BEND OR -- The Bend Chamber hosted a debate of the three candidates competing for a spot on the Bend Parks and Rec Board Wednesday night.
Incumbent Dan Fishkin is being challenged by engineer Brady Fuller and activist Foster Fell.
Some of the debate questions centered on the Parks and Rec Board's reluctance to reduce system development charges, known as SDC's, in order to help make affordable housing more affordable to build.
The board is still examining the issue. Current board chair Dan Fishkin objects to what he sees as people making this a one-issue election. "This election is not a referendum on affordable housing," Fishkin says. "It's about electing a board member to conduct oversight and supervision of five-year, $75-million capital improvement projects. Clearly affordable housing is an emotional subject and something everyone takes seriously, including Bend Parks and Rec."
Brady Fuller believes he brings unique skills. "I bring significant experience with respect with Mirror Pond and I'm concerned the board's current policies are contributing to the problem of affordable housing," Fuller says. "I think the board is a part of this community and should be a part of solving the challenges in our community."
Foster Fell is a respiratory therapist by profession and is Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell's partner. He didn't mince words during last night's debate.
"I want to say I think the park district has lost its way," Fell says. "I think the board is disdainful of the taxpaying public and its desires. The park district is still resisting suspending SDCs, and I think it's obvious we have a housing crisis."
The election for the Bend Parks and Rec Board is May 19.