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From the Mouths of Babes

Middle school students sound off on Bend's future


Dear City Council:

I am concerned that Bend will outgrow the space that we have. This concerns me because when a lot of people are crammed into a small space, tourism might not thrive nearly as much.

My vision is that as we grow as a city, we expand and further develop the eastside. As of right now, most tourism is on the westside. Also we have more gathering places on the westside than the eastside. With all of this considered, the eastside should be further developed because they could use more fun places to be and they have more space to develop. Please consider giving tax breaks to businesses who want to develop for recreational purposes on the eastside. This would encourage growth and tourism on the eastside.

In 2030, if my vision isn't put to place, Bend will have a busy and overcrowded westside and a calm eastside. When I think of Bend, I think of a thriving community, cool gathering places, fast commutes, and beautiful nature around us. With my vision put in place, we will keep all of these attributes.


Jack Strang

Dear City Council:

One issue that I am especially concerned with for the future is public transportation.

Currently in Bend, it can take over an hour to get from one side of town to the other on a city bus. This makes public transportation very inconvenient. A good transportation system can have many benefits. For example, it can help the traffic and air quality because of the decrease of people driving their cars to get where they need to go. Furthermore, anyone who cannot afford or function a car, can use this system. This is why I believe it is necessary for Bend to develop an efficient and well-organized bus system.

To make this happen we need to find the money for improvements. We also need to buy more buses for more routes to reduce the layover to an average time of 15 minutes at each stop. I am willing to help by paying a larger amount of taxes for public transportation. Once the improved bus system is here, I am willing to commit to riding the bus at least once a week. By implementing my suggestions we can create an efficient and user-friendly bus system that will benefit our town for many generations to come.  


Jack Skidmore

Greetings Bend City Council: As people move to Bend, they will need an occupation, which could lead to openings of new local businesses. My vision for Bend in 2030 is a thriving city full of local businesses whose owners love what they do and contribute back to our community. My idea for ensuring that this vision takes place is by promoting, shopping at, and using local businesses. Benefits from going local range from building economic and social relationships between members of the community, providing better wages and benefits for the people, and creating products and services that are sculpted for this specific region and the distinct taste of Central Oregon. The City Council can contribute to this positive change by creating local economic zones made especially for local businesses and by choosing to use them personally. I will support the local businesses by doing the same: using them myself.

I hope my vision of Bend comes true. I will be part of the business community in 2030, as I would like to open a local bakery one day. In all sincerity, Shayna Kohl

Dear City Council:

I am concerned about the traffic in Bend. It is already a hassle to get from one place to another. Although the traffic is bad, it is not too late to make it better.

If nothing is done to lower the amount of traffic on the streets it will only get worse. The traffic could slow down or even stop in some places. Another issue would be finding places to park. Getting a parking space in downtown Bend is already a challenge. In 2030 the population could be even larger than it is today. That would make it almost impossible to find a parking space. Another one of my main concerns is the air pollution that more traffic would create. With more traffic it will take even longer to get from one place to another. That means that the engines of the cars would be running longer and creating more air pollution.

To make sure the traffic in Bend doesn't get any worse, we need to create new forms of transportation for Bend. One new way to travel would be to take the bus. The only problem is that it takes a very long time for the buses to arrive. That makes it inconvenient for most people to ride. This could be fixed by making the wait times for the buses shorter. Another way to improve traffic would be to get more people to walk or bike to school or work. To make more people walk, or bike, more bike lanes could be made. The traffic in Bend needs to be improved soon.


Chase McDonald

Greetings City Council Members:

The increase in population worries me because that will place increased demands on Bend's natural resources. This winter, there wasn't a large snow pack, leaving us with too little water for the rest of the year. If we have limited snow packs like this in the future, it will be worse because of the expected increase in population as estimated in 2030.

If we don't manage this problem, we could go into a drought like California. Conserving water usage would stop future droughts from happening. If we conserve water in the long run we can do everyday tasks like showering, and washing our clothes. The schools will have water for water fountains, and there will be no water usage limits.

