Letters to the Editor | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Letters to the Editor

Keep Bend Precious and Platypus Pub

Letters to the Editor
Miguel Edwards' the "Cauldron," which Edwards submitted to the 2018 Special Olympic USA Games Commemorative Program in Seattle.

Keep Bend Precious

There is a specialness to Bend that is rare. And this specialness should be preserved and protected by keeping Bend small. We are considerate of one another to a fault. We stop for pedestrians and cyclists wherever they may be. We say hello to one another. We are courteous to one another. We accept one another unreservedly. We embrace our seasons. We cherish and love our mountains, the river, our forests and high desert sage, farm, and horse country. Urban growth coupled with dense suburban growth could put into the irretrievable past all that we treasure in one another and this land we love. Already, mountain and river views are being obscured from view.  The urban growth boundaries have been extended. Our neighborhoods may cease to be small islands among the forests and open country, and the forests and open country rare islands among asphalt and concrete. Keep Bend precious and small.  We do not need a visitors bureau: tourists come because of the beauty and character of our home. Endeavoring to recruit and accommodate disproportionate numbers of visitors is striking a pathway leading to change that scars deeply.  For the preservation of the unique spirit of Bend, our administrators need to be focused on simply maintaining our infrastructure and services within our means without the sink hole of expanding tax bases to fuel growth that many of us fear will alter Bend's singular character in ways that cannot be undone.   

—Paul Sudano

Proposal to demolish Platypus Pub building and replace with a Starbucks

My wife and I have been full-time Bend residents since 2004.  In that time we've seen dramatic changes in this town, some for the better and some for the worse.  The proposal to tear down the Platypus Pub building (which was a cool Italian restaurant when we moved here) and to replace it with a Starbucks clearly and obviously falls under the latter - a change for the worse.  Why?

1. As our city continues to grow and adapt to a seemingly ever-growing population it is crucial that we maintain what makes Bend, Bend.  For example, the project to develop the Old Mill district did not come in and bulldoze the site to replace it with an outdoor mall; the planners and folks involved recognized the historical importance and relevance of the Old Mill and used tremendous resources to retain much of its feel and structure, most notably the iconic smoke stacks.  An excellent example of a respectful redevelopment of what is now one of Bend's biggest tourist attractions. The city needs to continue to balance burgeoning growth with an eye towards respecting Bend's history, tradition and character.

2. The city has a responsibility to stand up to developers whose sole goal is to maximize profits at the expense of the community, with zero consideration for what the city stands for. We are a community of small business owners and operators who proudly support the ethos of "buy/shop/dine/drink Local!" Starbucks is a mega corporation whose stranglehold on communities across the country flies in the face of everything we stand for.  How can amazing local businesses like Lone Pine Coffee compete with the behemoth that is Starbucks?  How long before these small coffee shops start to fold as yet another and another and another Starbucks checker our city?  Enough!  We don't want it and we sure as hell don't need it!

I live and work in this community and it pains me to see these types of proposals come up because it is, at face value, the decimation of this beautiful town.  As corporations, strip malls and big box stores pour into our community (e.g. at the north end of town) it sickens and saddens me. Where's the community? Where's the accountability?

If this project goes through it will be a travesty, a punch in the gut, another step in the wrong direction.  Please consider what Bend is, was, and will be, and ask yourself if leveling one of the cooler old buildings in Bend to replace it with yet another Starbucks fits that vision.

—Reid Simonton

A Drive Thru Coffee Shop is the Wrong Choice for the Bend Central District

As a Bend resident and business owner in the Bend Central District, I oppose the plans to demolish the current building occupied by Platypus Pub and replace it with a Starbucks Drive Thru. 

The current building—a former church—could definitely use some renovations but it is an iconic landmark in Bend with great potential. Demolishing it would be a loss to our community. Replacing it with yet another cookie cutter Starbucks would be an even greater loss. If Starbucks wants to do business in Bend, they should show some creativity and sensitivity by repurposing the existing building. If that doesn't fit within their requirements, they should choose to build elsewhere. If they must be in the Bend Central District, they should show some leadership by choosing to demolish a building that is NOT a landmark and incorporating the long term vision of the Bend Central District into their plans - mixed-use, high density urban development. 

The Bend Central District is an opportunity for our entire city to bridge the east and west sides together both logistically by encouraging walking and biking—something a drive thru goes decidedly against—and culturally by providing a centrally located business district with retail and entertainment spaces on the lower level and residential spaces above. The current building has great potential as such a site. 

The goals of the City of Bend's Bend Central District Overlay Code are:

A.  Provide for a wide range of mixed residential, commercial and office uses throughout the area and, depending on the parcel and its surroundings, vertical mixed use (i.e., a mix of uses within the same building), with an emphasis on retail and entertainment uses at the street level. B. Provide a variety of residential development types and greater density of development, with a transition area adjacent to the existing residential neighborhood east of 4th Street.

C.  Provide for development that is supportive of transit by encouraging a pedestrian-friendly environment.

D.  Provide development and design standards that support the goals of the Plan.

E.  Limit development of low-density uses while allowing continuation of existing industrial and manufacturing uses.

F.  Provide reduced parking standards and encourage alternative parking arrangements.

As citizens, we have a responsibility to craft the kind of town we want to live in for generations to come. Demolishing an old church and turning it into a cookie cutter chain store would be a step in the wrong direction.

—Elise Jones

Elise: Thanks for thinking to include the language of the overlay code—a stark contrast to the drive-thru proposal, smack dab in the middle of the Central District. Come on in for your gift card to Palate!

- Nicole Vulcan, Editor

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