The lengthy process to redefine the City's boundaries just took another step forward. The Urban Growth Boundary Steering Committee recently approved three options for Bend's future footprint to be evaluated in more detail. The proposed scenarios came out of research and deliberations by City staff, consultants, and the UGB Technical Advisory Committee. The steering committee will also look at other land identified as ripe for expansion, to see if they might better serve the project goals, which are: efficient use of land; orderly and economic provision of public facilities and services; comparative environmental, social, economic, and energy consequences; and compatibility of future urban use with nearby agricultural and forest activities outside the UGB. More information about the UGB expansion process is available on the City's website at bendoregon.gov/bendugb.
Stating the obvious, Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday declared July "Water Awareness Month" in an effort to raise awareness about drought conditions across the state and encourage Oregonians to conserve water. There are now 20 counties with officially declared drought emergencies, meaning about 98 percent of the state is experiencing drought. Other dire signs include: the lowest statewide snowpack levels in recorded history, the third highest average January-May temperature in the past 121 years, and lower than average rainfall. What's worse, some climate scientists are predicting that Oregon will lose most of its snowpack in the next 50 years.
But it wasn't all Debbie Downers from the Governor's office. On Monday, Gov. Brown signed legislation that would allow women to buy birth control at pharmacies without a doctor's prescription. The bill, introduced by Bend Rep. Knute Buehler, makes Oregon the second state to make contraception as easy to access for women as it is for men. California has passed similar legislation, but since it has not yet gone into effect, Oregon could be the first state to implement a change that is currently receiving national attention. The bill includes provisions for training pharmacists, offering a self-screening test for contraindications, and notifying the individual's primary care provider of their purchase.