Bend may not be Illinois, but our politics isn't exactly as pure as the driven snow on Pilot Butte. KOHD-TV reported today that somebody apparently tried to bribe City Councilor Peter Gramlich to do him or her a favor in drawing the city's Urban Growth Boundary.
Gramlich said a caller left a message on his voicemail hinting that his campaign debt would be paid off if he was cooperative on the UGB expansion. "It was pretty apparent that [the deal] was, 'We will pay off your campaign debt if you give us favoritism,'" Gramlich was quoted as saying. "The message is hard to misunderstand," KOHD reports. It says: "We would like to hand deliver to you personally a check for your campaign debt."
Under Oregon land use law, an Urban Growth Boundary delineates where development is supposed to take place for the next 20 years. Getting a property included within the UGB can be worth millions to the property owner.
KOHD said that according to the Deschutes County District Attorney's office the call was not illegal because the caller only requested a meeting with Gramlich and did not propose a quid pro quo.
The call "bothered me, and that's why I want to go public with it," Gramlich told KOHD. "I want to give the impression that Bend is not immune from local government corruption." According to KOHD, Gramlich would not reveal the identity of the caller. The Eye was not able to reach Gramlich for comment this evening.
The Eye is shocked - SHOCKED! - by this development. Well, not really. Bend has been moving in this direction for quite a few years.
It occurs to us that if Gramlich had wanted to nail the apparent would-be briber he would have agreed to the meeting, then called the DA's office and offered to wear a wire.
But although that might be the Chicago way, it isn't the Bend way. We believe in playing nicey-nicey in our quiet little mountain town - even with scumballs who try to bribe public officials.