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Side Notes 8/10-8/17 

Legal Pot Increases Home Prices?

Since June of 2015, home prices in Bend-Redmond have increased 10.4 percent, tracking closely the 10.9 percent increase in home prices in Oregon over the past year. In fact, the Beaver State topped the list of states with the biggest increases in home prices, followed by Washington at 10.3 percent, Colorado at 9.2 percent, and Nevada at 7.7 percent.

Coincidentally, three of these are among the four U.S. states that have approved recreational marijuana. Voters in Washington and Colorado voted to legalize weed for recreational use in 2012, and adults in Oregon and Alaska are now allowed to possess and consume marijuana for fun. Later this year, Nevada voters will decide whether to legalize recreational pot.

We can't say for sure that legalizing weed makes home prices goes up, but we have definitely noticed a correlation.

Rural Deschutes County to Allow Marijuana-Related Businesses

Speaking of weed, starting Sept. 1, Deschutes County will accept land use applications in unincorporated areas for medical and recreational marijuana production and processing; medical marijuana dispensaries; and both retail and wholesale recreational marijuana sales. The County's Planning Division will host a pair of two-hour workshops at 3pm and 6pm on Aug. 23 at 1300 NW Wall Street for potential applicants. (Call Peter Gutowsky, Deschutes County Planning Manager, at 541-385-1709 for more information.)

Last December, the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners voted to opt out of marijuana-related business temporarily in unincorporated areas and in February appointed a 13-member Marijuana Advisory Committee to recommend reasonable regulations to address the impact such as sight, sound and smell. In April, the Board reviewed and approved the Committee's recommendations, beginning the County Code amendment process on June 1.

Commissioner Tammy Baney said, "I've often said that I feel that this is something very similar to what my grandmother experienced during prohibition. We won't be able to take care of the black market through these regulations. We won't be able to solve all of the issues. But the fact remains that we are living with a new industry, and that industry has been allowed. I think we've done a great job in seeking balance to try and bring two sides together and create good neighbor policies and a process that allows for an industry but recognizes the importance of community. I'm encouraged by our community's ability to come together."

City Council Race Draws New Candidates

Four of Bend's seven City Council seats are up for grabs in November, and several candidates have tossed their hats in the ring. Ron Boozell and Justin Livingston have filed for seat 1, which is currently held by Victor Chudowsky, who has announced he will not run for re-election. Douglas Knight has filed for re-election to seat 2 and will face Bill Moseley as an opponent. Current Mayor Jim Clinton has not announced if he will attempt to retain seat 4, for which Bruce Abernethy has filed. Mayor pro-tem Sally Russell is hoping to hold on to seat 3 and would like to be chosen mayor by her colleagues, if re-elected. So far, she has no opposition.

Seats 5, 6, and 7 are held by Nathan Boddie, Casey Roats, and Barb Campbell, respectively. These seats are not up for re-election this fall. Bend's City Council positions are non-partisan, and councilors are elected to four year terms.

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