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Climate Friendly Areas Report Heads To State Officials

BEND, OR -- Bend’s new study on Climate Friendly Areas will be sent to the state this week. Associate Long Range Planner Elyse Vukelich says it’s mandated for cities in Oregon over 50,000 people, as part of the state's Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities program. "This study is a starting point for this process. It’s essentially the background work that we had to complete prior to eventually designating Climate Friendly Areas. And that comes with changes to the city’s development code." She adds, "We anticipate between 2025 and 2026, City Council will actually make changes to the development code to implement these CFAs."

The goal is to reduce carbon emissions by allocating urban spaces where people can live, work and recreate without a vehicle. "Climate Friendly Areas have to be a certain size. In Bend, they have to be between 275 and 350 acres," sayd Vukelich, "That’s dependent on a couple of different policy choices regarding land use." She tells KBND News, "What we’ve done in this study is identify 10 different areas throughout the city. Total, these are about 1600 acres, so we don’t need all of this land. Our goal was to really just to identify as many areas as possible and learn more about them."

The study also looked at people most likely to be displaced by the process, "So, people with lower incomes, who are more vulnerable; maybe in precarious housing situations. We actually came up with a list of strategies to mitigate displacement."

Vukelich acknowledges it's a novel concept for some people, "It’s a change, potentially, in the way that land is developed in the city of Bend. And sometimes that can be scary. But Climate Friendly Areas are very similar to places that we already have in Bend. If you think about downtown Bend: it has businesses, it has housing, it has access to parks, it’s easy to walk around; that’s kind of what a Climate Friendly Area would look like." She says residential neighborhoods won’t see much impact, since CFAs are intended to be urban centers. 


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