All Politics are Local
While much of our advocacy work is focused on state level policies, the Chamber has been increasingly active in supporting local initiatives with the Bend City Council and the Deschutes County Commission.
In addition to the collaborative work with the City and the County on the region’s COVID response and re-opening plans, the Chamber has been particularly active in advocating for policy changes to increase the supply of affordable and attainable housing, and ease transportation congestion.
Workforce Housing Initiative
Fixing the affordability and shortage of housing in Bend is key in attracting and retaining a robust labor pool, and is a top initiative for the Bend Chamber. The Chamber has advocated for initiatives aimed at creating more housing options that are affordable by design such as ADUs, zero lot lines and duplexes among others.
A key component of the long term strategy to address workforce housing is development of the Central District along 3rd Street on the east side of the Bend Parkway. The Chamber advocated for tax increment financing plan to kick start the project and provide working capital to develop the district with a mix of residential housing and commercial development. Ongoing collaborative efforts to nurture public/private partnerships and spur development in the Central District is a long term strategy.
The Chamber has supported the development of additional areas in Bend that provide significant increases to Bend’s housing supply.
Focus on Transportation & Infrastructure
Initiatives to support transportation and infrastructure projects which alleviate traffic congestion and plan for future growth has been a ongoing focus for the Chamber. The Chamber helped lead efforts to pass a $190M Transportation Bond which achieved voter approval in November 2020. A multi-year project with broad community support, the bond will fund dozens of roadway and multimodal improvements that will provide better and more options to get around Bend.
Given the region’s unprecedented growth, the Chamber has actively engaged in planning for the future. We’ve supported infrastructure projects, such as pedestrian overpasses and additional bike lanes to increase multi-modal transportation options and East-West connectivity. We’re actively partnering with city and county leaders to address long-term growth strategies.
The Bend Chamber helped secure $25 million in state and federal funding for the Hawthorne Avenue Pedestrian and Bicyclist Overcrossing in June 2023.
“The Hawthorne Overcrossing is so much more than a transportation project,” said Katy Brooks, CEO of the Bend Chamber of Commerce. “It is a significant step forward for economic development in the Central District and Downtown and joins two sides of the parkway that invites people to regularly travel between east and west whether that’s by walking, riding, or rolling. It will be a centerpiece in Bend.”
Official Positions on Local Issues
- Comments to Housing Tax Exemptions 12/15/21
- Comments to Transportation Bond Project Prioritization 12/01/21
- Support for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program 10/29/21
- Support for $7.8M in ARPA Childcare Funding 10/14/21
- Support for Housing Development Code Amendments 09/01/21
- Support for Minnesota Pedestrian Promenade 06/16/2021
- City ARPA Spending Priorities 06/14/2021
- Support for Downtown Economic Improvement District 05/05/21
- Support for Room Tax and Tourism Funding Changes 04/21/21
- Support for Bend Commercial Parklet Program 04/21/21
- Support for Midtown Crossing Funding 04/08/21
- Business Community Feedback on American Rescue Plan Funding Disbursement 04/08/21
- Support for House Bill 2282 on Affordable Housing in Bend 04/08/21
- Support for Federal Funding for Murphy Road Interchange 04/08/21
- Support for City of Bend Development Code Modifications 03-17-21
- Opposition to House Bill 2205 on Lawsuit Expansion 03/17/21
- Support for House Bill 3109 on Child Care Zoning Regulations 03/10/21
- Opposition to House Bills 3171 & 3172 Insurance Regulations 03/10/21
- Support for Bend City Council Goals 03/03/21
Learn More About Your Local Representatives
Bend City Councilors and the Mayor are elected by the voters in Bend to serve four-year terms.
The Board of County Commissioners is comprised of three elected officials who serve four-year terms.