If You Do Not Build It, They Will Not Come
If you do not build it, they will not come. Who are you helping with more and more houses? You are helping developers. This City cannot even keep its streets plowed or repaired. We don't even have sidewalks and most areas are not even ADA compliant even after all these years. Forest trails are overwhelmed. Dogs are being forced into "playground prisons."
Smart growth is bringing in a four-year University to encourage education, job quality, and younger workers. Dumb growth is to change zoning laws to help developers. Why are there zoning laws if you're just going to change them?
Smart growth encourages competition in health care facilities and involves working to develop an internship program at the local hospital. This is because interns tend to settle in the area where they work—thereby providing doctors for the future. Dumb growth is to allow a hospital, medical groups, and even vets to hold monopolies by creating systems that encourage service shortages.
There are plenty of cities in the United States and around the world that embrace dumb growth. And there are a handful of cities like Bend who are on the precipice. Are we going to join the masses and fall into the abyss, destroying another beautiful city in the West? Why do you keep voting for politicians who believe the short-sighted lies of developers eager to suck our riches before moving on to the next community? It's time to wake up, run for office, or support those who have a vision of how Bend can continue to be a special place. If you do not build it, they will not come.
"They are going to come anyway" is a foolish excuse to help developers. No they won't. Look at Santa Barbara, California, arguably one of the most desirable places to live in this country. That city has held its population at around 100,000 for decades now. Yes, housing prices increased—so Santa Barbara focused on higher salaries, housing subsidies, and other programs to improve the quality of life for their citizens. When you have a desirable place to live, the sad fact is that you will never have affordable housing. Let me repeat that: When you have a desirable community, you will never, ever have affordable housing. Look at much of California and Portland! It's the Law of Supply and Demand. The City of Bend has it all wrong. You make your city wonderful for the citizens who live there. After that, you make it wonderful for tourists to help continue to fund the wonderful things you do for your citizens. The tourists come—and then they leave. It is better to visit a beautiful city than to live in beauty destroyed.
If you understand what is at stake here, believe it enough to fight for it (not just complain and then go have a microbrew), then get to the City offices quickly, grab a City Council petition and gather 150 signatures (an archaic process) and file papers to run for City Council. Hurry because you only have until the end of Tuesday, Aug. 30! Then find the other candidates who also want to save Bend from over-development and form a slate of candidates to pool your resources. Then give the developers—and those who support them—Hell.
It's time for the City of Bend to support those of us who live here. It's time for better roads, better bus systems, better bike paths, and to reject the idea that an urban growth boundary has to mean every piece of open space is sold off to developers.
Seriously, if you do not build it, they really will not come.
Cascade Lakes Traffic
I was born in Sisters in 1984 and am grateful to be able to call this place home. I spent years traveling and have seen many beautiful places, but always knew the beauty of Central Oregon would be where I grew roots and spent my days. The beauty which brought me back to my place of birth, is exactly the same beauty that drives thousands of people to create a new home here and for many more to have their vacations here. I am grateful to live in an area where people are attracted to the outdoors and who want to be part of the endless beauty of this area. We are starting to see the impact so many people have on our town and surrounding forests. People want to experience them, but often don't have the common sense, experience, or decency to treat them with the respect they deserve. As residents and people who love this area, we have to do something before it's too late and the damage inflicted on our beautiful town has gone too far.
I know we will never stop people from coming to our town, and truthfully, I don't believe it is the solution. As tourism increases in Central Oregon, we have a larger industry to sustain our residents. We need this! I believe in growing smart and doing our best to have foresight into what problems may arise with such a large number of people trying to experience the wilderness around us. One large problem I see is the number of cars accessing the Cascade Lakes Highway. With countless trails, lakes, and majestic views of our mountains, this does not come as a shock. But what can we do about the amount of pollution which comes with this? I believe the answer is a simple one. Mt. Bachelor already owns and operates buses during the winter season to get people up the mountain. Why not extend this service to the summer? A few buses can do loops of the Cascade Lakes Highway. Using pre-existing parking lots and pull offs. People could do thru hiking without having to worry about shuttling cars. Families could experience the lakes without having to drive numerous cars. People could bike back to town after getting shuttled to the top. We have hundreds upon hundreds of cars driving up and down that highway throughout the summer, causing traffic and pollution. By offering a shuttle we could lessen the impact to our wilderness. Mt. Bachelor could use the increase in revenue to have more full time employees, and provide a valuable service to the community.
What about the other problems plaguing the Cascade Lakes, such as littering, improper trail usage, and dangerous hiking choices. I think we could create signs to put up in the bus to give important information as to how to be part of the wilderness, without negatively impacting it. For some people, this is the first time they have left a city and they don't know what to do without the amenities of those cities. It is our job to educate people on how to treat our sacred land so it will continue to be here for our future generations.
Alicia – Thanks for offering a solid, simple solution in your letter. A shuttle would also mean people could toss back their favorite IPA (or two) after a hike, without then being another impaired driver on the roads. Stop on by the office for your free gift card from Palate. - Nicole Vulcan, Editor