The Bend Livability Project, held June 2-5, exceeded fundraising, partnership, volunteering and participation expectations earning more than $115,000 in cash and in-kind donations, involving more than 30 partner organizations and 130 volunteers, and educating, empowering and engaging an estimated 3,500 participants in shaping the future of our city.
The four-day event series, which was sponsored by Hayden Homes, the Bend Tech Ecosystem and about 30 other sponsors included a Bendfilm event at the Tower Theater, a massive celebration of our future at Art Walk, a full-day conference at COCC and a day of boots-on-the-ground action across Bend. The Project weekend will have a lasting impact in Bend through the creation of new art pieces, strengthened community partnerships, greater awareness of changes on the Bend horizon and how we can affect them, and through the creation of several new programs focused on transportation, housing, neighborhood livability, arts funding and charter review.
Among the new projects created by community members over the Bend Livability Project weekend are:
· A mural designed by teens at Basecamp Studio and painted by community members at Art Walk
· A second large mural depicting Bend’s future painted by Fontana Painting
· A petition to encourage the City of Bend to alter the city’s sign code to allow for the High Desert Mural Festival to be held this October in the Makers District
· A new literary project called Tiny Hey inviting youth to write a letter to the future about making Bend better
· A movie created by BendFilm of Bend residents sharing their vision for the future that is expected to be shown at the BendFilm Festival this fall
· The gathering of community input to be used for a special project at the Bend Design Conference this fall
· A permanent kit of painting supplies, stencils and materials for creating temporary bike lanes and other bike and pedestrian safety projects
· The creation of the Eastside Coalition focused on advocating for livability issues on Bend’s Eastside
· The formation of a collaborative housing policy work group focused on supporting developers to create more workforce housing
· The development of videos of 15 sessions at the Livability Conference that will soon become available for viewing online
“We have been overwhelmed by how deeply the Livability Project resonated with Bend residents who used the platform of these events to create the community projects they see as valuable for making Bend better,” said Erin Foote Morgan, executive director of Bend 2030, which organized the project with a community steering committee.
Now the Livability Project and Bend 2030 will turn attention to engaging Bend residents in a slate of new initiatives focused on transportation, housing, neighborhood livability, arts funding and charter review that are launching with the momentum of the project. To learn more about these new initiatives and to get involved go to bendlivability.org.
“The purpose of these new initiatives is to empower Bend residents of all backgrounds to understand that they have the ability to guide the outcomes of the challenges facing our city as we grow,” said Foote Morgan, “In every city, policy is influenced by those showing up with concrete ideas and a willingness to work together to accomplish goals. This project is about providing the support for people to create and champion the solutions they believe we should be enacting to protect and enhance the livability of our city.”