If we limit excess water usage, there should be more than enough water to sustain us now and in the future. To help do this, I'll go around my neighborhood and start a campaign to prevent excess water usage and encourage less lawn in landscaping. My question is: What are you going to do to prevent us from going into a drought when our population increases?


Marc Grignon

Dear City Council:

By the year 2030, an estimated 40,000 people will come and live in our city. All these people will need to get places and this will cause traffic. What is the solution to this mess?  Running, biking, walking, taking the bus, even unicycling. We need trails.

My idea is to establish a city-wide, paved trail system for running and walking. The trails should be able to get you from one part of the city to the other.  North to south, east to west. Every person should be able to get to work on a set of easy-to-understand, well-kept trails. Many of our city's problems can be solved with this idea.  Less time in our cars will result in lower cost of gas and less air pollution.  Car accidents will go down in frequency and there will be less obesity. It is a win-win for everybody. Also, a city wide trail system is less work than to put in more roads and roundabouts. In all, this will increase the quality of our beautiful city.  I hope you consider my idea.

Sincerely, Jeffrey Bert

Bend City Council:

I write to you today to make sure that Bend stays local. I don't want to see local shops go out of business because a Target replaced them. Many of my friends have parents that own a business here in town. Now, let's say that I drive by one of them and see a sign that says, "Going out of business." Suddenly, their life is changed all because a larger brand replaced them. Let's help local businesses by buying their products.

The money they make stays in the community, helping schools, hospitals, and families in the community. Larger brands have their money spread out all over the place.

As the population of Bend grows, so do our choices. From helping schools, to putting food on the table for residents of Bend, local businesses are the way to go. So, stay local.

Thank you,

Jacob Ashby

City Council Members:

I am very eager to see what Bend looks like in 2030. Bend is estimated to have 115,000 people by then. This will surely boost our economy. But I am also very concerned that with our large population growth, it will also add to the abundant amount of cars and add to the ongoing traffic.

If we have more cars our area will likely become polluted. We could lose our beautiful environment that makes our city amazing. If we become polluted, tourists will not want to visit, weakening our economy. When the traffic is increased, it will take a long time to get across town. Homeowners in Bend already get upset with a crosstown commute; think about how they will feel if it gets worse.

If we convince people to not always drive cars, things may run a lot more smoothly. I also think that if people don't always drive everywhere, and walk or bike instead, they will be happy and healthy. As the City Council, you should make an effort to convince people to choose alternative transportation. One way you could do that is to have drivers pay for parking or invest in other forms of transportation. I will also make a personal effort to try to walk and ride my bike to places more often.


Hayden Klein

Dear Members of Bend City Council:

If our rivers continue to get polluted, this could cause wildlife to die or stop inhabiting Deschutes County. This could also destroy our tourist population and potentially our economy. But, if we manage our pollution levels, Bend will continue to be a beautiful city with boats and wildlife dotting the river.

The City of Bend and its citizens can work together to prevent river pollution. The City Council can help make this happen by directing runoff from the street drains to the water treatment plant. Here, the water can be cleaned and recycled back into our homes. This will keep the rivers clean, wildlife alive, tourists visiting, support the water treatment plants, and give them more jobs. The citizens can also assist in this project by leaving their cars at home, and instead trying to bike or walk everywhere.

Honestly, I don't want to inherit a city with a grimy river. I want to be able to take my children to float the river, like my parents do now. My generation can start this change, but we need the City Council's help.


Harper Justema

Members of City Council:

If we don't switch to renewable energy, Bend's natural environment will not stay as nice as it is now. Bend will contribute more greenhouse gases like CO2 that will, in turn, cause our winters to have less snow. The water levels will be lower with decreased snow, endangering animals because of the lack of water in their habitats.

On the other hand, if we use more renewable energy our future will have an exceptional environment. Since the environment is the backbone of our community, improving it would only be better for the economy and tourism. It is like killing two birds with one stone; less pollution means a better economy for Bend.

