BEND, OR -- A new report shows the questions many in Bend are asking about a potential review of the city’s charter. Bend 2030, the Bend Chamber and City Club of Central Oregon are looking at how the Mayor is chosen, how much Councilors are paid and whether they should be elected by region.
Erin Foote-Morgan, with Bend 2030, says many at a September 20 forum
discussed who has the most influence on city policy. "It’s absolutely overwhelming that folks who live on the west side are serving on these city committees and Council, and shaping the policy of the community. But, there’s actually more registered voters living on the east side of Third Street. There’s a lot of really important demographic changes from east to west, in Bend: different income levels, different ways that folks vote on policies."
According to the report, attendees were also surprised to learn Bend is the largest city in Oregon without an elected Mayor. And, some have questioned whether the $200 monthly stipend provided to City Councilors is enough, given the demands of the job. "But, it turns out our Councilors make an average amount of money, across the state. We were also surprised to hear that some of these other cities compensate Councilors with healthcare benefits instead of cash, as one solution for making the job a little bit more palatable."
Foote Morgan says last month’s forum was just the beginning of the discussion. "First one was about education and getting questions on the table. The second is about weighing in on the right way to answer these questions as a community. After that, we’ll be taking the results of both of these forums to City Council in January." That second forum is November first at Central Oregon Collective on NE 27th Street, from 5 - 7 p.m.