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Mayor Lauren McLean lays out vision for success in 'wildly improbable' Boise

Lauren McLean State of the City
City of Boise
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean delivered her fifth State of the City address on Thursday at JUMP in downtown Boise.

In her first state of the city address of her second term as mayor, Lauren McLean cited a New York Times article from 1989, which refers to Boise as "mildly improbable," a densely treed city isolated in the high mountain desert. McLean, herself, prefers to think of it as "wildly improbable."

She told the crowd gathered at JUMP in downtown Boise that the collaborative spirit required to establish the city can be applied to some of its main challenges of today, like housing.

She announced $7.5 million to launch a fund with the Idaho Community Foundation focused on “supportive housing,” an approach to ending homelessness that pairs a place to live with other services like mental health care and substance use treatment.

“It’s a proven model," she said, "one that provides a real path into the future for our most vulnerable residents. Because in a city for everyone, everyone is valuable, and we don’t give up on people.”

Though McLean celebrated partnerships with local businesses, including a number that have signaled support to match city dollars spent on the Supportive Housing Investment Fund, she said the city’s progress on housing comes despite the state legislature’s attempts to thwart it.

"We've kept people housed, provided emergency services needed in the moment, dreamed up creative solutions, even as our state government seeks to roadblock or undo their hard work," she said.

Lawmakers this year passed a bill undoing Boise renter protections.

McLean also touted attracting a federal CHIPS and Sciences Act investment for a new Micron semiconductor factory.

“Our team worked with the state, the region, businesses, labor unions, and others to make sure Boise's residents had the opportunity that would come with winning this expansion," she said.

Efforts to make Boise more livable support those business goals, McLean said, highlighting policies making it easier to open childcare centers and progress on access to open space.

More than 160,000 city residents — about 65% of the population — are now within a 10-minute walk of a park or open space, she said, building toward her goal of ensuring every Boisean can reach a park in that distance.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on X @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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