Pin It
Favorite

(Nearly) 100 Days Progress Report 

Checking in with Bend's newest City Councilors

CASEY ROATS

Source Weekly: Since starting on Council, what has caught you most by surprise?

Casey Roats: I have been most surprised to learn how costly and time consuming our Urban Growth Boundary expansion process has been. The 2008 proposal was over 8,000 acres and was remanded back to Bend by the State. The current range of proposed new acreage is between 1,000 and 3,000 acres. If we end up with a proposal that only adds 1,000 new acres for our mandated 20-year developable land supply, it won't have done anything to address the underlying economic drivers that are making housing too expensive. You can't build affordable homes on land that isn't affordable as well.    

SW: Which of your campaign promises/objectives have you made the most progress on? Which are looking forward to tackling?

CR: My biggest concern as a candidate last fall was the high cost of housing. We will be considering some cottage code amendments and adoption of a new code for accessory dwelling units to be allowed in more areas around town. I like the concept of providing those kinds of niche needs for the portion of the population that desire that kind of housing. That being said, I believe that a meaningful expansion of the UGB would do more to help with the cost of land needed to make all kinds of housing types affordable.

SW: What one issue are you most fired up about right now?

CR: I'm most interested in seeing a meaningful expansion of Bend's Urban Growth Boundary.

SW: Have you changed your perspective or position on any issues since starting on Council?

CR: I've changed my perspective to a certain degree on funding of our bus system. I have traditionally been skeptical of just dumping money into a bus system that only recoups less than 20 percent of its costs through ridership. There is a proposal to target additional routes and frequency of buses in higher density residential areas with destinations at the college, the hospital, and other similar destinations. I think it's a smarter and more focused approach to helping meet the transportation needs of more people in our community.  

SW: What do you think are the biggest issues on Council's plate now and for the rest of 2015?

CR: I think 2015 will be dominated with OSU-Cascades, Mirror Pond and associated redevelopment in the area, short-term rentals, and issues surrounding the commercial uses around Galveston. I think that most of these issues can be tied back to our larger problem of, how is Bend going to grow and where? For the crowd that is philosophically opposed to a UGB expansion, my question is, "What parts of town are we going to alter significantly to meet the various needs of a growing city?" Every time change comes to a part of town, whether that be breweries going in, proposed apartment buildings, demand for short-term housing etc., the neighbors are adamantly opposed. I would prefer to not have to change the character of large parts of the existing city, but instead through smart and efficient land use planning, let Bend grow east and west accommodating those various demands.

NATHAN BODDIE

Source Weekly: Since starting on Council, what has caught you most by surprise?

Nathan Boddie: While not perhaps a surprise, I think the slow pace at which I am able to address the issues I find most important, has been a reminder of just how change seems to those who do not want it, and just how slowly it proceeds for those of us working towards something new. Of course this is a safety feature built into any legislative process and we wouldn't want to careen around from one direction to another. My work on council is more of a marathon than a sprint.

SW: Which of your campaign promises/objectives have you made the most progress on? Which are looking forward to tackling?

NB: Responsible UGB expansion and vacation rental regulation are both important for affordable housing and are moving along as quickly as can be expected. I am optimistic about the beneficial effects of more density in our existing UGB while we plan growth on the periphery of Bend where it will make the most sense.

SW: What one issue are you most fired up about right now?

NB: Improving affordability in Bend is my most fervent goal. It is larger than any single problem and includes housing and rental prices, transportation, and jobs. We will need to work hard on Council to address all of these problems or we will continue to lose valuable members of our community who can no longer afford to stay. Worse, our affordability problem is hurting our ability to recruit good people to Bend, which hurts our economy and prospects for the future of Bend.

SW: Have you changed your perspective or position on any issues since starting on Council?

NB: As a new Councilor, I think it would be arrogant to think I understood every issue adequately coming out of a campaign and I endeavor to keep an open mind and look at an issue without a predisposed agenda or bias. OSU-Cascades is perhaps the issue about which I've learned most since starting. While I continue to have misgivings about impacts to housing and transportation, I am encouraged that we can find solutions to these challenges wherever a university is ultimately located.

