While an ice rink would be nice, what would be better is another swimming pool and exercise facility similar to the Juniper park facility for the west side of town. One swimming/exercise facility for a town this size is ridiculous and does nothing to help with the traffic flow. The Westside location has plenty of room and plenty of parking, easy ingress and egress. Ultimately, there should be similar facilities at the south end of Bend and on the east side. Let's grow with the population.
—Joselyn I Houk
Good to hear someone else recognizes that not everything about the new university is going to be wonderful. Our already abysmal rental situation will become even worse. Traffic getting to and around the West side is headed towards disaster without an expensive upgrade of the city's transportation infrastructure. A robust and reliable public transportation system is a critical part of the adaption to being a major university town. The problem is that a property tax to pay for it imposes the cost on all city's the property owners—which almost entirely leaves out those actually using the system the most (student renters) and the facility that makes this upgrade mandatory (the new university campus). This is yet another example of the costs of this shortsighted university location choice being pushed off onto the rest of the citizens of our community. Can anyone explain why the new university should not be sharing in paying for the requirements their facility is burdening us with? Anybody?
Mirror Pond, Tower Theatre sign, microbrew and friendly people define our wonderful city. The pond has been part of our community for over 100 years. Bend should keep the Pond an iconic part of our community.
These measures benefit our local community in many ways. For one, the extra funding raised by a small room tax increase help local tourist related industries, many of which are vital to the foundation of our community and commerce. The promotion dollars they will provide will help draw in more visitors to their cultural establishments and therefore our community and other local businesses. It allows them to better advertise all the fantastic things people can come here for—activities beyond mountain bikes and Mt. Bachelor. The art, history, culture, music, parks and events like BendFilm or Nature of Words. All can benefit from simply asking those who come here and enjoy our area, use our infrastructure and public services, to pay a few dollars more. Many local businesses thrive when tourism is up, then crash or cutback drastically when it falls off. Restaurants and hotels among them. Let's give them more breathing room by helping them reach out to a new customer base and draw more visitors year around, so maybe eventually there is no "tourist season" in Central Oregon, just booming business for all!
Second, a portion of the funds raised go towards police and fire services, an area we are already far too guilty of ignoring. We win as a community via better emergency services and this time it is not the Tax Payer footing the bill.
It is time to truly invest in everything our community offers and do more to spread the word and draw in more visitors. Bend and Central Oregon are reliant on tourism and we have to do more to reach tourists who may choose us as a destination. These measures are a way to do that and not hurt local taxpayers.
What's not to love?
Measure 9-94—the proposal to raise Bend's Transient Room Tax (TRT) rate from 9% to 10.4%—makes good economic sense for Bend.
Bend is fortunate to be a premier vacation destination, which gives us a tourism-based economy. Tourism is over a half-billion dollar enterprise in Bend, bringing much-needed revenue into the coffers of community members, small business owners, and public services. Tourist dollars feed every segment of Bend's economy, benefiting locals and visitors alike.
Smart cities invest in their strengths, and it's clear tourism is where Bend excels. By bringing the TRT rate closer to the industry standard set by competing cities (i.e. Boise at 13%, Boulder at 12.3%, Santa Barbara at 12%, Portland at 14.5%, Seattle at 15.8%, Sunriver Resort at 23%) Bend will create the revenue necessary to fund additional economic development, public safety, and a much-needed cultural tourism fund. As it stands now, having a tax rate below industry standards means we're leaving vital dollars on the table.
Amy Mentuck, Executive Director, The Nature of Words
Dear Erin Rook:
I enjoyed your commentary on the Bend Park Bond and want to say that Bend is a piece of ART that needs to be treated as such. The "Mirror Pond" is the first thing about Bend that comes up in a conversation about Bend. The statement that skaters enjoy the "magical feeling of gliding across the ice" can be compared to the magical feeling of canoeing or kayaking the length of Mirror Pond. My wife and I travel quite a bit and whenever Bend is mentioned across the States the first thing mentioned is how impressed they are with "Mirror Pond in Drake Park."
If possible you should print Allan Bruckner's article from yesterday's Sunday Bulletin in case some of your readers don't read it.
We love Bend even though we are now "Snow Birds."
—Ralph and Marguerite Hergenrader
Letter of the Week!
Thank you for your glowing words about Mirror Pond Ralph and Marguerite—and also for the concern that some of our readers may not be reading the Bulletin.
When you are back in town, stop by and pick up a $5 gift certificate for Crows' Feet Commons for winning the Letter of the Week.