BEND, OR -- City officials hope to get more people involved in developing Bend’s Core Area Project, to come up with a plan for improving areas included in the 2016 Urban Growth Boundary expansion plan, but that are isolated by various barriers. Senior Planner Allison Platt says it’s an effort to create a common vision, "It is identifying infrastructure improvements that are needed and potentially identifying a new funding source. So, part of this project is looking at creating an Urban Renewal District for this area." Platt tells KBND News, "Our study area consists of four of the city’s identified ‘opportunity areas’ – kind of areas of where the city would grow up – that were more appropriate for in-fill, redevelopment or development for the first time."
In some cases, barriers isolating an area are physical – like the parkway. But for others, Platt says, isolation is caused by zoning restrictions, "The Bend Central District was rezoned; back in 2016, we created a special plan district, which allows mixed-use development. But, it’s pretty constricting in what it allows. It essentially requires retail on the bottom floor and housing is allowed on the top. But, what we’re finding is, in some parts of that district, in tucked away areas that don’t have a lot of visibility on the street, mixed use is never going to work there. So, maybe there are some interim building types that we can explore."
To try and get more people involved in the process, the city is hosting educational pop-up events, starting Saturday. Platt says they’re intentionally scheduled at various times, days of the week and locations, "I think a lot of times people feel disenfranchised or they don’t feel like they can get involved in a city process, otherwise they have to go into a boring meeting room. So, this is really our attempt to go out into the community and meet them where they already are."
The pop-up events will help provide a general understanding of the work, prior to a larger workshop scheduled for June 15. "And, if they can’t come on that date," says Platt, "We will also have an online version of the workshop that people can participate with."
Above image: City rendering