SW: What do you think are the biggest issues on Council's plate now and for the rest of 2015?

NB: First, second, and third, are all affordability. How we work on that through urban growth boundary expansion, affordable housing code changes, and vacation rental regulation are all issues I am working on actively. Protecting natural resources is also a priority for Council and includes Tumalo Creek restoration, as well as how we expand our UGB to avoid undue risk to Bend citizens' health or financial stability.

BARB CAMPBELL

Source Weekly: Since starting on Council, what has caught you most by surprise?

Barb Campbell: I am surprised by how little time there is to brainstorm and discuss ideas with the Council as a whole. It's for an important reason—all deliberations involving a quorum must be made in a public, accessible meeting—but it's a challenge. We've added a third, monthly meeting on the first Friday of the month just to try and address this. For the next two months those meetings have morphed into budget meetings, but I am hopeful we'll have more time once the budget is finalized in the next couple of months.

SW: Which of your campaign promises/objectives have you made the most progress on? Which are looking forward to tackling?

BC: Vacation Rentals: The citizen task force has volunteered more than 700 hours to come up with recommendations. This month we will pass measures that will begin to restore the neighborhoods that have been inundated by these businesses. The challenge will be to not punish those Short Term Rental owners that have—some for more than a decade—peacefully coexisted with the neighbors and provided desirable lodging for visitors.

Housing: We are ready to adopt incentives and changes to our code that we hope will motivate builders to add more affordable housing to our mix. This was well underway when I got there. Credit goes to the City staff for their good work on this.

SW: What one issue are you most fired up about right now?

BC: Cougar killings! Since the beginning of the year, two of these magnificent animals have been killed in our city limits (or captured and taken away by ODFW to be killed out of the public eye). I feel confident we can work with our local police force and ODFW to establish a policy that keeps our citizens safe, but also prioritizes saving the lives of the animals. When they can be safely relocated out into the wilderness, they might not survive, but they will at least have a chance.

SW: Have you changed your perspective or position on any issues since starting on Council?

BC: The new "preferred plan"—preferred by a tiny sliver of our population, the Park Board, and a slim majority of the City Council—to restore Mirror Pond and redevelop downtown is so egregious and unworkable it makes me think I might rather just dredge the darn thing for the $2 million-$5 million that was being discussed in 2012.

SW: What do you think are the biggest issues on Council's plate now and for the rest of 2015?

BC: Urban Growth Boundary expansion: Council, staff, and community volunteers have been steadfastly working to have our expansion plan ready for the State on schedule.

Transportation: Our streets are crumbling. Our network of sidewalks is fragmented and impassable for many disabled folks. If we don't improve/expand our bus system and get better connectivity with our bike lanes, we have no hope of integrating a new university campus in to our community. These are daunting challenges but I feel confident the time is ripe for a major transportation overhaul.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Local News

  • The Missing Jigsaw Piece

    The Missing Jigsaw Piece

    Bend 2030 offers up 12 solutions to the Bend City Council to foster currently-elusive middle market housing
    • Jul 26, 2017
  • Eclipse Encounters

    Eclipse Encounters

    With an increase in population numbers for the Great American Eclipse, local advocates warn about an increase in human trafficking cases, too.
    • Jul 19, 2017
  • That's a Wrap

    That's a Wrap

    The Oregon Legislature ends its regular session—without passing a revenue-creating bill that would have changed the rules for taxation on some Oregon businesses
    • Jul 12, 2017
  • More »

More by Erin Rook

Readers also liked…

  • Barely Getting By

    Barely Getting By

    The cost of minimum wage
    • Jan 27, 2016
  • Rider's Luck

    Rider's Luck

    The strengths, pitfalls and future of Central Oregon Public Transit
    • Jan 25, 2017

© 2017 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation