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Bend Mayor Lists Priorities For Legislative Session

BEND, OR -- With less than a month before the start of the February Legislative Session, Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler anticipates state lawmakers will take action on the city's top priorities. "Making sure that we are able to continue our shelter operations with sustainable funding from the state, is a huge part of what we want to do. And then, we’re also looking at the focus on continuing to tackle the housing crisis, and to look at Measure 110 reforms. Those are the three areas I think we’ll be most active in," she tells KBND News.

"Number one is: we have stepped up as a city to provide additional shelter beds - over 500 shelter beds now in Bend. We did a lot of that with one-time money, relying on one-time ARPA dollars and some money that came from the state. So, what we’re worried about now is being able to continue to keep those shelters open." Kebler believes state funding is critical to that goal. "The Governor has declared a homelessness emergency and is trying to move people out of homelessness as quickly as possible. Shelters aren’t the answer to that, but they’re a very crucial step to stabilize people, especially to get them into case management."

On Measure 110, Kebler says, "There were public safety consequences that now the legislature has to grapple with, and how do we go in a right direction that’s not going to just re-overwhelm our criminal justice system and not get people into treatment, but is going to address some of those public safety concerns?" She says City Council supports reforms proposed by a group of law enforcement officials, "There is an 11-point comprehensive plan that came out late last year from the League of Cities; it was in conjunction with public safety partners - chiefs of police and sheriffs - talking about the public safety reforms as well as the programs and treatment enhancements that are needed." Deschutes County Commissioners have also signed on to support that plan. 

The short session begins February fifth in Salem. 

 

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