Results from the Bend City Council Candidates forum on growth and transportation

Bend city council candidates1000 Friends of Oregon recently partnered with The Environmental Center, COTV11 and KPOV to host a forum on the future of growth and transportation in Bend. Four of the six candidates running for City Council participated and below are notes taken from their responses.

Thank you for taking the time to consider their answers. It is our hope that you will join us in holding our candidates accountable for their promises to create an even more livable Bend if they are elected.

 

Transportation:

1. How important are bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements for Bend’s future? Please describe your vision of Bend’s ideal transportation system and be as specific as possible in how you would fund it.

Ron Boozell
Rides 10-20 miles a day on bike which makes it easy to discover issues. I.e. - dodging potholes, etc. reference to fatality. Not sure how we will do it. Answers should come from the community.

Mark Capell
Firm believer in bike/ped. People want alternatives. Reduce pollution. In near future, council will update SDC’s, should include bike/ped projects. Working on getting proposals ready to go for additional state grants to help fund bike/ped infrastructure improvements.

Jodie Barram
Very important. Organize walk and bike to school day. Pay for it in a fashion that is similar to now. Dedicated millions of $$. In future, we need more $. Consolidating FD with rural FD to create own district. Improve efficiency and help fund.

Chuck Arnold
Very important issue. Regular bike commuter for many years. Ability to enjoy the place we live. Very important. Founding member of LA bike coaltion. Very challenging. Volunteer for commute options, worked as a transportation planner for public parks. Funding - federal grants. Overall about quality of life and scale of our city.

2. Do you support better public transit service (for example: more routes, more frequent buses, and/or longer service hours, etc.) to better serve more Bend residents? Please explain your vision for public transit in Bend and what ideas you have to provide stable funding for transit?

Ron Boozell
Stable funding - don’t believe that people know how much money we don’t have. We need to think differently. Need to stop borrowing and spending. Local stimulus - look at property taxes and SDC’s and look at credit program. Huge supporter of busses.

Mark Capell
Yes, I do support transit, it was his idea to go merge BAT and COIC. By combining we can get economies of scale. Coordination and efficiencies. Need to get to a regional transit district. Most $$ for transit comes from feds. COIC needs to prove themselves.

Jodie Barram
My ideas are way bigger than the budget. We need better transit. Need to improve headway times for busses. Busses need to be faster. Need to make it more convenient. Combine with resources that we have now. How to pay for it - failure of recent measures indicates that it is not popular to pay through property taxes. Don’t have a direct answer. Up to voters.

Chuck Arnold
Funding is issue very sensitive. We are all paying for these things – $14 in a gallon of gas. It’s all subsidized. We need to pay for it somehow. Hope that we can get good traction with COIC. Differs from opponent - who wants lots less funding. We have an obligation as a community to help people get around.

Growth:

1. Compact growth is a concept that includes housing near important commercial, employment & other destinations (schools, parks, etc) and better range of transportation options (walking, biking, transit use, and car pooling). Should compact growth be a core principle in planning Bend’s future? If so, why? If not, why not?

Ron Boozell
Piggy back onto Chuck. Biggest point - those who come to make their fortunes here should pay the lion’s share of it.

Mark Capell
Part of the planning process. Some want to live within compact growth (ie NWX), some don’t. Huge fan of central area plan - pushing us to move forward on this. Redevelopment of 3rd st. corridor, connecting to downtown.

Jodie Barram
Yes, density should be part of it. We need to grow smartly, supporter of compact growth. Also embedded in Bend 2030 vision. Needs to be a choice for people. Believes in the Central area plan.
 

Chuck Arnold
Strong supporter of Transit oriented development. Look for infill development in UGB to keep compact nature in the city. Encourage high investment in land use in our core area. If we sprawl, we will really pay the price down the road. Density and infill.

2. The City of Bend created a Central Area Plan 3 years ago for downtown that includes recommendations for higher housing densities and employment and commercial areas around Bend’s core and out to 3rd Street. The new commercial developments proposed by the plan literally cannot get building permits because there is currently inadequate sewer service in downtown Bend to accommodate any growth. What do you think about the Central Area Plan? What should be done to improve the current infrastructure that is inadequate to serve future growth envisioned for this area?

Ron Boozell
Don’t have enough information to answer.

Mark Capell
CAP should move forward. Murphy road - big project for sewer infrastructure. That will increase capacity downtown and help move it along. We can still be planning for development within Bend’s core so that when we make the necessary improvements, we are ready to grow.

Jodie Barram
We are planning for this at the city. Recently applied for a grant to work on the planning so we are ready to go when needed, but still in the future for a couple of years. Critical that it moves forward. Future population will be in the city limits.

Chuck Arnold
ED of Downtown Bend Biz Association. Served on committee for CAP until they ran out of money. Dire situation and has been challenging. Highest and best use. We have opp. for downtown to look at highest and best use of land and use it as economic driver. We need to attract businesses downtown and we need that capacity.

3. What parts of the City's recent Urban Growth Boundary amendment package do you agree / disagree with, and why? What is your opinion of the way the State has handled Bend’s UGB expansion proposal?

Ron Boozell
UGB issues confound me. 20 year Bend resident. We haven’t built very well.

Mark Capell
Need 30 minutes for this! The city has done some things well and also made some mistakes. Good job of UGB process. Mistake - council decision that we went for the higher end range of added acreage. Should have gone for the lower end. How we can fix that process - do smaller UGB expansions rather than big ones.

