Summer 2006. It seems like a lifetime ago now. The real estate market was hopping, people were moving here in droves, and it felt like we were the hottest little city in America. It was the perfect time for people to dream big about what this town could look like, the perfect time for a project like Bend 2030, which aimed to get those dreams down on paper. More than 50 meetings, six action planning teams and 93 strategies later, a group of community members came up with a “comprehensive vision statement” that outlined what they wanted for this city and an action plan for bringing the vision to life.
Then the bottom fell out of the economy and everything seemed to get real quiet on the Bend 2030 front.
But all that is about to change with Accelerate Bend, which is a campaign to freshen up the ideas in the old vision document and contribute “brilliant” new ones, said Marika Smiley, project manager of Accelerate Bend.
“We’re adding something new,” said Smiley, who is a halftime paid employee of Bend 2030, “so that it is kind of a living document, not just a closed up one.”
The Accelerate Bend project will kick off May 24 with an event at the Tower Theatre. Workshops will continue over the summer culminating in a celebration in September when the updated Bend 2030 document will be presented.
Organizers of Accelerate Bend said the campaign is well worth the time and roughly $25,000 price tag, which is covered by businesses and organizations in the area like BendBroadband, OSU-Cascades, the City of Bend and Central Oregon Community College.
“It gives the entire community an opportunity to weigh in on the future,” said Bruce Abernethy, COCC board of directors member, former Bend mayor and leader of the Safe, Healthy People focus area of the Bend 2030 plan. See our sidebar to learn about other focus areas of the plan and associated workshops.
The big idea behind Bend 2030 is that agencies and organizations in the community like the city of Bend, Bend Parks and Recreation District and nonprofits will look at the Bend 2030 vision and action items when setting their goals. Over time, the entire community becomes philosophically and strategically aligned allowing disparate organizations and institutions to coordinate their work, said Abernethy.
That plan is working, said Smiley, citing that 90 percent of the action items identified five years ago are underway or have been completed by groups in the Bend area. She added, though, that Bend 2030 organizers need to do a better job going forward of keeping the community informed as goals are met.
The Tower Theater event on May 24 will recap a number of those accomplishments, said Smiley. The event will also feature slideshows, presentations by community leaders and electronic polling of audience members, she said.
The event is free, but registrations are required. Go to www.towertheatre.org or www.bend2030.com to sign up.
Accelerate Bend Kick Off
Doors at 6:30pm, 7pm start, May 24
Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St.
Bend 2030 Focus Area Workshops
Safe, Healthy People—June 5
Vibrant Economy—June 7
Creative, Learning Culture—June 19
Quality Environment—June 21
Strong Community—June 26
Well-Planned City—June 28