Bend Chamber partners with City Club and Bend 2030 to present Bend governance charter review forums

Bend 2030, the Bend Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Central Oregon will partner to host two interactive public input forums on charter review on Sept. 20 and Nov. 1 at the Central Oregon Collective on Bend’s east side.

The two forums will feature educational presentations from the League of Oregon Cities and regional experts, as well as public input opportunities on core charter review questions such as:

  • 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 are encouraged to share any other charter review questions they have, as well.

“These forums are offering all Bend residents the chance to weigh in on a critical question for our city: Does our current governance structure give us the best leadership possible for addressing our complicated population, housing, transportation and livability issues,” said Erin Foote Morgan, executive director of Bend 2030, which partnered with City Club to offer an initial June forum on charter review at the Bend Livability Conference.

Bend’s form of government was established in 1929 with a city commission format — councilors are elected by the public, select a mayor from their own ranks and then together hire a manager to run the operations of the city. This form has been amended once, in 1995, to increase the number of councilors from three to seven.

In keeping with Bend Chamber’s “What’s Brewing” events, City Club’s monthly luncheons on diverse topics, and Bend 2030’s public input projects, these two charter review forums are designed to help residents understand the pros and cons of charter review options and weigh in with their own thoughts.

“The Bend Chamber believes a healthy community dialogue about the question of ‘What is the right governance structure to address challenges and identify opportunities for our community is important,” said Jamie Christman, executive vice president of community affairs for the Bend Chamber of Commerce. “This partnership with Bend 2030 and City Club on this educational series directly supports our mission to be a vital strategic partner creating resources and opportunities for member success, quality of life, engagement and meaningful impact.”

A report of the public input collected at the forums will be presented to the Bend City Council early next year along with recommendations from participants on how a formal charter review process might be best structured. Any charter review changes would require approval by vote of Bend residents. Ballot measures may be brought to voters by the city council directly, or through a public petition process.

“City Club believes in nonpartisan forums where people can rationally and calmly discuss important issues from a variety of viewpoints,” said Joey Drucker, executive director of City Club of Central Oregon. “With the current growth Bend is experiencing, now is a great time for citizens to intentionally shape our community. Our leaders are listening.”

The forums are free, and refreshments will be served at no cost.

EVENT DETAILS:
Charter Review Forum One
5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20
Central Oregon Collective
62070 27th Street, in Bend

Charter Review Forum Two
5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1
Central Oregon Collective
62070 27th Street, in Bend

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