Bend Park and Recreation Director Zone 4
(See video of our endorsement interviews with the candidates below.)
The race for Bend Park and Recreation District Director Zone 4 boasts a colorful cast of candidates, including an incumbent board member, a COCC director, a self-professed advocate for the cannabis and homeless communities, and a contender who currently sits in Deschutes County Jail.
Incumbent Ted Schoenborn has served on the board for 14 years and brings a wealth of experience to the board. Having seen our area grow immensely since the early 2000s, he acknowledges the pressure the increased population has put on trails, recreational centers and senior services, and supports the idea of expanding the Bend Senior Center/Larkspur Center to serve the wider community. He has overseen the expansion of 20 miles of trails and maintenance of more than 40 parks—all, he claims, within budget. His hope is to see the entire completion of the Deschutes River Trail, where currently, some nearby residents are protesting the inclusion of a footbridge. Schoenborn is emphatic that the trail adds value for both recreation and alternative transport, for both locals and tourists.
Justin Gottlieb, who ran for the board in 2013, is less enthusiastic about the trail's completion and rejects the idea that the trail would be used for transport. The Officemax employee, who does not own a vehicle and is a self-proclaimed advocate for the "low-income, cannabis and homeless communities" knows first-hand the woes of public transport, and says he would be the "First park director to have actually lived in Bend's parks." He advocates for a viable east-west active transport corridor and has some innovative ideas, such as a transportation incentive program which would see those who hold a monthly Cascade East Transit pass able to qualify for discounts at community centers.
Laura Boehme is the current Director of Information Technology at COCC and supports the expansion of the Bend Senior Center into the Larkspur Center for a more inclusive community offering. The mother of four's viewpoint on the Deschutes footbridge isn't decisive, yet she worries that the residents aren't being heard and supports their legal actions. "Listening to all" is her key campaign promise and she shares the view that perhaps Schoenborn has staled in his abilities to listen to all of the community's needs.
The fourth candidate, Ronald "Rondo" Boozell, a usually outspoken and eccentric candidate, cannot be earnestly considered as he is currently serving time in the Deschutes County Jail for contempt of court charges.
Although we welcome the fresh perspective the other candidates bring to the table, we cannot dispute the value an experienced board member brings in a time that will see increasingly complex problems arising.
We commend Boehme's enthusiasm to be attentive to a widespread demographic. However, that may lend itself to be influenced too easily. Gottlieb's field of vision is too narrow-sighted, and his distaste for The Pavilion because of his "dislike for ice" doesn't demonstrate a willingness to serve the desires of the community. Although low-income representation is needed, Gottlieb sums it up perfectly when he states that he is "more aspirational" while Schoenborn is more "nuts and bolts." With complex problems, increased population and pressure, we need a director who has a firm grasp and insight of the past, current and future issues the community faces.
Vote Ted Schoenborn for Bend Park and Recreation Director Zone 4.
Editor's Note: Due to scheduling conflicts, our endorsement interviews for this race were done in two parts. See the two videos below, one with candidates Ted Schoenborn and Justin Gottlieb, and a second with candidate Laura Boehme.