BEND, OR -- Bend's City Council has agreed to send a request to Oregon's Department of State Lands (DSL), asking for the release of hundreds of acres on the southeast end of town. Officials say it would be best used for a multi-use development, including single- and multi-family housing, public facilities, and commercial and industrial sites.
City Manager Eric King says sending a letter to the DSL is the first step in freeing the land from state control, "The City recently expanded its Urban Growth Boundary, which is the land that the city can urbanize; and we expanded our boundary by about 10% a few years ago. So, now we're in the process of bringing that land inside the city for needed jobs and housing units. And some of that land is under public ownership." He says, "This particular tract is owned by the State Division of Lands."
King tells KBND News, "One challenge that we, of course, have in Bend is that our housing prices are escalating rapidly. And one way to attack that is through increasing supply. So we need that land that's been in that expanded Urban Growth Boundary to be developed so it can take some of that pressure off."
He believes a formal request from the city is s the best way to get the state to take action, "Do your part getting this land more market ready. Most likely, it would be selling the property." The state doesn't typically develop infrastructure to create shovel ready lots, so releasing the 225-acre parcel from state control would allow local developers to get started, "What we're just encouraging the agency to do, they've got lots of inventory of land all over the state, and we want to make it be known that there's an acute housing crisis in Bend."
The state held land is located on Stevens Road, south of Reed Market Road, with frontage on 27th Street. Council approved the letter (below) at Wednesday night's meeting.
Subject: DSL Section 11 Land, Bend, Oregon (Stevens Road Tract)
Dear Director Walker,
Congratulations on your recent appointment. We want to provide an update on the City of Bend’s progress in implementing its recently approved urban growth boundary expansion (UGB). Further, we want to request your help with taking measures to see that the Stevens Road property is developed to meet our community’s growing needs.
In December of 2016, after a nearly 10-year effort, the City received approval from the Department of Land Conservation and Development to expand the UGB by approximately 2400 acres. As you are likely aware, approximately 225 acres of land owned by DSL was included in Bend’s UGB expansion. The DSL Stevens Road property is located on Bend’s east side with frontage on 27th Street.
The UGB expansion areas will provide room for Bend’s various land needs through 2028. However, not all expansion areas were created equal and some have better access to the necessary infrastructure than others. This is where the Stevens Road Property stands out. The DSL land is ideally situated because it has the essential off-site sewer and transportation infrastructure in place to allow development of the property quickly.
The City’s Comprehensive Plan policies has planned the Stevens Road property as a complete community with a mix of uses. The property is planned to contain a mix of single family, multi-family, public facilities, commercial and industrial lands. Specific to housing, the land is planned for 11% single family attached housing and at least 41% multifamily and duplex/triplex housing types, which is about 1,000 desperately needed housing units.
The Bend City Council is especially sensitive to our current housing shortage, which spans across the spectrum of home types – from affordable to work force to higher-end market rate housing. Any efforts to get land developed for a mix of housing is key to providing a solution to those needs and the DSL land provides a great opportunity for a mix of housing needed in Bend.
Please consider this letter as a friendly request to expedite DSL’s efforts to see that the 225 acres is developed in concert with Bend’s Comprehensive Plan polices. Further, be assured that our city staff is available to discuss options with your staff to best prepare
the property for its eventual development. As the fastest growing city in Oregon, DSL’s help in providing land for residential, institutional, and employment purposes will greatly benefit current & future Bend residents as well as the state’s Common School Fund.
Thank you for your assistance. Please contact our City Manager, Eric King with any questions you may have.
Mayor Casey Roats
on behalf of the Bend City Council