A Review of Leadership Bend Programs
by Regine Childs, CTE/Math Instructional Specialist, Leadership Bend Class of 2021.
Bend Chamber Impact Conference — Real Estate
I loved how the day started with a presentation that was titled, “America Moves…When the Pressure Cooker Dings.” Who would have thought about this time a year ago that our world would go topsy-turvy in 2020? This year will provide our research community with a plethora of topics to investigate.
Today, we were provided the opportunity to view some of the research that is available so far this year. It was clear to me that 2020 certainly will be remembered as the year of migration—many who were in lockdown finally had a chance to evaluate where they really wanted to live, and how. Not only did the pressure cooker ding, it blew its horn. So, in all this craziness, through the mental and emotional exhaustion of COVID avoidance, I found a silver lining by learning how people start questioning their life situations and looking at what they really want out of life. Many things in our lives are getting postponed, but some are due to excuses we make by blaming it on COVID, like saying the time is not right, the kids are in schools with their friends, etc. In the past many businesses were not trustful enough with letting their employees work from home because they feared that they wouldn’t be productive and didn’t want to bother finding out how to conduct remote business meetings.
Personally, I think this year ignited a behavioral shift in people that this country has not experienced for a long time. Without COVID this sort of mobility and housing boom most likely would have not happened across this country. I don’t think there are as many countries experiencing workforce movements in a way like the U.S. is seeing. The presentation showed how low-interest rates certainly played a huge factor in providing incentives for selling and purchasing homes to accommodate all the moving. However, there were some positive and negative messages from the presentation that I was not expecting. First, there were positive messages about how multi-generational homes are re-emerging, that people are remodeling homes for the future needs of elder care, and that people are moving closer to family and friends. I also liked the message about increased animal adoptions.
Second, a negative message, many folks are in the middle of a hard struggle. For example, it is difficult to hear that young people who are starting their careers are not able to find entry level positions that suit their career plans. On top of that, student loan debts make the dream of purchasing a home just a continuing dream until they can reduce this high amount of debt. Many of them are not able to receive help from family due to the pandemic. Furthermore, hearing and learning that mortgage rejection rates are higher for African Americans and Latinx families is shocking to me. It is frustrating to me that we are not able to have open conversations about the institutional and systemic racism that is happening daily in this country.
The biggest surprise for me was learning how many folks purchased homes that were sight unseen, or how many could afford to buy a second vacation home in which they end up living in permanently. Also surprising to me was how many people are competing for the same home and how many can purchase homes with cash. This will obviously push other potential home buyers out of the market. Finally, it surprised that sellers don’t have to fully update a home before they place a home on the market. It made sense to me to hear the reasoning that the buyer will upgrade the home specific to their individual tastes and needs. That is a great savings to the seller. After a huge trend to move to smaller or even tiny homes it surprised me to learn that bigger homes are in demand again, in spite of the pandemic and the economic hardships all around us.
City of Bend — Eric King
Hearing from Eric King reminded me of Eric Plantenberg’s and Todd Taylor’s presentations on our very first Leadership Bend day. The message of keeping a welcoming environment in Bend has been demonstrated throughout this town’s history, but just as important was being proactive in city planning to keep Bend’s “character” in place.
The Core Services and Values slide Eric shared depicted a mountain that was divided into five sections. The base represented the basic infrastructure of Bend, next level is Public Safety which is followed by Governance, then comes Land Entitlement and tip of the mountain holds Economic Development. The mountain is surrounded by five clouds, one cloud represents Environmental Justice, the other one Social Justice, the next one Housing and Homeless Strategies and finally Heritage.
Hearing from other presenters on the streets seem to make up a big topic at the city and are very important to the community. The water component and the sewer part that is included in this section are very important considerations that a city needs to think about as it develops a plan for growth. However, I don’t want to go in great detail about each level, I only like the visual representation and how each level plays into the next level and that the clouds in the sky cannot be forgotten. Each city has those clouds that take up part of the sky and move in front of the sun that tries to shine on all of us. The thoughtfulness and the deep caring for Central Oregon Eric and each of the other presenters brought forward felt comforting to me and I wish other communities would move forward like that.
Today, beautiful places like Bend are not a secret anymore. Most people who moved to Central Oregon came here for the same reasons: to enjoy the outdoors, the charm of the town, and the character and culture of the people here. Why not embrace it and share it with each other but share it with mindfulness and good solid planning?
Jillian Taylor – Leadership
It was interesting to hear and listen from Jillian on what employees need most during change.
She mentioned structure, support and information. It seems so simple and yet the simplest things can be the most difficult things to put in place. Zaretta Hammond mentions this often in her Culturally Responsive practice training; “Information is NOT Transformation!” I think this currently happens a lot in leadership. Leaders have the information but struggle tremendously with the transformation. The entire world experiences the uncertainty that COVID brings. It is difficult to keep a structure from coming apart, employees need support and leaders are trying to share what they can. But what if leaders are overwhelmed by the current situation that lacks structure and they don’t know where to receive support? The information they receive is changing each week.
In a recent podcast I listened to, one of the speakers mentions how people faced with tremendous hardship found changes they had to make built strong resilience and that they soon learned how to handle difficult situations with more ease. I worked with homeless students, and I was just happy to see them make it safely to school each day. This was not a poor neighborhood school, this was school with many affluent families. Many of these students are almost invisible to other students and yet some of them showcased tremendous leadership in my eyes because they thought out the structure of a school day, and against their hardships they sought out support and information. I think many of those students would make excellent leaders because they had to give up their adolescence and take hold of their own life with very little help. Unfortunately, some of them fall through the cracks. This has a lot more to do about the structure in place, how we educate toward a certain type of standard student, and expect all the flexibility to be on the student. This needs to change.