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Two Council Members Absent and One Delayed

City Council Recap – August 15, 2018

Courtesy: Tor Hanson, Bend Chamber Special Projects Reporter

City council operated on a slim margin at their August 15 meeting. Mayor Casey Roats was excused from the meeting while Councilor Nathan Boddie was missing due to family illness. Finally, vacationing Councilor Bruce Abernethy ended up being delayed flying home from the east coast.

 

Septic-To-Sewer Listening Session

Bend city council held a two-hour long listening session at their August 15 meeting. This is the second opportunity for the homeowners in the improvement area to voice their opinions regarding the septic-to-sewer improvement area around Kings Forest. The first was at an Old Farm District Neighborhood Association meeting on August 11 with city staff in attendance.

As promised at their July 18 meeting, the council invited home owners to speak in front of city council. Considering the well-advertised event, the council chamber had more chairs that normal, but even with the added seating capacity, the attendants eventually spilled out in the hallway.

Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell told the assembly the council would listen, but not make any comments in regards to any comments from the speakers. She also made sure the speakers and audience followed strict decorum – no jeering or cheering. For the most part, the audience honored the request.

There are nearly 2,800 households that are still on septic systems throughout Bend. The largest concentration of households on septic tanks are located in the SE part of Bend, south of Reed Market Road, west of the irrigation canal and east of 15th Street. The recently finished SE Interceptor (SEI) moves through the neighborhoods on its way to SE 27th. The septic-to-sewer project will impact approximately 600 households in the Kings Forest neighborhood.

After an introduction by City Tom Hickman, Russell turned over the microphone to the audience. Noting there were over 50 visitors who announced their attention to speak in front of the council, statistically speaking, only 40 could speak during the allotted time. She also offered up the possibility of a third listening session on August 29 at the Bend Senior Center.

Although most of the speakers at the podium politely addressed the council, several of the commentators showed frustration. The speakers offered up many options for the city to pay for the septic-to-sewer project. Suggestions included moving SDC funds to pay for the project in full – without homeowner participation, to have a citywide lottery and pay for the project with the proceeds from the game. Although Councilor Campbell thought it was an interesting suggestion, no-one on the council offered up ideas for the grand prize.

The comments quickly synthesized into the following:

  • $25,000 or billed as $250 monthly charge over 10 years (total: $30,000), is too expensive
  • The residents in the improvement area were “promised” sewer when the area was annexed in 1998
  • The residents have paid property taxes for 20 years and the city should have saved up money during this time to pay for the sewer build-out.
  • It is a municipal project and therefore the city should pay for it
  • All citizens of Bend should chip in and pay for the sewer build-out
  • My septic will last another 30 years. Why should I have to hook up to the sewer system?
  • The 300 ft. rule is arbitrarily set by legislators in Salem. The City of Bend should lobby for a change to the rule.
  • The cost for the sewer hookup work is still just an estimate from the city. It could go as high as $60,000-$120,000 per homeowner.
  • The Septic-to-Sewer Advisory Committee did a fine job with their proposal but should go back and find a better solution based on recent feedback.
  • People on fixed income should not and cannot pay for the sewer hookup.
  • Surrounding, new housing development needing sewer hookup will have a free ride on the backs of the neighbors in the improvement area.

The next listening session is scheduled for August 29 at the Bend Senior Center at

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  1. Elsa McCord says:

    All residents of the City of Bend, should not pay the sewer cost.
    Those who are already on sewer paid for the cost of their sewer when they purchased their home, and have been paying a high monthly fee ever since.

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