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Letters 12/2-12/9




While the letter addressed City of Bend management-of-growth issues and hazarded a few solutions, I've as yet to hear a narrative mention those most likely to bear the burden of the considered "Gas Tax."

As we sift through ideas intending to help absorb our growing pains—and their costs—let's look at who benefits and who pays. One of the letter writer's concerns was controlling the use of the gas tax, and one suggestion was to keep it from being dumped into the general fund. The presumption is that these funds could be confined to the road department's maintenance and repair budget. Well, okay, I like that. It seems simple enough: buy gas and fix the roads you drive on.

However, the roads that will be getting fixed are certainly roads in Bend, not county roads or state highways, as they have their own public funding sources. There are many people who work in Bend who have chosen (or have been forced) to move outside the city to the outlying regions of Redmond, La Pine, Sunriver environs and Sisters, for affordability reasons. Is it fair to tax these county members if they need to fill up their tanks in Bend?

I lived in Aspen 40 years ago, and many of the same developing issues arose there. The zoning and housing issues of that place and period spawned the term "Aspen Syndrome"—referring to the slamming the door after I get in—and we saw many of the working class and service people forced to move outward to Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. This term has been used ever since, and negatively, to describe the economic conditions that move the little people out. Property values rise and taxes follow suit, but to quote George H.W. Bush, the "kinder, gentler world" never materializes.

So, for me, it smarts to see the gas tax appear as some panacea for our deteriorating roads: the people that live outside the city and drive the longer distances to work, and arguably use more gas, bear a larger "gas tax" burden to pay for fixing the streets. Yet, I imagine the larger part of their driving is confined to the roads leading in and out of town, and less on the streets.

I own a business and pay property taxes in Bend, but as my residence is outside the city, I don't have the opportunity to vote on city issues that impact me and the majority of my employees. If this were just as simple as buying gas in your hamlet outside of town, perhaps some of the gas station businesses would have a dog in the fight, but this is a tax we're talking about, not regional pricing issues, and fairness needs to be in the conversation.

—David B. Ogden


I see Bend City is removing the drinking fountains from downtown. Not as if a desert city that wants to promote people walking around shopping needs to provide for basic thirst. Does anyone give up shopping because of getting dehydrated, thirsty, perhaps a headache? Give away beer and wine on First Friday, but don't give away our water! It's time for some merchants to install fountains or water bottle filling stations and see what kind of traffic it generates, especially in winter when outside dispensers would not work.

—Mathieu Federspiel

Thank you to the Source staff for giving so much print to the issue of climate change. As a local filmmaker and activist, I am offering a weekly class called Facing Climate Change, to keep the momentum going behind Sunday's climate march.

It's also a place for people to come who don't have support for the emotional challenges of witnessing such massive destruction - not the faraway Tar Sands or the polar ice caps but right here in our own home. Crimes like the relentless paving over of sagebrush and forest; or the unquestioned, state-sanctioned murder of mountain lions and soon, wolves. The soul can't be happy while the biosphere is destroyed. More than a validation of these difficult emotions, the group's intention is to move through grief and experience the resilience, community, and empowerment of being part of a life-affirming society.

Social psychologists have only recently explained why the climate message has for decades caused such debilitating numbness and paralysis. This should come as a huge relief to many. I know I had to move through it on my own... Now we have support! Open to everyone, the class is held every Monday night from 7:15 to 8:45 at Bend Community Healing.

—Vanessa Schultz


As you perch in your office mulling over snappy responses taking deference to the outcome of the voting on the refugee issue, I'd hasten to remind you that Central Oregon is distant from the trodden paths which would be the yellow brick road to obvious targets of "organized" terrorism, perhaps LA, SF, Seattle etc. Obviously this makes it easy to condemn the outcome of the 289-137 vote.

A lone wolf act of terrorism in Central Oregon? Maybe, but not likely. I feel your pain and need to whine about the outcome, however, I'd suggest you read up on the result of the Greeks use of the Trojan Horse (albeit a myth) and contemplate the outcome.

Eighteen months to two years of vetting means nothing considering the competency of our government. In that period of time refugees will be absorbed into countries with cultures that are similar thereby minimizing the impact of their social integration.

We don't need a conduit for absorbing more nut cases. We Oregonians recently validated the fact that we already have plenty.

—Bill McMillan


Is this the Public Works Refund Desk? As a taxpayer in Bend for 38 years, I've helped fund all kinds of worthy improvements, through my property taxes. For many years, people complained that Reed Market Road was not keeping up with the volume of traffic on it. The City kept saying, "We'll make it four lanes, that'll fix it." So here we are $18.3 million later and what do we have? The concrete is thick enough to land a 747 on. But, there are not 4 lanes all the way from 3rd Street out to 27th. Essentially, we got a much sturdier, mostly two-lane road, with marginal landscaping and a new roundabout for our 18 million bucks. So here's my offer, I promise I won't even use your fancy street, and you just send my refund to my PO box. Maybe you could rename it, BoonDoggle Boulevard.

—Dave Stalker

Speaking of Bend Drinking Fountains, Reed Market Road

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