Extending the Urban Growth Boundary costs taxpayers more than infill building. This is shown in a 2013 report, downloadable at www.friends.org/infrastructure. If the UGB is extended who wins? Developers and real estate agents. Who loses? Bend taxpayers.
I have taken photos of Airbnb visitors who are apparently drunk and climbing on the roof and chimney of my neighbor's house, which he has rented out almost every weekend of this summer. Loud, obnoxious and if they get drunk enough, I wonder who will absorb the liability? I haven't shown him the photos yet. I don't think he even cares.
"The property, when I purchased it, was really run down. It had a bunch of snowboarders living in it, weeds everywhere," Phipps explains. "I think a lot of people in the neighborhood are happy because it has added to the neighborhood." Those were my neighbors, long-term renters. Though our property value may have improved, the quality of our neighborhood has declined.
Sarah Phipps' comments illustrate just how out of touch she is with the neighborhood she decided to take over with her commercial operation. No surprise, she doesn't live in the neighborhood from which she extracts money. People would be happy to have back the residents she kicked out—renters with a history and some stake in the community—than the ridiculous hotel compound she has created. You can throw money around and fancy up old houses all you like, you're still sucking away a neighborhood's identity doing it. There is a place for making money on tourists and it isn't in our neighborhoods.
The Bend community needs to decide what this city is really for. Does it exist to live in as a community, or is it tool to extract tourism dollars at all costs?
I think the comments by Stephen Junkins were shortsighted and against the spirit of Bend. Bend has phenomenal activities for children, athletes and basically anyone who enjoys what nature has to offer. The spirit of Bend is to welcome all like neighbors. But it appears that Junkins would like to redefine what a neighbor is based on a rental history or if you own a home. I have lived in Bend 19 years and have neighbors who have not said hello in that time. Because we live in close proximity to one another does not constitute us being neighbors. I am also a caretaker for five vacation rentals and though the owners live out of town, the homes are meticulously maintained. The guests are so respectful of the homes and each home is always left clean and well cared for. They have loved their stay in Bend. And why begrudge a homeowner who makes a better income for a short term rental. And the income generated and the jobs supported by our kind and friendly guests is great for Bend as well.
—A Bend Resident who welcomes others to our homes
I live on a block with four adjacent vacation rentals. Three of these are part of a large fenced-off "compound" complete with advertising signage, run by someone who doesn't live in the neighborhood. Weeks go by in the shoulder seasons where we feel like we live in a ghost town. The street is dark when we come home. Winter and summer, our street is crushed with parking problems, noise, traffic, and everything else that comes with hotel guests looking to have a good time. Only a few neighbors remain who we can say hi to on a daily basis.
The vacation rental issue is an insidious problem, as it quietly robs a community of its collective voice to speak out about local issues that affect us. Vacation renters don't care how good the local schools are, how much work the roads need, speeding issues through neighborhoods, local land development, pollution, or a host of other issues that homeowners and long-term renters are concerned about.
Vacation rentals in high concentration cause a slow deconstruction of a neighborhood's character and identity that can be difficult to see. The rentals are often "spruced up" with new paint and lawns, a facade that suggests a resident is happily living there.
Ultimately, we all have to answer the question of who is this city built for—the residents who live here, or those who want to vacation here (including those who profit from them)? Frequently it feels like it is tourism at all costs. We need money from tourists, but we have to at least attempt some balance. I urge other residents to speak up about this issue before your neighbors disappear as well.
As of yesterday morning (Aug. 4) no women had filed for the three Bend City Council positions up for election on Nov. 4. Three men are vying for the open seat vacated by Jody Barram; Scott Ramsey is, so far, the only announced candidate for the position he currently holds; Mark Capell is seeking to regain his seat with only me—still another guy—stepping up to oppose him. With women making up only 20 percent of the applicants for the Urban Growth Boundary citizen advisory committees, we seem to have a chronic (maybe worsening) gender gap in City government. I would be happy to withdraw my candidacy for City Council to make way for any woman from any political party who would bring with her a populist, reform-minded, compassionate approach to governing. I would offer to get the signatures she needs to appear on the ballot and would volunteer in her campaign. I realize that it is women who may be doing the brunt of the work of raising families and keeping bread on the table, so I am not surprised. But, as a consequence, we lose true inclusiveness and representation—and we can truly lose our way.
I've been to the Netherlands. I walked the streets, smelled the smoke. I even went into one of the bud bars to look at the scene. It all seemed rather—well, uneventful. The people seemed normal, I saw nothing more weird then what happens on any street in America today. What's the big deal? Oh yeah, some people still believe the propaganda of Reefer Madness. Sigh...
Letter of the Week
RJ - Sigh is right. What if there had been a movie called Caffeine Madness? Do you think we still would've had the same coffee explosion? How about juicing up on as much caffeine as possible from a $5 gift certificate to Palate, our treat? Stop by to pick up your Letter of the Week prize.