Local News

Petition Seeks To Add Deschutes Co. Commissioners

BEND, OR -- There is an effort underway to add two more commissioners to the Deschutes County board. A petition to put that request on the November ballot started with Bend business owner John Heylin who says it’s time for a change, “From seeing the dysfunction of the commissioner's meetings. And also realizing that three just is not a good ruling body for a county that has a budget of $730-million. We really need a couple more heads in the room in order to make progress on a lot of the problems in Deschutes County.”

He tells KBND News rules governing public meetings, which don’t allow a majority of commissioners to unofficially discuss issues, also limits their work, “By increasing it to five, you get it so that two commissioners actually could hang out and talk about what they read about or explore some of these ideas more in full, and stop wasting people's times during public meetings.”

Heylin tried to get the request for additional commissioners on the ballot last year. After consideration, Commissioners Patti Adair and Tony DeBone ultimately opposed the idea, Phil Chang was for it. Chang announced Thursday he’s running for re-election in the county’s first non-partisan commissioner race.

“If they had actually put it on the ballot themselves in May, then those two extra seats would have been up for election in ‘24 which would have been amazing because then we'd have five commissioners at the end of 2024,” said Heylin, who is now asking the public to send it to the ballot in November, “I think, because so many people are fed up with the current county government and the structure of it that I've gotten incredible support.”

The petition must get 6,581 valid voter signatures turned into the county clerk’s office by July 23rd.

File Photo: current Board of Commissioners during a 2023 meeting

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