BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors will spend Wednesday creating goals for the next two years. Councilor Sally Russell tells KBND News, "Every two years we start fresh as our Council turns over; and, it’s a recalibration. The issues that we’re looking at today are different than the issues that we looked at two years [ago], partly because we may have created policies and invested in community needs two years ago and those are now sort of on their way, and so we can turn our focus and look at other corners of the community."
Russell is the longest-serving member of the current Council. She says, "As you hear us talking about goal-setting – we talk about livability; we talk about our unbelievably huge infrastructure needs at this point in time for our region and for our city; we talk about our challenges and really providing housing people in our community can really afford. So, certainly, those are going to be issues that come up again and again and again." Affordable Housing is Russell's top priority. "And, I want to be really clear that, to me, ‘affordable housing’ is a place where people can live that their job allows them to afford. So, if you’re a secretary, if you work for a high tech company, if you’re making beds, the owner of a grocery store, whatever. I think it’s really important that we have the housing infrastructure, the streets infrastructure, the community that you can live and thrive in." She says it may mean going beyond traditional “affordable housing” and could include working with the building community to construct more efficient homes that cost less to maintain.
Wednesday's special meeting will also focus on street maintenance, the newly expanded Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), OSU-Cascades, homelessness and public safety. "The decisions that we’re making today really have to stand the test of time and move us into the future still holding on to this wonderful, incredible sense of place that brings people to our community," says Russell.