2024 County Commissioner Candidate – Rob Imhoff

2024 County Commissioner Candidate – Rob Imhoff

PublIshed on Apr 16, 2024

Rob Imhoff




Economic Development & Local Business Support


1. What specific strategies do you propose to attract and retain businesses in Deschutes County?

As a small business owner myself, we have to understand what does and doesn’t attract businesses from moving to or being created in Bend. Taxes and any associated incentives are usually either an attractant or repellant. I intend to oppose any increases in small business taxes, as that creates an unfair burden and penalty on companies who both generate and create, employ and contribute to the betterment of our community. I will also work to reduce some of the governmental red tape that limits and/or discourages growth. If left to choose, I will always land on the side of individual liberty and private property rights, and this filters down from the business and their owners to the individuals who rely on these for their livelihoods.

2. How do you plan to collaborate with local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations to promote business growth?

When businesses understand that they have a board of County commissioners who are dedicated to the success of our county, who understand that small businesses and families are the main drivers of our economy, and that less regulation and taxation leads to a better life for ALL people within the county, we will then see a shift in the negative direction that we have found ourselves heading. Businesses are struggling to make exorbitant payrolls, paying burdensome fees for doing business in our county, and carrying a disproportionate responsibility for our tax base…which is ultimately choking these businesses into closing.

3. How would you streamline bureaucracy and reduce regulatory burdens to make it easier for local businesses to operate and thrive?

We need to look at reducing redundancy in tax funded programs, which will immediately create less of a tax burden on all of us. We also need to make sure that we strive to allow private industry (small businesses) to perform many of the projects that our government currently is tasked with. The government will be able to do some things, but rarely can they do any task more efficiently or with better quality than the private industry. There is definitely a need for government, but a smaller and more limited scope will benefit all of us who call Central Oregon home.


Workforce Housing


1. What can the County do to ensure more homes are constructed and accessible to moderate income residents in the 80-120AMI income band?

Some of the higher costs of housing are a direct reflection of over-taxation on developing our homes and land. Some of these costs are related to a lack of available land to develop in the first place. Some of these costs are related to increases in both material and skilled labor costs. We need to focus on each of these in order to create a balanced attack against the rising costs of home ownership. We can look at our SDC’s and county codes to make sure we are limiting the burden of taxes and fees as much as possible. We need to look at our current UGB’s and attempt to expand in order to allow for our growth, and lastly, we can work with our contractors and tradesmen to negotiate bulk purchases for home building materials for our developments in order to bring some of those costs down.

2. How do you plan to collaborate with local housing authorities, nonprofit organizations, and cities in Deschutes County to accelerate the construction of housing units for this income band?

I’m curious how many of the individuals in this category would submit that they moved to Oregon to live in a high density housing, apartment, or condominium complex. We need to have an honest conversation regarding these programs, their incentives, and whether this is the right approach. Creating housing that is not just affordable, but also beneficial to the community and neighbors of these  developments, is critical. We need to be good stewards of our lands. This doesn’t mean wide open developing of any and all open lands, yet it also means we have to look at a more tangible expansion and growth plan, so that we can allow our young families and lower income individuals a path to home ownership and space to live and thrive in our towns, cities, and county as a whole.

3. How do you plan to address barriers to homeownership, particularly for low- to moderate-income individuals and families?

As stated previously, there has to be a balance between higher density and lower density growth. Home ownership is an important step to growth and independent living. If there is no foreseeable path, then we have eliminated the hope of a future in many of our children, neighbors, and friends. We have to be focused on helping others achieve their potentials, and hope of home-ownership is a very important part of that process.


Workforce Development


A career-ready workforce with relevant knowledge and experience is crucial to the success of local business. Given what you know about the changing needs of employers, what steps will you take to ensure that local workers have the skillsets needed to meet evolving workplace requirements?

As a college graduate myself, there is definite value in well-paying careers which require a college degree. That being said, as a small business owner in the construction industry, I can confirm that there are many lucrative careers that can be found in the skilled labor and various subcontractor trade sectors. There are numerous apprenticeship programs available, to those seeking a career, that can help a new worker develop the skills necessary to develop a great career, possibly even becoming small business owners themselves. Some of that could also be aided with reintroducing trades at the high school level, as college is not the right path for everyone.


Child Care 


What strategies do you intend to implement to support child care providers in Deschutes County, ensuring they have the resources, training, and regulatory environment necessary to deliver high-quality care while running an economically sustainable business?

Our children are the future. We MUST prioritize the raising and development of our young people. This starts with making sure that all of their basic needs are met. Many of our young families are needing to have assurances that the daycare facilities and those care workers are safe and loving in their care for their young ones. These facilities need to be affordable and accessible, profitable and efficient, and employee workers who are qualified and dedicated. Workers must be paid a fair wage, as all workers need to be. Since we are tasking them with caring for our young ones, we must expect and demand high quality care, and then as employers, offer a high enough wage and benefit package to allow our workers to pay for these services for their families. Our future generations hang in the balance, so we must commit to doing the hard work now.

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