Jodie Barram
Add on to what Mark said. Agree that we should have gone with the smaller proposal. Director of DLCD has the best interests, but staff has been driving some of the issues. They did not give us clear direction and we wasted a bunch of money.

Chuck Arnold
Thankful not to be running against Mark or Jodie. Agrees with everything they said. Important that we grow by design, not by default. Concerned that there could have been better due diligence with UGB. Frustrating process.

4. Give us an example of one really good development in Bend and one bad development & explain why your reasons for each.

Ron Boozell
Good development - ???
Bad example - the parkway, reference to bicycle deaths. Non-safe project for bikes.

Mark Capell
Good development - NWX, Old Mill, Village Wistoria - urban infill is great.
Bad development - how do you legislate good taste? Bad development - Pilot Butte Inn that was torn down.

Jodie Barram
Good development - all the ones that I approved on the planning commission. Commercially - the old mill district. Residentially - NWX. Habitat projects!
Bad development - the bypass.

Chuck Arnold
Bad development - things that are far away and increase driving. Would not buy a house more than 3 miles from Bend. Compact, tight.
Good development - Compact, tight. The Old Mill.

5. What role can land use planning play in promoting sustainable economic development.

Ron Boozell
Bend community garden project. Use undeveloped properties. There are lots of people/volunteers wanting to do this. A way to create values and fight subsidies of big food industry.

Mark Capell
There are a large # of companies who want to be where employees can walk to work, etc. Master Planned developments can be great economic drivers. Juniper ridge, NWX.

Jodie Barram
Appreciate sustainable economic development - triple bottom line. The decisions we make today need to be social, economic, and ecologic. Thinking of the future.

Chuck Arnold
Need transit oriented development. Create spaces that companies want to move into. Businesses want to be in downtown core. We have great opp. for manufacturing jobs to come here.

Panel of community leaders each ask candidates one question (30 minutes)

1. Amanda Devalla will be asking candidates to suggest ways to encourage water conservation among commercial and residential sectors.

Ron Boozell
Education is key here and always the answer. Would rather have the community make these decisions rather than implementing rules. Personally conserves water at home. We all need to change our habits. Pipe delivery issue?

Mark Capell
Have an underfunded program already. Waterwise program to encourage conservation. On the board for Deschutes water alliance. These orgs work together for 3 goals. By working together, we can accomplish all of these.

Jodie Barram
Encourage homeowners to conserve. City is starting to change how we bill for water. Reduce rates down to lower usage - from 400 to 200. This will bring about better conservation.

Chuck Arnold
Dealt with this in previous job in California. Learned at Bend 2030 - challenge - getting the water out to water rights folks, lose a lot of water out of canals. Would love to get the landscape industry on board. Very concerned about over watering on landscape use.

2. Joe Checketts is asking candidates if they feel City Council should be able to influence CCNR's.

Ron Boozell
Libertarian speech - don’t like regulating much. Make your bed, now lie in it. People aren’t forced to live in these communities.

Mark Capell
Not appropriate for city to get involved. But worthy of a conversation - help HOA change this.

Jodie Barram
City not appropriate role. Get on the board of your HOA and try to change the rules.

Chuck Arnold
Went through this challenge on my house. Not a government role to regulate, but city can lead on this. Opportunity for city to show leadership role.

3. Kate Wells is asking how candidates plan to improve our transit system with a baseline goal of reducing obesity.

Ron Boozell
Huge supporter of bus system. But voted against it - shouldn’t take $ from federal government. Father first, never trained kids to drink sodas. Feeding your kids soda needs to stop.

Mark Capell
Fan of transit. His idea to combine with coic to get to regional transit district. City had a grant to set up multi-modal center on 3rd street. Didn’t have matching funds, so moved the $ to COIC to get it down. Bike and ped trails - need multi-modal to improve quality of life.

Jodie Barram
Yes, regional transit should be a priority. Need to make sure we include bike racks and make it easier for people to have options. Participated in walk/bike to school. Need to do a better job of connecting our kids.

Chuck Arnold
HACO brought together all pieces together. Shocking that people drive their kids ½ mile to school. Need educate and encourage. Need more discussions around multi-modal. Engineering, education, encouragment. Bike corral downtown. Would love to see more employers get involved.

Concluding remarks:

Ron Boozell
The challenge is to recognize that we are in times of economic opportunity. We need to consider a different way - volunteerism. Example of local food - hard because it’s too $$. We need to set an example. Stop stuffing paper and using plastic signs that take 1000s of years to go away.

Mark Capell
Family from Bend for 100 years. I love bend. Have small business with 7 staff. Used to work for American airlines. Planning and budgeting experience important for council work. But understand what challenges small businesses. Disappointed that Mosely chose to no-show. He believes that humans do not cause climate change. Also concern that M $ comes from builders and real estate.

Jodie Barram
Promote small businesses, protected landscapes. It’s about the community. We believe that what is best for Bend. It is not just one person, council represents you. Encourage everyone to vote. Grateful to residents of Bend for allowing me the opportunity to serve.

Chuck Arnold
Thanked everyone. Enjoyable. Disappointed that opponent, Scott Ramsay did not show up. Small business owner before. Been involved in community in just 5 years and on many volunteer committees.