Funding the Future Meeting
Business Community Meets to Address Bend Infrastructure Needs
Bend, OR – Three leading business organizations in Central Oregon have come together with the City of Bend to address critical questions about the city's ability to provide the long-term infrastructure that will be necessary to accommodate future job and population growth. Economic Development for Central Oregon, the Central Oregon Builders Association and the Central Oregon Association of REALTORS® are co-hosting a forum with city and business leaders Monday, May 4, 12:00 p.m. at St. Charles Medical Center to begin public discussions about how the city will fund over $500 million worth of water, sewer and road projects over the next twenty years as identified in the city's public facilities plans.
"Funding the Future: Jobs, Growth and Critical Infrastructure" is intended to raise public awareness and understanding of Bend's infrastructure challenges and begin a collaborative effort to find solutions. The forum will provide the city with an opportunity to present its infrastructure priorities, explain its approach to fair and equitable financing and to foster open discussion with the community about the benefits, costs and impacts of these critical goals.
"The city is at a crossroads in its efforts to plan for future jobs and growth," said Bill Robie, COAR Government Affairs Director. "As the economy improves over the next few years we expect that growth will resume. We must work together as a community to ensure that Bend can provide the jobs and housing necessary for everyone to prosper. We look forward to working with the city as partners to help identify priorities and develop funding solutions for these projects essential to the quality of life of our community. These challenges are significant and will require community-wide solutions."
Roger Lee, EDCO Executive Director emphasized, "The city's economic competitiveness depends on its ability to provide modern and reliable infrastructure. It's important for the public to understand what's at stake when the city identifies its projects and their price tag. For the city to develop and prosper it will need to provide the services necessary for new businesses and businesses that want to expand or relocate here. The business community wants to be a partner with the city in helping to meet these challenges."
"The public facility plans developed by the city as part of its urban growth boundary expansion have created the road map for future growth in Bend," said Andy High, COBA Vice President of Government Affairs. "It is vital to maintaining a jobs/housing balance that we are able to service new businesses and residential developments with necessary infrastructure. We will need broad-based funding solutions in order to achieve this. I'm confident that with an expanded UGB and a community-wide commitment to sound, managed growth we can maintain Bend's quality of life and provide the jobs and affordable housing that our citizens need."
The host organizations view this event as the beginning of an important conversation that the city and its citizens need to have about a looming challenge to Bend's economic future. Infrastructure funding is the most critical issue facing the city. A community-wide effort to identify and pursue creative solutions is needed now to position the city for future prosperity.
The Central Oregon Association of REALTORS® is the voice of the real estate industry in Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson and Harney Counties. COAR serves REALTORS® by maintaining ethical standards, providing continuing education, promoting the value of REALTORS®, and advocating on behalf of the real estate industry. Central Oregon REALTORS® believe we can build better communities by supporting quality growth and seeking sustainable economies and housing opportunities that embrace the environmental qualities we cherish, while protecting a property owner's ability to own, use, buy, and sell property.