“We asked: Does our current governance structure give us the best leadership possible?”
Bend 2030, the Bend Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Central Oregon held community forums offering education and public input opportunities on charter review in Bend.
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.”
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 in February, 2017 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.
Key data points from the forums included:
- 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 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.
- Salary increases should be part of the new model.
In March, in response to the charter review forums, the Bend City Council voted to form a charter review committee.
After meeting for many months, the committee recommended that the Bend City Council hold a citywide election in May 2018 to consider creating an elected mayor and a Ward System, and removing payment of mayor and council from the charter and creating a separate committee to determine pay.