Erin Mendenhall

Erin Mendenhall
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What have you done that makes you qualified for Mayor of SLC

I’m on my second term of serving District 5 on the Salt Lake City Council. Prior to being on the council, I co-founded Breathe Utah, which to-date has educated tens of thousands of Utah’s schoolchildren on the quality of our air. I serve on two boards that allow me to interact with stakeholders from across the state – State Air Quality Board Chair and board member of the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

My service on the City Council includes:

  • Served as the Chair of SLC Council in 2018. 

  • Working in City Council to change the rules on “mother-in-law” housing to address the need for more 
affordable housing options in a city that’s already almost completely built out. I worked to take it to a 
city-wide application, thus ensuring geographic equity. This was a unanimous City Council vote. 

  • I helped champion the $21 million dollar affordable housing package through the Redevelopment 
Agency of Salt Lake City that has helped to bring more housing options to new developments 
throughout the city. 

  • I worked to create the city’s first women’s homeless shelter, The Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource 
Center, on 700 South. It will have 200 beds and provide assistance to help people transition into stable 
work and housing. 

  • I worked to fix our streets with an $87 million bond that was approved last fall, and today, work crews 
are on the job. The city has also raised revenue to double our maintenance crews, so we’re getting twice as many miles of road fixed each year. 

What do you plan to accomplish during your first 100 days in office?

In my first 100 days in office, I would:

Update the impact fee facility plan so growth can actually pay for growth. 

  • Reinvigorate basic city services such as bringing back the neighborhood cleanup program, taking a 
serious look at how we can best fix our infrastructure, and being creative when it comes to utilizing our 
alleyways - a unique asset to our neighborhoods. 

  • Further digital equity plan: The current administration and various community partners discussed an inclusionary 
plan to provide better, fair access to up-and-coming digital resources. I want to take it further, incorporating the digital inclusion plan as a part of the city’s master plan. We need to identify opportunities for access to broadband, devices, and digital literacy training and address those needs.
  • Continue the Inland Port lawsuit. 

How will you help get west-side residents more engaged in city planning and decision-making?

Right off the bat, there are very basic steps my administration would take to include west-siders in the conversation. We need to focus on digital equity; there is simply no excuse for the lack of parity when it comes to connectivity within this city. Across the globe, the process for making decisions is becoming more inclusive and dynamic; the way we make decisions in our own backyard should be no different.

The west side of Salt Lake City has challenges that are rooted in a history of industry, class segregation and, frankly, racism in the form of redlining policies that gratefully no longer exist, though the outcomes persist. Over the course of this campaign, I have heard time and time again that residents feel disconnected when they are forced to adhere to city schedules that don’t acknowledge the need for childcare and careers that aren’t molded to a 9-5 week. To get more voices at the decision-making table, we need to take a serious look at how we structure these conversations - and with that, how we better define placemaking in this city.

How will you address the city’s homelessness issues and the negative impacts on west-side neighborhoods, especially near North Temple and along the Jordan River?

Our neighborhoods outside the downtown core have seen a marked increase in homeless populations since Operation Rio Grande in 2017. Parks, alleys and other public spaces have become spaces for encampments and overnight shelter. Our new homeless resource centers will provide real shelter that is both safe and accessible. Our parks should be safe and welcoming spaces for all. Salt Lake City should explore a Park Ranger Pilot Program that would bring a consistent presence to major park and trail areas. This would connect people to services, enforce park rules, and help those in need.

Would you continue the city’s lawsuit on the inland port? Why or why not?

Yes, I intend to continue the city’s lawsuit as mayor. As a mother of three I will work every single day to build and wield our power to ensure the best possible outcomes for all residents of our city, for our lands and wildlife, and for the air our children breathe.