Gov. Kate Brown is coming to Bend Friday to celebrate last week's signing of agreements in Deschutes and other Oregon counties to protect sage grouse habitats. The bird, which roams across the Western United States, is being considered for the endangered species list. But in the meantime, conservationists are working with landowners to conserve habitats now and potentially avoid more restrictive regulations if the species is eventually listed. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is expected to join Gov. Brown at the private ceremony.
While the public is not invited to attend the Governor's local appearance, it is welcome to attend two upcoming meetings of City Council. The first, a special public hearing on vacation rentals, will include two public hearings—one pertaining the regulation of short-term rentals, the other for a proposed licensing program for the rentals. Public comment on those issues is due by 4 pm on Friday, March 27. The meeting will take place Monday, March 30 at 4 pm in City Hall. The following Wednesday, at its regularly scheduled meeting, City Council will have the first reading of the proposed vacation rental code changes. So if you have something to say about vacation rentals that you've not yet shared, now is the time.
Speaking of housing, it won't be going up on the so-called Miller Tree Farm property near Shevlin Park. At least, not yet. Deschutes County Hearings Officer Karen Green last week rejected a proposal to build 50 homes in the fire-prone forestland, saying that, while the application met the technical zoning requirements, she would like to see more details about how the development would address wildfire risks and mitigate any negative impact on wildlife. Central Oregon LandWatch had opposed the development, citing wildfire concerns.