Lucky to Live in Bend
At the recent Friday Art Walk, I was returning to my car along Minnesota Avenue when my foot caught an edge of a cement framing around a tree; it was slightly higher than the paver sidewalk. I took a full face-plant on the sidewalk, resulting in a cut that required eight stitches. I was in a complete daze when four very concerned and caring teens appeared and helped me to a nearby bench. Three of the teens had just graduated from high school and the other was a senior, and I'm sure the last thing they wished to do was to help a clumsy retired rocket scientist, but that they did. They asked the right questions and who they could call; but I live alone and did not recall any other phone numbers. Their concern was most calming, but I didn't get their names except for the high school senior Lake, who escorted me back to my car. To the parents of these young adults...you "done" good! Thanks again to all four and thanks to the man who brought me an ice bag.
Endless Water Supply—Fact or Fiction
In late Oct. 1999, three Bend City Councilors (Suzanne Johansen, Tom Dewolf and myself) had a private meeting at City Hall with then Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts. During that meeting we requested State help in funding a study to prove or disprove the oft-stated fact that there is a huge aquifer beneath central Oregon with enough water to last forever. Only days after our meeting, Governor Roberts decided not to run for office again and our request went unanswered. It would be good to know if such a bounty truly exists or will we be dry and thirsty as Bend grows towards a population of 200,000 plus.
A More Livable Bend
Bend needs livability policies like those of more urbanized cities if we are to accommodate growth and increased density and remain livable.
Reducing potential conflicts between non residential uses and residential areas is key. These opportunity areas related to tourism deserve your attention, including:
-short term rentals
-noise and special event permits
The City of Bend would benefit by heeding the words of Roberta Gratz, an award winning journalist and urban critic. She states, "If you build it for the residents, the tourists will come. If you build it for the tourists, the residents will leave, and eventually, the tourists will stop coming."
In Response to Knute Buehler & Dino Vendetti's Opposition to M97
On Sept. 6, Dr. Knute Buehler (R), our state representative right here in Bend's District 54, co-wrote a letter with Dino Vendetti, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who has lived in Bend for three years. The letter, "M97 jeopardizes Bend's progress," appeared under the 'In My View' section of the Bulletin. Knute and Dino were joined in the letter by Bruce Cleveland, a Bay Area tech guru who divides his time between San Francisco and Bend. Mr. Cleveland's opposition to M97 is particularly interesting as he is not a full-time resident, nor a registered voter in Oregon.
In their letter, the three of them parade one unsubstantiated claim after another; half-truths follow misunderstandings about Measure 97. It is time to set the record straight.
Now, I am not a surgeon, like Knute, a venture capitalist, like Dino, or a tech guru from California, like Bruce. I am just a social studies teacher. I went to a public school. I served four years as a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer in North Bend/Coos Bay. I lived for a year in Stayton as an ELL teacher during the 2008 downturn. Later, I went to OSU Cascades while fighting forest fires on a hotshot crew in Prineville. All in all, I've called Oregon home for 16 years now.
As teachers, my wife and I both see how inadequate school funding is, and we deal with the consequences of those inadequacies daily. Currently, I am navigating absurdly huge class sizes at Summit High School. At Pilot Butte Middle School, raw sewage ran down a hallway and into a first-year teacher's classroom on the first day of school. They had to evacuate the hallway and shut down the classrooms for the rest of the afternoon. The same thing happened on the second day of school last year.
The mere fact that ballot Measure 97 exists, is in direct response to a lack of action on the part of "Salem politicians" such as Mr. Buehler.
Inadequately funding vital services is a pattern that we've seen since the early '90s. As a result, 400,000 Oregonians still don't have access to healthcare, the number of seniors living in poverty increased 61 percent, and our schools have the third largest class sizes in the nation.
In response to Salem's inaction, 166,000 Oregonians signed a petition to put this measure on the ballot. A measure that will not tax seniors. It will not tax middle-income families. Measure 97 taxes C corporations with $25 million or more in sales. Not individuals, not startups, or small, local businesses. The measure was designed for corporate accountability. We believe that large out-of-state companies need to pay their fair-share in taxes. We are tired of them using high-paid lawyers and accountants to find every loophole in the book to insure that, like Comcast, they can pay an effective tax rate of zero when they file in April.
People who support Measure 97 are nurses who are tired of seeing their patients choose between bankruptcy and medical bills. Firefighters who are first responders at the homes of seniors who have no one to care for them. Teachers who do not have enough desks for 45 students in their classrooms. Parents who want the best education for their children.
In their letter, Knute and Dino go on to say that business will pack up and move away. We've heard this before. Companies will not leave Oregon. Where will they go? Oregon already ranks dead-last in corporate taxes.
Buehler and Dino say that Measure 97 isn't the solution to our state's budget challenges. What is the solution Mr. Buehler? Mr. Vendetti? We hear much more about what you are against, rather than what you are for. We keep hearing more talk. We keep seeing inaction.
We want solutions, and we are tired of waiting.
That is why I will be voting "Yes" on Measure 97.
Travis, I'm sure you're not the only teacher who feels this way, and I applaud you for continuing to be a strong voice – and for advocating for solutions during a time when a lot of people are focused solely on complaining. Stop on by and grab your gift card to Palate. - Nicole Vulcan, Editor