For this week’s “Bend Don’t Break” podcast we talk with Redmond City Councilor Clifford Evelyn. Evelyn won an insurgent victory in 2020 through a campaign of connecting with local business owners and others in the community, despite the constraints of COVID-19. Evelyn talked about how his message resonated with people who want to see more amenities in Redmond like restaurants, stores, movie theaters and even a bowling alley. Right now, as Redmond’s real estate market booms, most locals travel to Bend to shop and have fun, Evelyn said. He’d like to see more of that money circulating in Redmond.
Evelyn was born and raised in New York City where he attended both public and private schools before studying business administration at New York University. Later he joined the U.S. Navy where he became a Naval Officer. He was stationed in Portland, Oregon for a time which was his first experience in the Pacific Northwest. Later he moved to Clark County in Washington State (near Portland) to work for the Sheriff’s Department where he advanced up the ranks to Commander. Evelyn spoke about how he has been willing to play the role of educator and guide in the predominantly white communities he’s lived in for most of his adult life. He was the first person of color to serve in the Sheriff’s Department in Clark County, and the first POC to get elected to the Redmond City Council. One of his goals is helping Redmond become a more welcoming and diverse City.
Evelyn spoke about how important it was to have open, public discussions about race. He said he’s had multiple conversations with people flying Confederate flags from their trucks, for example.
Evelyn has been somewhat critical of the way Redmond has been run in the past. One major issue is that Redmond banned marijuana dispensaries in 2014 before it was legalized in the state: Evelyn argues that the City is leaving money on the table by not changing with the times. Last year, the City of Bend collected $1.5 million in marijuana tax revenues: $1 million came from the City’s own tax on dispensaries, and a half a million came from the State’s tax. Meanwhile residents of Redmond must travel to Bend or Madras to shop for cannabis.
Evelyn also would like the City to change the way it manages the Juniper Golf Course near the Redmond airport. Currently it is costing Redmond tax payers $34,000 a month with little return, Evelyn said.
“Bend Don’t Break” is hosted by the Source Weekly’s publisher Aaron Switzer and co-hosted by Laurel Brauns. Every week, we feature a guest from the community with a new perspective on living through the COVID-19 pandemic including mental health professionals, economists, educators, artists, business people, local leaders and historians.
Aaron Switzer is the founder and publisher of the Source. He remains fascinated with the art of communication even after being marinated in it for the past 30 years. He has many favorites but they pale in comparison to mountain biking on the middle fork of the Willamette with any family member who will go. Believes...