know there is a promising future – a tomorrow that is better than today.
When I arrived in Eugene I had only what I could fit into a suitcase. With support and encouragement from many people who believed in me, and my talents and abilities, I was able to complete my education and graduate from LCC and the University of Oregon, pursue my career goals and raise a family. It was not easy at times, but by working for tomorrow, I succeeded. I know what it means to have a goal and work to achieve it.
After experiencing homelessness in Eugene, the generosity of this community enabled me not only to stand on my own two feet but also prepared me to give back. This is my motivation and a part of the reason I am running for a seat on the Eugene City Council.
During the years I have lived in Eugene, I have been involved in addressing the needs of low income families, assisting small businesses, educating and supporting new parents, working to ensure families have food and shelter, developing partnerships between environmental and social services agencies and leading a non-profit organization to better serve some of the community’s most vulnerable members.
I have a deep commitment to ensure that we have an adequate public safety system. For the past four years I have served on the Eugene Police Commission. As a commissioner my job is to advise the city council, the city manager and the chief of police on practices and policies from a community point of view. We need to have a police force that reflects the community’s values, diversity and respect for the civil rights of all. And, most importantly, I have been in the trenches. I have continued to be a strong advocate for adequate resources to provide safe and secure neighborhoods for all in Eugene.
In the past 18 months, I have been a part of the process and community discussions with city officials in the “Envision Eugene” project. I have gained a deep respect for growing our community in a way that respects the triple bottom line of environment, economy, and equity.
Many people have asked me why I devote so much time and energy to this community and why I seek an office that would demand even more of my time. I reply with two vivid memories that were defining moments for me and my desire to serve my community. The first was at the Eugene Saturday Market shortly after I arrived in Eugene. I saw people who valued the environment, who respected and welcomed the richness of a diverse community, and who connected with each other on a deep human to human level. It was at that time that I knew I was in the right community.
The second memory that compels me to civic duty and service to the community is a warm summer evening spent at Civic Stadium. A dear friend of many years named Sandra and her partner Judy invited me to experience a baseball game in that very special venue. Seeing the families and others gathered to share the great American pastime had a lasting impact on me and on what it means to be a contributing member of the community. By sharing our hopes, fears, dreams, and joys we can, together, make this the community we all want.
Juan Carlos Valle