BEND, OR -- Commercial property owners in downtown Bend will pay an additional fee to help cover the cost of increased security patrols and other improvements. City Councilors approved a resolution imposing the $.25 per square foot assessment this week, for properties within the Downtown Economic Improvement District.
While the city does administer the fee and collect payments, Bend City Manager Eric King says the money doesn’t go into city coffers. King says the money is sent directly to the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) in a partnership that is helping address complaints received last year about things like trash, loitering and drug use, "The downtown businesses are doing their part to improve safety through this assessment."
He says city officials have already launched several initiatives to address problems, "More patrol, we purchased a power washer to clean the sidewalks, we’ve clarified our codes in terms of sitting and lying on the sidewalk, we’re improving the parking lot at Mirror Pond, we’ve removed garbage enclosures were people were loitering, we are now going to be redoing that whole parking lot to, not only provide a safer environment, but also provide an opportunity for longer vehicles to park." And, he says the extra assessment means the DBBA will be able to increase those efforts, "Some other items include security cameras downtown, we are supplementing some of our resources with private security; we have a private security firm that patrols the parking garage. I think all of these things are working together."
King acknowledges that downtown Bend faces issues similar to many larger cities, "We have the advantage, as a growing city, we can maybe learn from some of those other, more mature cities and say, ‘Ya know, we don’t want to fall into that same pattern; we want to get ahead of it.’ So, we can leverage the growth to plan our city in a smart way and respond to some of these issues more proactively."
The assessment is expected to send about $214,000 a year to the DBBA. Click HERE
to listen to our full conversation with Bend City Manager Eric King.