Lyndsie Leech, 35

Application information

405 River Road
River Road Community Organization
Lived in Ward 7 for 1 year
Lived in Eugene for 12 years
Executive Director of WellMama

Occupational background: I have worked in Nonprofit management for over a decade in the Eugene Area, including with Food for Lane County, Looking Glass Community Services, HIV Alliance, and The Child Center. For the past two year, I have been the Executive Director of WellMama, a mental health support nonprofit based in Eugene. I have extensive education, training, and experience in project management, budgeting/fiscal oversight, community/public relations, and leadership. I am a strong advocate for helping our community obtain wellness through behavioral health and social supports. Having worked with and for the most vulnerable people in our community for so long, I know that livability and care for our residents is the utmost priority. I have devoted my career to ensuring that we can provide quality of life to our community, and I hope to continue that by stepping into the City Councilor role.
Educational background: I graduated High School from my hometown of Hemingford Nebraska. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology in 2010 from the University of Hawaii, Hilo. I received my Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2012 from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, where I also completed a Graduate level Development Project Management Certification. In 2020, I began a Graduate Certificate in Public Health from OSU. I became Certified by the Oregon Health Authority in 2022 as a Peer Support Specialist.
Prior governmental experience: In 2011, I obtained Security level Clearance with the United States Department of State to work in Belize in our US Consulate where I worked to help Visa applicants and in their fraud detection efforts. In 2012, I graduated with my Master’s in Public Administration where I took courses in public policy and local government ordinance. I worked with the City of Monterey, CA, in developing an AmeriCorps HUB. I moved to Eugene in January 2012 after living here briefly from 2009-2010 and falling in love with the area. Since then, I have devoted myself to community work rather than the governmental sector, believing that direct services were so greatly needed in Oregon. I feel confident that I can use my professional and personal experiences to present the real life challenges that we have as citizens of Ward 7 to the table at the City Council.
How would you describe Ward 7 in terms of physical, social and demographic characteristics? Physically, Ward 7 runs the length of River Rd from Santa Clara into the Whiteaker Neighborhood. While the bike path along the river provides quick and easy access within this area, some areas make biking more difficult. River Road traffic has grown and is noisy/disruptive. Decent sidewalk infrastructure makes walking possible in most areas.
Socially, the city as a whole including Ward 7, has been struggling to find good solutions to provide the houseless with shelter and quality services. Tensions can run high because the crime rate is higher than the rates in Eugene as a whole. There is a fair population that uses the bus routes and foot traffic is moderate between stops. The population of Ward 7 is mostly working class and with housing prices and rents skyrocketing, that is unlikely to change.
Ward 7 is approximately 75% white, though a thriving Latinx population is making a home here with upwards of 30% of students speaking Spanish in the school districts, and many students of all races learning Spanish in the robust immersion program in the public school system.
What are your unique qualification for representing Ward 7? I think my most unique qualification for representing Ward 7 is my compassion for the real working
people of Ward 7. I know how hard we are all working to maintain a good quality of life despite terrible inflation, insane housing costs, and stagnant wage increases. These people are truly resilient but deserve someone that can stand up for them. I want to be an advocate for the people and let their voices be heard.

What are the three most important issues facing the residents of Ward 7? The three most important issues facing the residents of Ward 7 are affordable housing, family-centered services and policies, and the public domain (transit, walkability, green spaces).

  1. Affordable housing must be at the forefront of our work. Every year more people move into the Eugene area and buy and rent homes than homes are built to accommodate them. It was estimated that 60 households would be displaced per year. Homes are being converted to vacation rentals and investment companies have bought up houses and made them unaffordable for many.
    Houselessness has increased and this strains our entire system. But this is not just a problem for our unhoused population, it is a problem for all working families that are struggling to afford housing.
  2. Family-centered services: families with children make up a large part of our population. Yet, not enough is done to help them succeed and raise a healthy generation. Quality affordable day-care and pre-school is hard to find and expensive. Policies around parental leave and workplace protections are lacking. Mental health of our children is getting significantly worse and not enough is being done about it – with the suicide rate of adolescents doubling in the past year, we must focus on the health and wellbeing of all, but particularly our families.
  3. Public Spaces – we must hear the voices of the people on transit options while doing what is best for the livability for everyone in the places we live, work, and play. If options are proposed, education and transparent information must be the core tenants of how we operate.

What do you see as the most pressing need for the Eugene community and what would be your top priority a a City Councilor? The most pressing needs surround treating all people with the dignity they deserve. Providing the houseless with more options, easy mental health care access for all who need it with policies that are protective of it, and supporting families.
Describe your experience working with a diversity of perspective and opinion.
As a leader in the nonprofit space, I interact daily with a diverse range of perspectives. I have had a great deal of training in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and I use that training everyday as I work with many people from different communities. I grew up in a very conservative area but have more moderate/liberal views, and have always been able to see things from both sides and communicate with respect. In general, I truly believe that we all are simply trying to live our lives to the best of our ability and allow our children to have a good life, and we may disagree on the best way to get there
but if we come from that place that we actually agree more than we disagree we can get to an understanding. We all have a background that lets us see things in different ways and we need to have a lot of different viewpoints at the table to be able to see the whole picture.
How would you work to effectively convey your viewpoint and make decisions as a City Councilor? Inherently, my role as Executive Director of a nonprofit and a range of other roles I’ve held in the past, has given me experience in public speaking with clarity on a range of topics. I am not afraid of advocating for others and am fully capably of disagreeing while remaining respectful of others.
Decisions must be made as a representative of the people, and not just from a personal viewpoint, knowing that not everyone is going to be 100% happy with the decision made but that it is the best course of action for the most people or for the greatest benefit overall.
Describe your experience in the formation or implementation of public policy and regulations. I do not have specific experience with the formation of public policy at the government level.
However, I have worked closely with many state and local agencies, including the Oregon Health Authority, Lane County, and our Care Coordinated Organizations (OHP), on contracts and services that affect thousands of individuals and their mental health. I have helped formulate policy and regulations at the executive leadership level for multiple nonprofits, working with Boards of Directors, executive committees, union representatives, and others.

Response on registration form

Reasons I would be a good choice as Ward 7 City Councilor

Hello!  I have submitted my application with the City to be the interim City Councilor for Ward 7.  I believe I am a good fit for this position because I am passionate about helping my community and being a true representative of the people.  I am the Executive Director of WellMama, a nonprofit here in Eugene that provides mental health support to families.  I work every day to support our community and I hope to be able to be an advocate for my neighbors and uplift the voices of our community.