Bend Adopts "Welcoming City" Resolution
The Bend City Council voted last week to approve a resolution designating Bend as "Welcoming City." With that move, Bend joins the National Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative, an organization of other cities and organizations across the country that share the value of creating a welcoming environment for immigrants, refugees and other people, regardless of "race, ethnicity, place of origin, or citizenship status." Bend City Councilors voted unanimously in favor of the resolution June 21.
Central Oregon's Latino Community Association and Central Oregon Strong Voice spearheaded the effort. While not the same designation as the "Sanctuary City" designation adopted by some cities nationwide, the resolution included language aimed at ensuring the city continues to "refrain from the use of City funds, personnel and equipment from enforcing federal immigration laws and detaining people solely on their immigration status," in line with Oregon state law.
Shevlin Park Expanding
Bend's Shevlin Park is expanding by more than 300 acres. A federal grant from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program—and a matching local donation—are allowing Bend Park and Recreation District to acquire 329 acres of open space next to Shevlin Park on Bend's western border. The area will be a "community forest" available for recreation, including bike and pedestrian trails, while also serving as a wildfire buffer and a migration area for winter deer herds.
The Miller family of Bend owns The Tree Farm, a residential neighborhood currently under development west of Miller Elementary.
"Our late father, William E. Miller, acquired this property over 60 years ago and was a careful steward of the land," said Charley Miller. "It has been our family's desire to make this beautiful property available to be enjoyed by the community for perpetuity."
BPRD collaborated with the Trust for Public Land to apply for the Forest Service grant that will allow them to acquire The Tree Farm open space at 50 percent of its fair market value. The remaining property value will donated by Tree Farm LLC.
Rainbow Gathering Gets Underway Near Burns
Thousands of people are expected to gather in the Malheur National Forest beginning this week, as part of the annual gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says the gathering is scheduled for July 1 through July 7.
According to Burns Paiute Tribal Chairman Joe DeLaRosa, the Rainbow Family—which holds numerous gatherings on public lands each year—has selected an area that contains a number of important archaeological and cultural resources.
"The Rainbow Family's proposed camp site is squarely within our ancestral territory," said Chairman DeLaRosa. "This land is sacred to us, and we hope they respect it."
A Facebook event created for the event states: "This gathering to hold open worship, prayer, from July 1-7, but upon the 4th fourth day of July 4th at high noon to ask that there be a meditative, contemplative silence." The group touts a non-violent, "pack it in pack it out philosophy."
According to DCSO, the Rainbow Gathering held in the Ochoco National Forest in 1997 involved 20,000 to 30,000 people, and caused "substantial impacts to the forest, forest roadways, state highways and nearby communities to include extraordinary demands on law enforcement, hospital and medical services, social services and businesses."