In fall 2016, Bend 2030, the Bend Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Central Oregon held two forums offering education and public input opportunities on governance structure in Bend.
The forums asked the central question: Does our current governance structure give us the best leadership possible for addressing our complicated population, housing, transportation and livability issues?
Held on Sept. 20 and Nov. 1 of 2016, the forums focused on offering education about charter review issues and collecting public input on the following three core questions:
- Do residents from all parts of Bend feel represented by the current method of electing councilors at-large?
- Is it time for Bend’s mayor to be elected, or continue to be appointed by fellow councilors?
- Do city councilors have the right support structure and pay in order to do their job
Participants heard from regional experts then shared their thoughts at various interactive and free response stations. The results of the two forums are summed up in “Bend City Governance: Community Opinions and Recommendations on Charter Review.”
In February, a citizen committee made up of Kathleen Meehan Coop, Bill Galaway, Brent Landels, Don Leonard and Richard Ross shared the results of the forums with the Bend City Council and asked the Council to create a charter review committee to further investigate issues raised at the forums. Check out the Powerpoint of their presentation here.
- Bend is the largest city in Oregon without an elected mayor
- Residents living on the east side of Third Street have been dramatically underrepresented on City Council and City committees
- The overwhelming majority of forum participants support some changes to Bend’s governance structure to provide stronger and more representative leadership for Bend residents
- Specifically, 65 percent of participants said the best governance model for Bend would be one at-large elected mayor, four wards that would each elect one councilor, and two additional councilors elected at-large, with 35 percent suggesting other model
- 41 percent of participants said that the elected mayor should make a salary of more than $10,000 per year, with the other 59 percent of opinions split over lower amounts of pay
- 46 percent of participants said that councilor pay should remain the same, at $200 per month, with the other 54 percent of opinions split over larger amounts of pay
In March, in response to the charter review forums, the Bend City Council voted to form a charter review committee. Stay tuned for more information on this important community discussion!