The race for open Bend City Council positions in the November election just got more interesting.
Bend developer, downtown building owner and Bend Planning Commission Chair Doug Knight announced today he will terminate a campaign against current councilor Kathie Eckman and instead run for the position currently held by Jeff Eager.
Eager has said he will not run for another term.
The change means Knight will now run against Pisano’s pizza owner and former Deschutes County Commission hopeful Ed Barbeau, community association consultant Edward McCoy and Bend resident Charles Baer.
Knight said he made the switch because he does not believe those candidates are qualified to serve on the City Council.
“I felt like if any of the three were to be elected that would not be best for Bend,” said Knight, who has lived in Bend for 17 years after moving from the Bay Area.
Of those three candidates, Knight singled out Barbeau as the strongest, but said Barbeau lacked the governmental experience necessary to be a strong councilor.
“Nor has he really been exposed to the difference between a quasi-judicial matter and a legislative matter and I’m not really sure he knows the difference,” said Knight.
Barbeau said Knight’s perspective gives him a “reason to run hard.”
“I think what’s happening here is that we have candidates here who have been on some of the governmental affairs boards and…that makes them qualified in their own minds to run the government,” said Barbeau.
Barbeau sited his experience as a successful small business owner and a citizen who has been paying attention to Bend politics as qualifications for serving on the council.
Barbeau speculated that Knight withdrew his bid against Eckman because he could not win an election against her. Eckman has served on the Bend City Council at different times since the early 90s.
“Is Doug Knight afraid of Kathie Eckman?” said Barbeau.
Knight said he respects Eckman and believes her experience on the council would continue to serve Bend well.
Both men are opposed to the Bridge Creek Surface Water Improvement Project. Knight, who has been associated with progressive politics, voted against a recent version of the city’s Water Public Facilities Plan as a member of the Bend Planning Commission because of the inclusion of the SWIP in that plan.
“I still firmly believe that it's a project that is an unnecessary project for the city of Bend,” said Knight.
Barbeau, a Republican, said he was instrumental in bringing tea party supporters together with environmentalists to oppose the project.
He said he relishes the opportunity to run against Knight.
“I’ll be happy to campaign against Doug Knight,” he said. “I’m not afraid of Doug Knight.”
Knight, who owns the Deschutes Brewery building downtown and is also a civil engineer, said he hopes to distinguish himself through his decision not to accept money from any political action committees and his prior service to governmental boards in the area including the Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commission.
Candidates may file to run for the available positions through the end of August.
Here’s how the race is shaping up so far:
Position 1 – (Currently held by Tom Greene)
Position 2 – (currently held by Jeff Eager)
Position 3 – (currently held by Kathie Eckman)
Ron (Rondo) Boozell
Position 4 – (currently held by Jim Clinton)