Letters to the Editor 11/5/20 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 11/5/20

Guest Opinion: The Truth About Neighborhood Associations

Editor's note:

The pundits and political commentators weren't kidding when they said that the outcome of the presidential election would be a long haul. We're putting this paper to bed tonight, late into the night, and I think I'm not the only one who's going to be simultaneously exhausted and also unable to sleep as it's decided.

Meanwhile, in local races, Bend voters overwhelmingly supported progressive candidates for the Bend City Council, and delivered an upset in the Deschutes County Commission race—according to unofficial returns from Tuesday night. Oregon voters statewide made history by voting in favor of decriminalizing drugs, launching a psilocybin therapy program, and paving the way for campaign finance reform.

Letters to the Editor 11/5/20
Darris Hurst
Cars line up outside the ballot drop site at the Deschutes County Services building Tuesday, dropping off those last-minute ballots. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 80% of eligible voters had already voted.

As we all hold our collective breaths to see who will be the head of our nation, we've already seen plenty of action that will have significant effects on Oregonians going forward. The most recent results of local elections are found in our News section—and stay tuned to bendsource.com and our newsletter, Cascades Reader, for our ongoing analysis and reporting around this election.

Guest Opinion: The Truth About Neighborhood Associations

Since the Planning Commission and City Council voted to not allow microunits in RS zones, the Affordable Housing Authority Committee (AHAC) and their media surrogates are unfairly spreading myths about Neighborhood Associations. First, they called Neighborhood Associations NIMBY and last week Melanie Kebler and David Welton escalated by calling my neighbors racist and segregationists. I cannot stand by and let these ad hominem arguments continue against my neighbors. (ad hominem – when you attack the person because you cannot convince with facts). FACT: my neighbors support affordable housing.

Neighborhood associations consist of volunteers who work hard for everyone in Bend. I know because I serve as the Land Use Chair for the Southern Crossing Neighborhood Association, which includes part of the Brookswood Corridor, the SW Wilson neighborhoods, the Reed Lane area, and Woodriver Village. My Neighborhood association is quite diverse economically and not a mythological wealthy enclave.

Here's the truth of the matter—and a very important nuance that keeps being missed: The Neighborhood associations were against putting microunits in RS zones because our neighbors wanted them to succeed. When you take the time to research microunits, you learn they only succeed in areas with good public transportation, services, and that are close to grocery stores. Most of Bend's RS zones have none of this. I personally lobbied the Planning Commission to include laundry units in microunits when I realized Bend only has about five laundromats—none close to most RS Zones. The proposal AHAC supported for microunits did not include laundromats, a cruel oversight considering most of the people who will live in microunits won't have cars and Bend has cold winters and limited public transportation options. Fortunately, the Planning Commission recommended that laundry units be provided for every 10 units and the City Council agreed.

It's time for AHAC and their surrogates to back off. Stop blaming neighborhood associations and stop whining about microunits not being allowed in RS zones. Instead, focus on celebrating that Bend's affordable housing offerings are about to improve. Microunits ARE being allowed in Bend—where they are more likely to succeed. Affordable duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and tiny homes will soon be allowed in all housing zones—just what the AHAC wants!

It saddens me that AHAC and a City Council candidate at the time has used traditional and social media to attack another City Council committee, the Neighborhood Leadership Alliance, consisting of members from the 13 neighborhood associations. Neighborhood associations are not supported by special interests. Our boards are volunteers who listen to what you want to make Bend a better place for YOU. Anyone in Bend can join one of the 13 Neighborhood Associations—for free.

I urge our new and established City Council members to listen closely to Neighborhood associations. My own neighbors trust me to be their voice, a responsibility I take seriously. Neighborhood associations are the voice of the community and, like everyone, my neighbors simply want their truth to be heard.

—Deby Deweese, Vice Chair/Land Use Chair, Southern Crossing Neighborhood Association

Dear Mt. Bachelor,

Bravo and well played! Your new parking reservation system is well thought out and will certainly help keep locals safe from riding at the mountain this winter while teaching us all a valuable lesson. Clearly, the COVID pandemic has made running your operation a complex challenge and you have passed that complexity on to your loyal customers. Also, you are wisely teaching season pass holders a valuable lesson about complacency. I agree with your proposition. It's absurd for one to believe that purchasing a season pass would allow one to park and ride the mountain whenever they see fit. The whole process is a true psychological tour de force with manufacturing a scarcity mindset among your local customers. By providing an unlimited parking pass to customers of a higher tier (outplay 365), you encourage the "coach class" clientèle (albeit very privileged) to believe there will never be enough, resulting in a feeling of uncertainty. Uncertainty is exactly what we all need to feel right now and thank you for your contribution. Finally, keep referring all of the pesky questions back to the online reservation manual which is very clear and transparent about the vagueness of the whole process. Once again, another check in the "W" column for Mt. Bachelor.

—Sean Reinhart

RE: Dog poop pet peeve, Letters, 10/15

In response to Angela Kamm's letter regarding dog owners leaving bags of poop on trails, I totally feel ya! 

You mentioned that you are not a dog owner. Well, I have been a "dog mom" for over a decade, and I don't understand this disgusting habit, either.

It is up to ALL of us to keep our community clean and sanitary. Dog poop is both a health and environmental hazard, and plastic bags are even worse! Scooping poop may not be enjoyable, but it is a responsibility that comes with owning a dog (you wouldn't leave your child's dirty diapers laying around, would you?). I encourage all potential dog owners to consider this before adopting a fur baby!

—Claire Benke

Letter of the Week:

Claire: Thanks for your response to Angela's letter. It's an issue that continues to confound trail users around Central Oregon. Is it the same one or two dog owners leaving these bags on every trail and at every park?! We may never know...

In any case, come on in for your gift card to Palate!

—Nicole Vulcan

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