Even in Central Oregon, people become victims of human trafficking and intimate partner violence on a regular basis. Students at local schools pose credible shooting threats against their schools. Kids live in poverty. People remain homeless.
But beyond the really heavy stuff, what's sure to draw the ire and raise protest among locals? The prospect of easing the housing crisis in Bend with the construction of more apartments in the inner part of the city.
As we reported in the online story, "Proposed Apartment Building Draws Ire" on Feb. 27, at least a few neighbors in the River West neighborhood are concerned about the construction of a new apartment building on a currently-empty lot next to Bend Park and Recreation's Pavilion. Among their concerns: parking and congestion, though it also smacks of NIMBYism.
Seattle-based Evergreen Housing already has a track record of building attractive, much-needed housing in Bend, as evidenced by the construction of apartments on the east side of Pilot Butte. Since they've successfully housed hundreds of people in Bend through that project, we venture to stay they understand the ins and outs of what's required of them in order to build housing in Bend.
But really, we couldn't say it better than a reader who commented on the story on our website:
"Is the property zoned for apartments? Yes! Was the property for sale and available for ANYONE to purchase for $4.9M? Yes! Will the developer have to meet the requirements for ingress/egress, density, height restrictions, parking and infrastructure improvements due any impact on the surrounding area? Yes!
"Why then, is this developer being harassed by a few NIMBY residents who do not understand zoning, market conditions and the economics and housing demand of a growing city? Maybe these neighboring residents fail to understand private property rights? This is not public property, and the developer must meet code and zoning requirements already in place on this vacant dirt. Unfortunately, appeasing the vocal minority is not one of the city's requirements to build a large project. My money is on the developer who plunked down $5M on raw land, not a few emotional neighbors. If the neighbors prefer to control someone else's investment, then they should have bought this land themselves. Oh, can't afford it? Then sit down and mind your own business.
"Who am I? While I do not have a horse in this race, call me a concerned citizen who supports the rights of PRIVATE PROPERTY... both mine and yours."
In addition to the fact that this piece of property in the center of town is indeed zoned for this type of development, there's the larger issue of misdirected protest, which we mentioned before.
How many times must Bendites hear that there's a housing crisis in our city before we realize that increased housing inventory, even in our own "backyards" is a solution?
Were residents in the River West neighborhood—some of whom also recently successfully spearheaded the restriction of outdoor shows in Bend—to put their energies into the more pressing issues named in the first paragraph here, we'd all be better off.