Tree Ordinance Needed
I never imagined community members would begin to log our neighborhood. What is most disturbing is that—as a neighbor—one is not notified that the trees are coming down. No proposed-action signage is necessary. You just hear the chain saws and then within four or five hours the neighborhood is changed forever. At that point there is nothing one can do as the historic trees, up to 100-years-old, are gone.
What are we willing to sacrifice as a community with the rapid growth of Bend? Is there a plan in place to retain some integrity of Bend—while addressing density needs? Are trees in the equation? My research has found that there isn't a Tree Ordinance of any kind for Bend, [despite] attempts to get a tree ordinance passed through city council since 1994. City Planner Wendy Robinson attempted to get a tree ordinance in place.
Everyone I speak to assumes the historic and big trees are protected at least, [yet] trees are only protected in city right of ways. Would Bend consider setting some land aside for urban forests or historic trees in neighborhoods?
Imagine what New York City would be like without Central Park. I have lived on the west side of Bend for 35 years and seeing the number of trees being taken down each day seems somewhat barbaric in a time of global warming. We still have time to protect the character of Bend and make it even a better place to live.
~Mary Ellen Deckelmann
In Response to the Wedding Issue (2/4)
With special interest I read the Wedding issue. My son was married 10 years ago in a local park in Bend. He and his bride-to-be planned a non-traditional wedding, focused on their active, outdoor lifestyle. The celebration began the day before with all of the family being treated to white water rafting on the Deschutes River. This was very special since some of the guests had never had this sort of a river experience. The groom, the bride, and a friend were the river guides. The next day, everyone met in the park, where the day began with drinks and a rowdy game of croquet. The four black dogs, all shampooed and decked out with purple ribbons romped around the park. Later, one would serve as ring bearer. A catered meal was served, and the happily fed guests were then ready for the ceremony. No one was wishing the ceremony would get on, so they could eat! For a photo op, the bride and groom circled the guests on a tandem bike. All guests then proceeded to the club house and were treated to live music, dancing, and a photo show. A great time was had by all, and I have yet to attend a wedding which was more fun. The only regret is that the bride now wishes she would have chosen a more traditional gown.
Let There Be Music – in Bend
Bless You Angeline for another great night of music (Tommy Castro) at the Belfry in Sisters. I often wonder how Angeline can keep this gem of a music venue going. A continuous procession of great artists, playing in an acoustically-correct setting, with respectful (mostly older) audiences, and full pours at the bar. You get the feeling that people are there for the artists and the music, a rare commodity in an area where millennial marauders feel compelled to entertain themselves by talking over the music, everywhere they go. The key seems to be charging a substantial, but reasonable given the talent, cover charge. Personally, I'm more than willing to pay to enjoy a good act in a good atmosphere. Admittedly, I'm less enthused about the drive back to Bend afterwards. Angeline, we know you believe in keeping it local (Sisters), but won't you please bring your energy, vision, and business model to Bend. We desperately need a place like that here.
Troy Field Public Hearing
Troy Field is a treasure in the heart of Bend. If we don't act now, it will be lost for all future generations. The Bend La-Pine School District owns Troy Field, and has determined that it is "surplus" and would like to sell it to a developer for $1.9M. The City Council must change the zoning on the property from "Public Facilities" to "Limited Commercial" in order to do so. The city council will decide this after hearing public comments Wednesday, Feb 24, 4 pm in the Municipal Court Room, 555 NE 15th St.
I attended the last public hearing, for which independent Hearings Officer Kenneth Helm was hired by the City to hear testimony and provide a recommendation, based upon review of the applicable law. More than 80 people attended, the vast majority in opposition to the change. At first, the task seemed daunting – the district hired one of the top law firms in Bend, Bryant, Lovlien and Jarvis, to represent it, and had Bend's Planning Department present in favor. Public testimony against these resources seemed like David fighting Goliath—most of us figured Mr. Helm's decision was a foregone conclusion. It wasn't. On Jan. 29, Mr. Helm provided his 42 page recommendation to City Council to deny the application for the zone change based on two issues:
1) BDC 4.6.300.B.2: "A person or agency proposing a change has the burden to demonstrate a public need and benefit for the change."
2) BDC 4.6.300.B.4 requires the applicant to "provide evidence of a change in the neighborhood or community that justifies the Plan Amendment."
The neighborhood, Helm found, has remained relatively stable over the past 100 years, while the district's needs have changed.
Prudent Allocation of Funding a Better Answer
I agree with Councilor Chudowski's assessment of the road repair issue. To date, the city councilors of Bend have failed the residents and tax payers in Bend relative to the prudent allocation of funding.
More money into the city's general fund as a "fix" to the local road maladies is [a futile activity]. Perhaps Bend's City Council should meld with Bend Parks and Recreation (by a large measure, more powerful) and rule by fiat.