Source Weekly: What is your age, occupation and political affiliation?
Mark Capell: I am 54 years old (55 on September 30). I own a computer service company (CMIT Solutions) with five employees. I am a Democrat.
SW: How long have you lived in Bend?
MC: I grew up in Bend and graduated from Bend High. My family has been here for 99 years. I moved away in 1988 for my corporate career and moved home 12 years ago.
SW: Why do you want to be a City Councilor?
MC: I love Bend. I want it to be the very best city it can be. As Bend grows, we need to make sure that it remains the place we love and the place we want to be. To do this will require careful planning. It also means making sure that we have the jobs available that allow us to live here. I have been on the City Council for almost eight years. In that time, I have been a strong supporter of thoughtful infrastructure planning and of making the City an easier place to do business. Bend is a very beautiful place. I am committed to protect the natural beauty that brought us all here.
SW: How many City Council meetings have you attended in the past year?
MC: If you don’t count the committee meetings, I would guess that I have attended 22 Council meetings in the last year.
SW: Have you previously held a public office or participated on a civic committee?
MC: I was elected to the Bend City Council in November, 2006 and was reelected in November, 2010. I am Chair of Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization, Chair of Bend Urban Renewal Agency, Member of Deschutes Water Alliance Board, and a member of the Deschutes River Conservancy Board.
SW: Names three things you hope you change if elected.
MC: 1) Infrastructure. We need to improve our roads, water, and sewer infrastructure so that we are prepared for the future. I have been a champion of our sewer and water projects. Those two areas now have solid plans and funding. Our current weakness is transportation and that will be a high priority for the Council in 2015. The G.O. bond was a good first step but we need a longer-term plan including how to fund it. 2) Transit. The largest budget and revenue challenge the City is facing right now is Transit funding. The agreement to fund transit (to COIC) at $1 million per year from the General Fund expires in 2015. This was a five-year agreement with the hope of COIC finding long term funding. I am committed to either finding another source of funding or keeping this as a General Fund expense. We then need to increase transit funding so that service can be increased, allowing the transit system to go after the “Choice” riders (these are people who have the option to choose to ride instead of drive). 3) River Flow. We need to increase stream flows in the basin. We have made great strides in the last 10 years but we still have a long way to go. By working together, it is very achievable to get the Ag folks the water they need, the Cities the water they need, and greatly improve stream flow.
SW: What’s your take on Mirror Pond, the UGB and vacation rentals?
MC: Mirror Pond. I prefer Black Butte Porter myself. Seriously, City Council and the Park District Board, including me, voted unanimously to try to save Mirror Pond. That said, I understand there is a segment of our community that would like to see the dam removed and the pond returned to the river. I believe there is a compromise worthy of exploring that will allow the pond to remain, the dam removed, and the river allowed to function more like a natural system. I believe this can be done without raising taxes but through public/private partnerships. In the end we all win with this approach.
UGB. We need to complete the UGB expansion as soon as possible. Right now, we have very little land available for a business that wants to move to Bend. That scarcity inflates prices for commercial and industrial land, making it more difficult for local businesses to expand and new businesses to move here. I would hope that greater than 80 percent of the expected population growth in the current UGB process will be accommodated in our current boundary. We have quite a bit of residential land (particularly in the southeast) that is inside our City limits but not developed due to lack of supporting infrastructure. We are working on the infrastructure right now.
Vacation Rentals. The vacation rental issue has created strong passion on both sides. The first real discussion on this issue will be at the September 17 Council meeting. I have asked for more data from City staff. For instance, how many noise complaints or other police issues have we had at existing vacation rentals. Some folks have expressed concern about ruining the neighborhood feel and friendliness and others have supported vacation rentals for business reasons or because they are generally kept up better than long-term rentals. I am looking forward to hearing what people have to say at the meeting and trying to come up with an answer that works for most viewpoints.
SW: Why are you the best person for the job?
MC: Bend is my home. I care about it and I want to make sure it remains the place we all love. I have been a voice on Council in favor of long-term thinking. Let’s build smart infrastructure and plan for the future.
SW: What’s the best and worst thing about Bend?
MC: BEST: I really am proud of and like the friendliness of Bend. I love it that people that don’t know each other, say hi as they walk past each other downtown. As Bend grows, we need to make sure we keep this feeling. WORST: I wish more people paid attention to what is going on at the City. The same people show up regularly at Council meetings and get involved in committees. We need more participation.
SW: What’s your favorite band/musician?
MC: Dan Hick and His Hot Licks at the Tower Theatre in May!
SW: What "Simpsons" character do you most identify with?
MC: Lisa Simpson because she thinks of creative solutions and considers the consequences.
Mark Capell is running against local physician Nathan Boddie.