A new citizens’ group has been formed by dozens of Bend residents dedicated to “keeping Bend livable for those who live here.”
Organized by experienced community volunteers, the Bend Neighborhood Coalition, Inc. will use lobbying and political action to influence public policies that protect the quality of life in Bend’s residential neighborhoods. Members will also advise one another on how best to address local concerns and foster an ongoing civic dialog on neighborhood livability.
The Neighborhood Coalition grew out of discussions by people involved in local issues, including vacation rentals, OSU’s new campus, chronic noise and parking problems, liquor license saturation, and safe streets. After working separately in advisory groups, task forces, neighborhood associations, and ad hoc committees, they saw a need to join together to influence underlying policies.
Priorities for 2016 include: reviewing proposed changes to city code and zoning to assess impacts on existing neighborhoods and how best to mitigate potential conflicts; addressing incompatible land uses that generate noise, traffic, and parking problems; promoting effective code enforcement; creating a university district to facilitate a compact and complete campus; and identifying pro-neighborhood livability candidates for the 2016 City Council election.
In addressing the kickoff meeting of the coalition, steering committee chair Bill Bernardy said, “This effort is not about being anti-growth, anti-business, anti-tourism, anti-university, or anti-fun. It’s about striking a balance. Even business owners and their employees want to live where kids can play, it’s safe to walk and bike, and everyone can get a quiet night’s sleep.”
The group expects that protecting the quality of life in Bend’s residential neighborhoods will sometimes mean challenging policies and practices that have negative impacts on residential areas. “Rather than just complain, though,” said Bernardy, “we’ll be putting constructive solutions on the table, especially ones that have worked in other cities.”