It's a week like no other. As I write this, the National Weather Service is clocking a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit in Bend—brutal temperatures that appear to be related to the deaths of two men over the weekend. On Wednesday, restrictions that have been in place around the pandemic will be lifted across the state. Renters unable to pay their rent will find it harder to avoid eviction. And businesses, after suffering so much hardship this year, continue to post signs alerting customers about more limited hours due to a lack of staff.
- @tonitstop / Instagram
- "The only place to be when it's 106 degrees..." You got that right, @tonitstop! Share your photos with us by tagging @sourceweekly on Instagram, and get featured in Saturday's Cascades Reader. Plus—featured photos get a free print from @highdesertframeworks.
A lot of heavy stuff in the midst of what is at the same time the busy summer recreation season.
While some of the losses we've experienced can't be replaced, I think it's safe to say that most businesses are starting to see the places where the light comes in. While supporting local business is always a great way to strengthen the local economy, another way to support and show your love is right inside this issue, which contains our Best of Central Oregon ballot. Fill it out in print or online at bendsource.com before July 9 to give your favorite places a boost!
Guest Opinion: Support for the Central LibraryOver a six-year period (2014-2020) library staff, consultants and architects had conversations with over 6,000 community members to settle on their final recommendation for the bond that was favorably voted on by our community this past November. I'm unclear as to why all of this diligent and responsible work is now being questioned. It seems that some do not like the new north Bend location, however this will actually be more accessible to many of our friends from Tumalo, Redmond and Sisters.
To reassess the location and function of this central location, would we need to delay construction of a much-needed solution by another six years?
The responsible work was already done and included conversations with regional realtors and the City of Bend's economic development staff. After all of the research and touring, library staff and the board agreed that the 12 acres at Highway 20 and Robal Road met the vision for the future Central Library for many reasons.
The planned location provides convenient access off two major arteries (Hwy 20 and 97) and is in close proximity to schools and residential areas. It is in a fast-growing area of the county with more residential, commercial, schools, and retail planned and is in close proximity to shopping, retail, public safety and fire services.
In addition, the Library studied and considered the option of creating many smaller neighborhood libraries instead of one larger, centrally located building and expanding/enhancing the existing libraries. After much research and discussion the board and staff decided against additional small, neighborhood libraries for many reasons. At the top of the list are cost to operate and staff and the lack of robust solutions for services that would benefit those small libraries.
The Library is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation to improve access on the roadways and with COIC/CTE on creating convenient bus routes that would serve all of our citizens across the county.
The Central Library project will install nature paths, walking paths, and bike paths for different access points to and from the library. The library is continuing to reach out to organizations and partners across the County to develop the most comprehensive plan for access and service for all people in Deschutes County.
It seems to me that we just need to get out of their way and let them complete the proposed and accepted plan so we can sooner enjoy the results of all their hard work.
—Brenda Speirs is a local business person and sits on the Bend Economic Advisory Board, or BEDAB. This is her personal opinion and does not include the opinions of the board. She is the president of Abilitree, an organization serving people with disabilities to lead lives of inclusion. She has previously been on the executive board of directors for AdFed of Central Oregon and for Opportunity Knocks, and she loves our library.
Mega-Dairy-fueled water crisisThe Guardian recently reported on the mega-dairy fueled water crisis in Arizona. It got me thinking about the future of Oregon's water supplies and small-scale family farms, especially as many Oregon counties face rapidly advancing drought conditions. Right now, Oregon state agencies are considering a permit application for a new 30,000 cow mega-dairy in Eastern Oregon. This facility would use the same amount of water as our community of Bend—while bringing a host of public health threats to nearby communities. Is green lighting a water-guzzling factory farm really what we should be considering as nearly 42% of Oregon's counties have requested drought status? Just last week our own Deschutes County Commission asked Gov. Brown to grant the county drought status. Large portions of Eastern and Central Oregon are facing a similar water crisis. It is clear Oregon is facing an alarming dry season that requires water conservation. Permitting a new mega-dairy would do the opposite. Arizona's situation gives us a preview of what could happen here if we continue to allow large, industrial factory farms into the state: dried up wells and aquifers and disappearing family farms. This isn't the future I want for Oregon. Instead Gov. Brown needs to use her power to deny the Easterday mega-dairy permit. Visit http://fwaction.us/BrownInd to sign your name and urge Gov. Brown to deny this disastrous mega-dairy permit and protect Oregon's water resources and family farms now and for years to come.
One step closer to protecting Oregon riversI am so happy to see that Senator Wyden's River Democracy Act recently had a hearing and is one step closer to the finish line. I have been a rafter since the early 1970s and have long understood the importance of rivers and the need for their protection.
Before I started rafting, I always loved the water. As a young child, my cousins and I would swim, throw rocks and hike up many rivers and streams simply because they were there. From a young age we understood that these areas were important for wildlife, and that they provided clean water for our homes and our communities. That has become even clearer in my adult life.
I've been fortunate to have many opportunities to float rivers and experience scenery that you can only see from the water–you're away from roads, with only one way in and one way out. But I recognize that not just those streams deserve protection, because in the blink of an eye rivers change, communities change and abuses can happen. It's better to protect what we know is valuable now, rather than try to bring it back from the brink later.
While I am getting older and do not float as often as I used to, I still love to visit and sit along a river or stream just for solitude. Regardless of how you enjoy these places, they are so special and future generations of Oregonians deserve to experience them as well.
Letter of the Week:Mary – Thanks for your reminder about this legislation. Come on by for your gift card to Palate!