My vision for Bend in 2030 is to have at least 75 to 80 percent of Bend's energy come from renewable energy sources. What the City Council could do to help is to pass a law that would create tax breaks for people that use renewable energy.


Emilio Fassett

Dear City Council Members:

More families and cars means we will have to cut down trees and destroy habitats to make new homes and roads. This is a big problem. One way we can prevent this issue is by maintaining our urban growth boundary while building multi-family complexes and encouraging people to fix up old homes inside the boundary. If we broaden Bend's boundary, then we would need to build new homes on forest land, which could harm our environment.

Some of the benefits of maintaining the urban growth boundary include: we'll be able to sustain a healthy, beautiful environment; we'll have plenty of forest space; and last, but not least, we will still let the newcomers build their homes. In the end, it would work out for everybody. To support my vision of sustaining a healthy environment, I will walk, bike, and carpool instead of just driving.


Ella McMullin

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to you with a concern about how the quality of Bend's air conditions will change in 2030. With the population of our city quickly expanding, the number of vehicles that will be on our roads polluting our air will increase as well.

If Bend were to create more bike lanes, and bus stops, (which would also multiply the number of public busses) then our air pollution would decrease. If this matter is not taken into concern, then we could lose the pure, non-polluted air that other cities wish they had. Tourists, and people looking to settle down, would no longer want to visit Bend. Not to mention the people who live here now. I wouldn't want to live in a place with horrible air quality.

Something that sets Bend apart from other places is the clean and fresh air. If we try to help our community one step at a time then everyone, including generations to come, will be able to enjoy something that other cities have truly lost and can never get back. The people living in Bend right now were given a gift that should not be wasted. Citizens all over can help by taking their bikes to work, carpooling, or even riding the bus.


Julia Burdsall

Bend City Council:

When 2030 finally rolls around, Bend will no longer be the relatively small town we live in today. If we don't plan for this, Bend may become overcrowded and the city we love will slowly vanish.

Many people come to Bend because of its close proximity to the Cascade mountain range, our national forests just outside the city limits, and the Deschutes River flowing through the city. If we don't plan for the growth of Bend, the things we love about our city could suffer.

In order to preserve Bend, we must build more multi-family housing and plan for roads to transport people efficiently. Multi-family housing has a low environmental footprint and allows more people to live in smaller spaces. We can do many things such as this to keep Bend the beautiful, relatively small city it is today, in 2030, and many years to come.


Nick Bagley

Dear Members of Bend's City Council,

There has been talk of building more highways, which is a crucial mistake. For example, Seattle built more highways in hopes of decreasing traffic. However, they were sorely mistaken. Instead the opposite happened and traffic increased. To illustrate the two negative impacts: there will be fewer walkers and more cars, and with more cars comes more pollution.

I think that the most suitable, clean energy transportation solution to Bend's growing population challenge is to build a public train running on cables. We must also have a low riding fare so it's accessible to all people and it must have a warm welcoming interior that invites people to ride it. What we do in the present will impact our future.


Zach S. Jepson

Dear City Council:

Bend's population is expected to grow by nearly 45 percent by the year 2030. With the population around 115,000 lots of toilets will be flushed. When the main sewer was built in Bend the population was about 35,000 people. The sewer has held up well but with the usage tripling, the sewer may become a bigger (and messier) problem.

Although it would be lots of work and time, the city will need to extend the sewer. This will keep the city clean and safe. Many people every year have been injured from sewer leakage. It can cause small floods and creates other dangers on the street. If the city can extend the sewer, and kids like me act wiser about what they put down the toilet, it will keep the city healthy. If people like me stop flushing their dead goldfish down the toilet (just build it a grave), then the sewers will stay safe.

If the people that most others listen to make a stand about keeping our city great, it will keep its - - - -.

Sincerely, Will Nyman

Speaking of Bend's Future, Cascade Middle School

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