Bend Urban Growth Decisions: New Opportunities to Create a More Livable Bend
The Urban Growth Boundary Remand
In 2010, the state Land Conservation and Development Commission denied Bend's urban growth boundary expansion proposal. The proposed 8400 acre expansion would have added nearly 40% to the amount of land that Bend currently occupies.
LCDC's decision (called a “remand”) was a victory for residents that want Bend to grow sustainably. The City's proposal would have created more sprawl and reduced opportunities to provide better transportation options in Bend. 1000 Friends anticipates a substantial reduction in the overall expansion as the city looks to use existing UGB land more efficiently.
About the Bend UGB Remand Task Force
To oversee the revision process, Bend’s City Council appointed a five person Remand Task Force (RTF), comprised of City Councilors Jodie Barram, Jim Clinton, and Tom Greene, as well as Planning Commissioners Kevin Keillor and Cliff Walkey. According to Bend’s City Council, “The mission of the UGB RTF is to make recommendations to the City Council regarding responses to all issues raised in the LCDC remand order requiring action by the governing body. The City Council's final consideration of actions in response to the remand order, during formal public hearings, will be based on recommendations made by the RTF and on public input.” The RTF won't be officially taking public testimony until later in the process, when it moves from holding meetings to hearings. Until then, citizens are welcome to write letters or present oral comments at scheduled meetings, although this testimony might not be included in the final record.
The remand task force has completed most of the “easy” tasks on the remand. Those are the issues that could be resolved by the city explaining its decision better, based on existing data. The results of all those meetings can be found here.
The hard tasks include updating the public facilities plan (primarily the sewer plan) and planning for a long term reduction in vehicle miles traveled by city residents. Both tasks will require new evidence and analysis, and 1000 Friends is involved in both.
If would like to learn more about participating in the UGB remand process - or just want to be kept up to date on UGB activities, please contact Pam Hardy, firstname.lastname@example.org, or (541) 719-8221.
Sewer Infrastructure Advisory Group
100 years ago the city of Bend laid its first clay sewer lines under what is now downtown. Those pipes are still being used today and are still influencing how downtown can grow. Because they are so old, and so small, they are limiting development downtown, and throughout the city. During the real estate boom around 2006 Bend developed a plan to upgrade and expand its sewer system. At the time there was so much pressure for development that an expensive extension to serve distant parts of the city seemed both affordable and justified. If Bend had implemented the plan as described sewer rates would double in ten years to about $80/month. That’s too expensive for a plan that builds in inefficient sprawl instead of livability.
1000 Friends is working with community leaders from a variety of perspectives to create a different vision. Where Bend places sewer lines now will determine the shape of development for the next hundred years, just as the sewer lines built in 1912 have shaped downtown Bend until now. 1000 Friends is working to make sure that the policies Bend choses will create a sustainable, prosperous community far into the future.
Finalizing a realistic sewer plan for the city is one of many necessary tasks to be completed before the Bend urban growth boundary can be completed. For more information onthe Sewer Infrastructure Advisory Group see the City’s webpage.
Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled in the City of Bend
If Bend can justify an expansion of its Urban Growth Boundary, the city must also show that the new plan will either reduce vehicle miles traveled by 5% or that this reduction will occur in a reasonable amount of time. OAR 660-012-0035.
“Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) is the standard measurement of how many miles people in an area drive. Reducing average per capita VMT reduces greenhouse gases and other pollution associated with vehicle travel. Recent studies have shown that increasing active transportation like biking, walking, and even taking transit, also has a positive effect on public health.
The Bend Transit Advisory Council
One of Bend’s first efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled was to analyze the city’s existing public transit system and make recommendations about how the city might increase ridership. 1000 Friends sat on the Technical Advisory Committee that oversaw this study and provided comments along the way. The project is almost complete. The latest information may be found at the city’s webpage at http://www.bendoregon.gov/index.aspx?page=122.
Getting Bend on Bikes
Another effective way to reduce vehicle miles traveled is to increase miles traveled by bicycle. 1000 Friends is part of a newly formed group called Bend Bikes, which will be advocating for better urban bike infrastructure and better urban biking culture, such as bike-to-work days, bicycle clothing events, coupons to bicycle stores, and more. 1000 Friends is contributing technical support by helping research effective bike transportation infrastructure; local, state and national programs; and funding opportunities. Bend Bikes is considering developing a Citizen’s Bike Plan that would include policies and routes to increase urban biking in Bend. For more information call Pam Hardy at (541) 914-9698.