In Response to Eyes on the Money (6/28)
Bend's Approach to Un-checked Growth, Dumb and Dumber
I read with interest, The Source's "Eyes on the Money." Certain things jumped out. Over the next two years, the City will allocate nearly $60 million for updated/expanded sewer service to accommodate and enable local development interests, while spending a meager $5.2 million for "street preservation" for its citizens. Now that's telling.
As a resident who lives on an unmaintained, dirt (not even gravel) street, one block from Wall St., the other 11 households and I are wondering when the City is going to take care of people who are already here and quit focusing on the folks they are trying to lure to Bend in the future. Perhaps money could be shifted from Visit Bend and other self-serving, business-booster organizations which consume "transient room tax" revenues to bring the City's existing infrastructure up to snuff. And besides, don't we have enough tourists and California emigrants as it is?
But back to growth and planning. I'd like to challenge Mayor Roat's idea of trying to accommodate Bend's skyrocketing growth, "Because it's coming and no one can stop it." Well Mr. Mayor, that's because a council that's joined at the hip with the Chamber of Commerce and builders/developers has no desire to control runaway growth, much less stop it. And there appears to be no interest in applying "smart growth" strategies. You know, like incorporating the concepts of "livability": creating distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place; or making development decisions that are predictable, fair and cost-effective.
Why not follow the lead of progressive places like Boulder and Aspen, CO; Brea, CA; Silver Springs, MD who successfully tapped the brakes on growth? Maybe you can't "stop it" Mr. Mayor, even if you wanted to, but you can do a hell of a better job of planning for and controlling it. But that will take leadership and the guts to take on the very supporters that put you in that chair.
Finally, there's City Manager King's call for a "gut check," pondering if Bend's economy is "sustainable." One question: Were you here in 2009 Mr. King? That, in itself, is ample reason to take another look at The Source's Opinion piece on pursuing a City Charter Amendment. This town is in need of some serious reflection and change. And we're highly unlikely to get that with the same governmental system, the same recycled "leaders" and the good-ole-boy influences that sustain it.
— Harry Williamson
In Response to, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Tours Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument with Rep. Walden (7/15)
I am in District 2 of Oregon. Please don't sell off public land. I value being able to hike, camp, fish and explore public lands along with thousands of other Oregonians. Selling it off seems like it would only benefit a handful of companies.
— Emily Barnes Zamarripa, via facebook.com
Dear Middle-Aged Man Driving The Brown Porsche
As I carefully pulled out onto Galveston avenue this lovely Sunday afternoon, imagine my surprise when I glanced in my rearview mirror to see your angry face holding up the F.U. finger at me. I truly did not see you coming down Galveston and you speeding up to ride my bumper could not and would not change that fact.
There's a few things I've learned living in Bend for almost 20 years direct from downtown Chicago — and one of them is to be very careful of how we react to one another on the road. This is a small town and I just might be the owner of your favorite restaurant or on the board of your children's school (or perhaps grandchildren in your case), or we might belong to the same club, etc.
You catch my drift? How embarrassing to be caught flicking off one's own neighbor or dry cleaner?! Believe me, I've been there. But I learned fast. Bendites, do not flick people off or honk. Like ever. You might as well wear a sign that says TOURIST or a bumper sticker that says "I just moved here with my big city attitude and I am still adjusting. Forgive me."
We all have those days on the road — and I am guilty of it too — but the biggest difference I have found driving in a small town is that people actually give the other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Meaning, I did look very carefully and I am glad we did not have an accident, but next time you may want to consider that the person did not actually see you, instead of believing the worst: that I pulled out in front of you just to piss you off? Ummm...how likely is that, really?
As our town's infrastructure is stretched to the limit, it's a great opportunity to remember that we are all just doing our best out there. Thanks "Porsche Man" for inspiring me to speak up!
— Tory Junkin
In Response to, Unsolicited Accolades (7/5)
How do you feel about all of the eyeballs you are giving to Outside Magazine? Seriously — at this point it is best for us as a community to ignore the "best ofs" and the boosters and just get on with trying to solve the problems our addiction to tourism have caused us before we kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Maybe the Source needs to go cold turkey on interviews with Visit Bend. To paraphrase Upton Sinclair — it is difficult to get a man to understand a problem when his salary requires that he not understand it.
— John Mundy via facebook.com
I'm over it. Can't even go to my favorite places without 2 hour waits or packed parking lots. Solitude is gone. Cost of living is outpacing the salaries of the people who have made Bend great.
— Mike Arrera, via facebook.com
I would so much rather be "best at" things like living wages, affordable housing, infrastructure, and homeless prevention. And I wish that type of thing was lauded in glossy magazines.
— Laura Camacho, via facebook.com