WASHINGTOND, D.C. -- Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler is in Washington D.C. this week, at the Congressional City Conference. The non-partisan event includes talks from government officials, and learning about new funding programs, with a special focus on infrastructure planning.
Mayor Kebler tells KBND News she’s made valuable contacts, “We have connected with a pallet shelter provider that is going to be providing shelters in Bend, but is also in a bunch of other cities. It was great to talk with them about how they’re kind of expanding their services in support for cities.”
She says the conference helps make high-level connections, “We’re really focused on infrastructure and so is the federal government right now. So that’s a good synergy we’ve got going on. And hopeful that we can secure some more funds to support infrastructure in Bend. Things like the Hawthorne Bridge concept which would connect downtown and our core area and would be a real game changer.”
A highlight for her was hearing from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, “She had a couple of distinct statements about how we have to ‘bring people home’ is what she says, and put people into housing that need it. She recognizes that that means we kind of have to push back against Not In My Backyard attitudes, and say we need to build housing everywhere.”
Kebler says the plan for "education to career" pathways could also help Bend, “That really hit home for me knowing that we have our own great community college and we also have OSU-Cascades and I know they’re both really good partners in trying to create new and innovative ways to get our youth hooked up into the career development that gets some good paying jobs in Bend.”
Kebler is set to meet with Oregon’s Congressional delegation Tuesday, the final day of the conference.