BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Bill Moseley wants to look into how the high number of special events taking place downtown impact local businesses and the greater community. He says it’s time to evaluate whether it’s more important to cater to visitors or locals, "Most of the downtown businesses would actually prefer a pretty stable business from serving Bendites – people who live here year-round."
He says as the Council liaison for the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA), he's heard from business owners that they lose money during events because visitors shop and dine at event booths and others stay away due to the constant crowds. He plans to ask city staff at Wednesday's Council meeting to look at potentially limiting the number of event permits issued each year, "Over time, if we change our focus from being event after event, after event, Bend might not be quite as hot of a tourist destination. All I can say right now is, I think most people would say, ‘thank goodness.’ We’re having a hard enough time keeping up with just our regular growth." He tells KBND News, "Right now, the city just has an open permitting process where, if you apply and you meet the criteria – you’re able clean up after yourself, and that sort of thing – then they’ll let you have as many events as you want. No one has really looked at this before until some of the businesses started asking this question."
Moseley believes it is possible to find a balance, "We have a charming downtown; it really is the heart of our community. And there are a lot of events that occur that I think people really do appreciate. But, we’re getting to the point that almost every single weekend seems to be scheduled with an event that looks almost identical to the previous event."
Permits have already been issued through the end of this summer, and he says those would still be honored, "If there were any changes, we’d be looking at it through the rest of this fall and winter, then implementing something for next year."
UPDATE (08/02/18): At Wednesday's Council meeting, Moseley asked the DBBA and BEDAB (Bend Economic Development Advisory Board) to look at the frequency of downtown events. Economic Development Director Carolyn Eagan says there is a limit to the number of event allowed, but that there is a need for event space.