It is our responsibility as citizens of the planet to minimize our impact on the environment within which live. I believe we can all do our part and that no part or role is too small to play, especially if it may come at a small sacrifice (both personally and economically) to us all. For this reason I helped author and present for public comment Bend’s first Climate Action Resolution.
Here are my responses to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV) candidate questionnaire candidate questionnaire for the fall ’16 election:
1. On what boards, commissions and associations have you served either in Central Oregon or elsewhere? In what volunteer activities have you participated? Why have you chosen to serve or volunteer in this way?
Deschutes County Landmarks Commission; Central Oregon (Redmond) Airport Commission; Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization; Bend City Council (elected 2012); Bend Planning Commission; Bend Urban Renewal Agency; Bend Budget Committee; Bend Audit Committee; Bend Contract Review Committee; Board of Directors River West Neighborhood Association (RWNA); Board of Directors Old Bend Neighborhood Association (OBNA)
I volunteer because I have always been civically minded, and believe we all need to act unselfishly and for the common good of all people.
2. The next city council will likely face continued budget and revenue challenges. What potential threats do you foresee for conservation and sustainability issues (water, energy, public transportation, growth, climate change, etc.)? As a councilor, how will you work to mitigate these potential threats? Will you work to show that the environment is linked to the economy and not pitted against it? What opportunities do you see?
The biggest threat to conservation and sustainability is misinformation by those who would like us all to think that supporting real and meaningful targets for green house gas emissions and reduced fossil fuel consumption comes at unimaginable economic expense… The opportunity for me as a councilor is to try to bring this perspective into our community conversation and re-channel it through demonstrating careful examples tried and successfully implemented in other communities to show that sustainability and climate action need not come at the expense of economic prosperity.
3. Please outline the main steps the city should take to preserve livability and environmental health and explain how, as a councilor, you would both support and fund these steps. Given the importance and complexity of these issues, please provide specifics about your vision.
LIVEABILITY: It is important we protect the character and sense of place that we’ve all come to love & cherish about Bend and take deliberate steps toward preserving neighborhood livability. Neighborhoods and the strength of neighbor to neighbor relations is the backbone of who we are as a City and what we call community. Having a noise ordinance that works for everyone that is enforceable, an ADU development code that encourages responsible assimilation of OSU Cascade student population into our neighborhoods, and vacation rental regulations that prevent further VRBO saturation is critical. As a re-elected councilor I plan on revisiting each and every one of these issues.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: Educating citizens and combating misinformation (see answer No.2 above) is critical to embedding environmental health in the decision-making of our community. I believe the City of Bend is in a unique position to encourage citizen decisions and behavior, so I support a strong education campaign funded by the City, and as a councilor it will be critical that I advocate funding such a program. Of oourse, I would never advocate this funding come at the expense of essential services like police and fire.
4. Climate change is the biggest global and local issue we face now and for future generations. It threatens the environment and special places we cherish, our community’s recreation based economy, and future generations. What, if anything, are you willing to do as an elected official to combat climate change? Do you support adoption of the climate action resolution currently before the Bend City Council? Why or why not?
I have already been doing a lot as a councilor to help enact climate action legislation that sets specific and meaningful targets for reductions in fossil fuel consumption and green house gas emissions. Obviously as a one of the councilors who helped draft and sponsor the legislation I am fully committed to the cause.
Growth and Land Use Issues
5. How can we as a city promote conservation and protect fish and wildlife in our region, while still allowing for development and growth?
Full Implementation of meaningful Climate Action Policy that is well supported by our local government & approachable by the largest contingent of our community is the best way to promote conservation while still accommodating growth.
6. Bend is currently facing serious livability and affordability issues. Bend’s development density is far below the average for a city of its size. Do you support the current proposal of the Urban Growth Boundary that maximizes use of the existing UGB lands (infill, redevelopment, upzoning and taller buildings for higher density and mixed use, transportation corridors, etc.) to meet future needs? Why or why not?
Much of what I have accomplished as a councilor is related to both livability and affordability. I have been an ardent supporter of the most recent UGB process that has been well supported within our community and hailed at the state-level as an example of (albeit) remand success. I have also been a proponent of streamlining our development code to encourage more affordable housing within Bend. Namely, I voted for cottage code, density bonus, and well as System Development Charge (SDC) exemption legislation to help with our housing affordability challenges.
7. In anticipation of Bend’s continued growth, what is your stance on further expansion and development into fire prone areas?
Fire-prone areas of Bend do exist and will continue to exist. The transect planning ideal is one that I promoted during recent UGB discussions as a way to minimize this risk. By reducing density on the perimeter of our community nearest the urban-forest interface and increasing it as you move towards the city’s core you not only accommodate indigenous animal migration better, you also, you also create a safer community for humans that is less prone to fire.
8. Do you plan to collaborate with other government entities to facilitate increased walking, biking and transit ridership amongst Bend residents? If so, what will you do to promote and secure funds for such collaborations and modes of transit?
Yes, I plan to collaborate. I have always been a strong proponent of the City of Bend supporting multi-modal transportation construction. I believe we should be using more TRT collections to fund our Cascades East Transit system to reduce headways & increase ridership. While doing so, we should also increase the City’s representation to COACT & COIC. The council’s past involvement in these organizations has been lacking.
Water and Energy Resources
9. Healthy ecological flows are important to our recreation economy and also reflect our community’s values for conservation. What role do you see the City playing in putting conservation into practice regarding the Deschutes Basin, including Tumalo Creek? How will you ensure that water conservation gets more attention in city planning? What kind of water conservation measures would you like to see implemented in the City?
The single greatest contribution to the Deschutes Basin’s Health would be to properly fund construction of the Tumalo Irrigation District Feed Canal. I believe the City should garner a portion of in-pipe hydro electricity proceeds to help the District pay for the Feed Canal Project (and others like it) that demonstrate water quality benefits.
10. The Mirror Pond dam is over 100 years old and in a state of disrepair. What is your stance on the removal of the Mirror Pond dam?
While I am a supporter of free-flowing rivers and removing dams (when appropriate), I am not a proponent of removing the Pacific Power Dam. Doing so would create a swift moving river through the heart of our community creating a safety hazard and eliminating the tranquil pond that is the interface with one of our most treasured historic resources: Drake Park.
11. How will you ensure that future development takes both sustainability and affordability into consideration? Would you promote adoption of green building standards and energy-efficient technologies for future residential and commercial development, and if so, how?
In my professional life as a commercial developer I strive to create building projects as sustainable as possible, but only because I choose to do so & because I think it is important; most developers are not as conscientious… LEED building standards should be incorporated into our City building code as a building option for developers to receive SDC credits just as I advocated recently as a City Councilor for SDC credits to be awarded for those developers who chose to build affordable units.