In March, Bend voters rejected the gas tax that could have paid for pothole repairs—so to fill the gaps, the City is stepping up.
According to David Abbas, Director of the Bend Streets & Operations Department, the City is using street preservation dollars from next year's budget to fill the potholes. Abbas says three seasonal workers and one full-time employee have already filled nearly 700 potholes during the two-month project—and more than 3,000 in the past year.
Much of the work is taking place on busier roads, but Abbas says the city's residential streets are also getting attention.
"It feels good to really make an impact this year, and we'll continue on the funding gap to where we can have that sustainable, dedicated funding every year to make a difference in our community's roadways," Abbas said.
The Bend City Council has approved a measure asking residents to vote on a three percent city tax on marijuana sales during the election Nov. 8.
Currently, the total tax rate on recreational marijuana is at 25 percent—though that will be reduced to 17 percent in January 2017 when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes over the regulation of recreational pot. That lowered rate is an opportunity for cities to impose their own tax—which is exactly what the Bend City Council has voted in favor of doing. If voters approve the measure, the total tax on marijuana sales in the city of Bend would be 20 percent.
Statewide, marijuana revenues have greatly exceeded projections; the State of Oregon is estimated to collect roughly $43 million in tax from recreational sales for this past year, according to a article in The Oregonian this past May.
With the city's sewage collection system at capacity in some areas, local officials are asking for the public's patience as crews install close to two miles of pipe along 27th Street between Reed Market Road and Medical Center Drive. Complete road resurfacing will follow the pipe installation.
Expect lane closures and road restrictions along 27th Street for up to eight weeks. In total, the project is expected to take two years. Visit bendoregon.gov/SEI for project information.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel has determined that a La Pine woman did not commit a crime when she left her sister's body in her bed for five months. Christine Freise, 63, died of natural causes in November 2015. According to the District Attorney's office, her sister and roommate Elizabeth Freise, 59, did nothing with the body, which was discovered in April. Since Elizabeth Freise was not her sister's legal caregiver, District Attorney Hummel determined that she was not legally bound to take action after the death.
"Community standards dictate that respect for our deceased, at a minimum, requires proper disposal of their bodies," said DA Hummel in a statement released to the Source Weekly. "Elizabeth Freise's handling of her sister's death was shocking and appalling, but I was not elected to be your arbiter of propriety—I was elected to dispassionately and fairly apply Oregon law to the facts I'm presented. Because Ms. Freise's inaction did not violate Oregon law I am not charging her with a crime.'