BEND, OR -- Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary Steering Committee meets later this week to continue its work on the city’s UGB expansion. City Manager Eric King says the more than five-year project is nearing an end. "We are within months of having a locally adopted urban growth boundary. It’s really starting to take shape and then over the next few months we’ll fine-tune it. But, I think people are really starting to realize there are some winners and losers with where the UGB is expanding," King tells KBND.
It’s been 30 years since Bend last adjusted its UGB. In 2010, the state rejected an expansion proposal, saying it did not conform to standards. The city has been reworking it ever since. "It is a much smaller urban growth boundary than what was proposed in 2010. The city proposed about an 8,000-acre expansion and the state said no. They gave us instructions in the form of a remand to say ‘this is the process that we want you to follow,’ somewhat of a prescriptive path," says King. "So, we’ve been on that path the last couple of years. It’s just state law and it’s the state land use process. I know some people get frustrated with it; I do as well. But, we have to follow that."
But, he acknowledges the state could again reject their work. "Anything is possible, so it’s hard to predict. But we are working lock and step with the step in ensuring at least the state agency doesn’t. However, the process, just like anything land use – whether an apartment complex being built or a big UGB expansion – it affords a lot of opportunities for people to weigh in. There could be other parties that appeal that decision from the state. The process may not end with just a local adoption; it could go on." King adds, "For some, being inside this boundary is pretty high stakes. The value of land is quite different. It goes back to part of Bend’s constituency makeup. A third of the folks see the benefits see all the benefits that come with growth, a third are indifferent and a third get really nervous about this continued growth and the impact that’s going to have on their livability."
Officials say expanding the boundary is necessary to facilitate growth and guide where new neighborhoods, commercial areas, parks and schools can be built. The UGB Steering Committee will hold a public meeting at City Hall on Thursday, starting at 2:30 p.m.