Guest Opinion: Please Sign the "Kids Not Camps" Initiative for November Ballot
No doubt since September of 2021, there has been an escalation of public interest regarding the growing population of Bend's unhoused residents and where they should camp, how they should camp, who is in charge and how this gets funded. There has been a growing feeling of concern for the lack of transparency by the Bend City Council in communicating these issues with residents of the city of Bend in addition to an increase of community members voicing their opinions on platforms such as the city council meetings, newspapers and online media. Our city is somewhat divided on this issue.
- Can you guess where this photo was taken? Props if you can, and props to everyone who made it outside during this less than ideal June Weekend. @pocoken got out to explore Central Oregon and shared this snippet of their hike with us. Thanks for tagging the Source Weekly, and happy adventures with more sun in the forecast! Share your photos with us and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured as Instagram of the week and in print as our Lightmeter. Winners receive a free print from @highdesertframeworks.
As a resident of Bend since 1994, I've never had cause or concern on how this city was run. I trusted the systems in place and have seen a lot of changes these past 28 years but never felt the need to speak out. However, when there was a proposed, low-barrier homeless camp that was to be placed next to where my 7 and 10-year-olds ride their bikes and go to school, frankly, I was surprised by this outrageous idea. As I soon found out, I certainly wasn't alone.
Luckily, this proposed idea by the Bend City Council has taken a back burner for the meantime, but clearly nobody wants to see this idea reignited near any school. This was a catalyst to create an initiative for the November ballot called, "Kids Not Camps."
We are a group of parents, community members, educators and business owners who want to protect our schools from having homeless camps next to them AND believe that the voters should have a say in where these camps are located and how they are funded. "Kids Not Camps" is proposing that no city resources shall be used to create camps within 1,000 feet of a school and that if city resources are desired for a location away from schools it must be brought to the voters for approval with the following information:
· Location of project
· Give the distance from project to the three nearest schools
· The maximum resources requested
· Duration of funding
Currently, we have been out in the community collecting the 15,000 signatures needed to get this initiative on the ballot but certainly feel the need to get more information out there and collect more signatures. A website has been created, www.kidsnotcamps.com, where you can read the initiative and findings with additional information. To sign, however, you must strictly be a resident in the City of Bend limits. From the website, you can download, sign the initiative and send it in if you do not run into a signature collector. We are going to be out in front of the downtown library on the next few Saturdays as well as updating the website on different areas where we will be collecting signatures.
Don't agree? You can sign the initiative and vote against it, your signature counts. Thank you.
Do we really care about Bend?
Do we the residents of Bend really care what the once beautiful, laid back city of Bend is becoming? Well, some of us do but we can't do it alone because we need you to question the Council and Planning Commission about their vision for the future of Bend. Are we going to allow unfettered development like that which is taking place off Century Drive and Colorado where the lot for a six-story building has been leveled to bare ground with nary a blade of grass or weed or heaven forbid a tree is left. Or like the recent Planning Commission approval of another six story, 297-unit structure that has been approved on a lot that has over 200 Ponderosa pines of which over 30 are mature carbon sequestering trees. This lot, bounded by Reed Market, Century and Mt. Bachelor Drive should be a park not a traffic-jamming monster higher than any tree on the lot. Is this what we want, well not I.
So are you happy that the Council gets to replace two members without any say from the voters? Just another way for the "development without rules" folks to control what should be "Our" town. We need to question potential Council candidates about their views of what Bend should be and vote out those in favor of unfettered development.
I weep when I think about what this town could have been, so should you.
RE: White Supremacy is No Longer Hiding in Plain Sight Opinion, 5/26
Please, do not stop. This scourge must be addressed. Children need to know what's right, equitable and true about human rights....for all people.
Letter of the Week:
Thanks, Richard! Appreciate the feedback. Come on by for your gift card to Palate.