New Resorts and Good Old Boys | Editorial | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Opinion » Editorial

New Resorts and Good Old Boys


1 comment

Keith Cyrus is chairman of the Deschutes County Planning Commission. There's no problem with that. He also has a golf course subdivision that he wants to turn into a destination resort - no problem with that either.

But when Keith Cyrus, the chairman of the planning commission, uses his position to push the agenda of Keith Cyrus, the would-be resort developer, that's a problem. A big one.

Cyrus, whose family has farmed in Central Oregon for nearly a century, has been trying for years to convert his Aspen Lakes subdivision near Sisters into a destination resort. To accomplish that, he needs to have it included in the county's map of areas designated for such purposes.

Under a new comprehensive plan developed by county staff through a year-long process and presented eight months ago, Aspen Lakes and other already-developed subdivisions would have been removed from the destination resort zone. But in February, the planning commission voted to put "cluster subdivisions" - a category that includes Aspen Lakes and only three other residential developments in the county - back on the destination resort map, apparently clearing the way for Cyrus to go ahead with his project. The planners also recommended bringing a passel of other new areas - including almost 60,000 acres now zoned for exclusive farm use - into the destination resort zone.

Cyrus has always been careful to recuse himself when the planning commission takes a vote on the destination resort mapping issue. But there are ways to influence things without actually casting a vote, and Cyrus hasn't been shy about using them.

According to former planning commission members and minutes of commission meetings, Cyrus has freely taken part in discussions about destination resorts, including his own project. He also admits he's discussed the issue with his fellow commissioners in informal settings, including a planning commission retreat a year ago.

All this prompted the local chapter of the Sierra Club to send a letter to the county commission asking that Cyrus "be required to explain why he feels he cannot only participate in, but direct meetings when he has a direct financial stake in the outcome of destination resort remapping." But the county commission brushed the criticism off and Cyrus continued his lobbying efforts.

The Oregon Public Meeting Law says that "a quorum of a governing body may not meet in private for the purpose of deciding on or deliberating toward a decision on any matter." When Cyrus had his little chats with his colleagues about his pet project, the letter of the law may not have been violated - but the spirit definitely was. The whole process has been tainted with an unsavory aroma of good-old-boyism.

Cyrus, incredibly, has claimed that serving on the planning commission actually hurts his chances of fulfilling his resort dream. "It would better serve our interests to be sitting in the audience," he told a reporter.

If that's true, there's nothing to stop him from resigning from the commission and making all the comments he wants from the audience. To help him along, here's THE BOOT.

About The Author

Speaking of The Boot


Showing 1-1 of 1


Add a comment

More by Source Weekly