While the city of Bend projects deficits of $21 million in their general fund over the next six years, they squander millions of dollars on Trojan Horses like their preposterous Urban Growth Expansion Plan (UGB) and the unmitigated disaster at Juniper Ridge (JR). Both of these projects contain tons of proverbial goose poop fresh from Drake Park, but the city says prepare to dig deeper because these Trojan Horses are mired in quicksand and will require additional millions of your money before they're finished.
TROJAN HORSE # 1: The UGBThe city of Bend submitted its ludicrous, half-finished 1,500-page proposal one year ago in a simulated 12K-gold-plated binder with brilliant color graphics believing that Oregon would be enamored with the cover and ignore the fine print. But low and behold, some bored bureaucrat at the Department of Land Conservation & Development (DLCD) smelled something "fowl" and opened the darned thing up for a peek. (Whew!)
When DLCD realized that the expansion plan was loaded with goose poop, they became very angry and used words like "fatal flaws" and others that cannot be repeated here to express their displeasure with Bend's grandiose scheme. One year later, they packaged Bend's expansion plan up in a bunch of garbage bags and remanded two and a half tons of proverbial goose poop back to Bend with a warning that this $4-million- boondoggle will not fly in Salem as geese do - not even close.
Then Bend screamed "FOWL!" The state does not understand the high quality of Drake Park geese, which are much different from your average goose in the Valley. When questions arose about numerous violations of code and state law in the ridiculous plan, the head goose keeper replied that state laws must be bad because they were not designed for the unique needs of Central Oregon. Maybe ODFW should net him and relocate this misguided bureaucrat to some swamp in Central Arkansas.
Now, the city's official "Goose Poop Council" threatens to appeal the defunct plan even though DLCD believes that future 20-year land needs can be accommodated within the existing UGB through efficient management with no expansion lands required at all! Doesn't this sound familiar (mobile home parks)? This mess proves beyond reasonable doubt that "birds of a feather flock together" at city hall, and taxpayers just don't matter. (BAT) What's another couple million down the chutes when they have already wasted twice that much on this Trojan Horse?
Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps; Bend is the city that never learns from its massive reservoir of ghastly and expensive mistakes.
TROJAN HORSE # 2: Juniper Ridge
The city of Bend has now experienced a decade of futility, frustration and absolute failure at their pet Trojan Horse, Juniper Ridge. They surely planned to argue their case for more time and leniency from ODOT on Facebook until they learned that the company was building a massive new facility in neighboring Crook County. Prineville got the gold, Facebook, while Bend got the shaft, Les Schwab. Funny how what goes around, comes around.
The city's deceptive practices at Juniper Ridge were noted by DLCD in their assessment of the preposterous expansion plan. The department essentially stated that Bend attempted to disguise $185 million in infrastructure costs under the entire UGB umbrella rather than admitting that massive, disproportionate amounts of money were secretly targeted for waste at Juniper Ridge. Critics claimed that JR was wrongly favored in the UGB plan, and the state heartily agreed. What's new? Moreover, the agency questioned the need for 225 acres in JR for a university, wisely noting that such an institution would likely be built elsewhere.
Estimates of taxpayer resources squandered at Juniper Ridge have been presented to the city council in amounts approaching $40 million, and that's just for major cost categories.
The city replies that taxpayer investments in this Trojan Horse are somehow justified after a decade of devastating failure and absolutely no benefit whatsoever (plus more congestion at Cooley Road & Hwy. 97) to Central Oregon. Go figure! Now, Redmond proposes a great plan to build roads for their new industrial park including better access to the airport. Snookered by Redmond again!
The Trojan Horse at JR was filled with promises of 12,000 new jobs (zero to date), a prestigious university (even worse), hi-tech manufacturers that never came and scientific research companies that never will. Meanwhile the city says, "Pony up for this horse," because it will be great someday.
Where have you gone Larry Patterson? A city turns its broken eyes to you, woo woo woo, etc. Maybe Bend should utilize JR to bury all Drake Park goose poop since prospective high-quality tenants avoid the place like a plague anyway.
Scott Siewert is a retired corporate human resources director and is active in the Hunnell Neighborhood Association. He lives in Bend.