BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors begin the process, this week, of setting goals for the next two years. Two listening sessions are scheduled for Thursday, with community groups, commissions and committees. Mayor Pro Tem Megan Perkins says in the past, Councilors were not allowed to ask questions of the speakers, "This time around, we have a couple of open sessions, where people can talk about anything they’d like. But then we have a set of four focused round tables."
Those round tables are a new option for the Bend City Council, when Councilors are allowed to engage in conversation with participants. Perkins tell KBND News, "We really wanted to expand our reach. We wanted to improve access and we also wanted to improve the quality of dialog. This is why we’re doing two sessions - a daytime and an evening time - and we’re also doing some focusing on the main issues in Bend, with the topic sessions." She says those topics are critical issues for the city, "One is on housing and economic development, one is on houselessness and affordable housing, one is on transportation and the last one is on equity, access and engagement."
Following the 11 a.m. Listening Session, Council will take part in a round table discussion with experts in economic development and affordable housing. The 5:30 p.m. Listening Session is followed by round table meetings with experts in transportation and equity. "This is what we should be doing as a Council," says Perkins, "We should be listening to people that know what they’re talking about and having a conversation with them about where they think we should be headed as a Council and really take all that information in."
All of the sessions will be live streamed on the city’s website for the public to watch. Click HERE for more information on Bend City Council meetings.