In the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a TV weatherman forced to relive the same day. Although perhaps remembered as a belly-laugh concept and romantic comedy, in fact, the film is a nihilist exploration about a stubborn inability to change, adopt, and move forward as Murray's character struggles to extract himself from the time-bending hamster wheel, even trying to kill himself repeatedly, only to be sent back to the beginning of the day to try again. It is only when he begins to accept his arrogance—and to play a role as a good citizen—that he is released from this curse.
Perhaps the Truth in Site Coalition should re-watch the film.
For the past two years, they have expressed their concerns that the proposed—and currently under construction—OSU-Cascades campus will bring unwanted traffic and noise. They have encouraged letter writing campaigns and, a year ago, appealed to Bend City Council to deny permits. That request was roundly rejected, a decision which Truth in Site appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals, which also rejected the claim. OSU-Cascades has since broken ground on the 10-acre location—no longer a "proposed site," but an actual under-construction site.
But, starting this week, Truth in Site Coalition began airing radio ads asking residents to take a survey indicating whether they agree with the campus' location.
What purpose can possibly be served by this survey? Truth in Site has already pursued this course of action, at a time long before ground was broken, and when that failed, appealed to review committees and courts; all which have rejected their claims.
Yes, it is important for a community to have an opportunity to vent its complaints and civilly present its side of the argument; that is an important part of the process, but another important part of the process is moving past square one and accepting a conclusion.
Also, this week, The Bulletin continued its crusade for affordable housing—perhaps the most pressing problem for Bend. We explored this problem in our issue last week and, while we agree with the editorial board at The Bulletin about the need for solutions, we believe that the affordable housing shortage needs systemic changes like re-evaluating the Urban Growth Boundary and density allowances. The Bulletin, however, continues to harp on the narrow idea that by both the City and Bend Park and Recreation District (BPRD) waiving system development charges (SDCs), they will provide enough incentive for developers to build sufficient affordable housing units.
In June, the BPRD Board rejected the idea, with the majority stating their belief that doing so would come at the cost of providing much needed services for low-income families, like maintaining and building parks—which provide free public spaces for low-income families—and also would deplete the $1 million-plus spent annually for needs-based assistance for recreational programs.
In its editorial on Saturday, The Bulletin quotes Jim Long, the City's affordable housing manager, who says that BPRD's refusal to waive SDCs won't kill the deal. But still, the editorial board goes on to explain that "if the park district's participation were able to add homes to the 100 the city's waiver is expected to produce, it would demonstrate the district recognizes it does not exist only at play time."
This statement is both indicative of how diminutive the proposed solution is and how little The Bulletin's thinks of BPRD's role in the city—as their "play time" is maintaining services for low-income families that maintain a quality of life that is part of the entire package of affordable housing.
We look forward to the civic discussion moving forward to more broad and far-reaching solutions to the City's housing issues.