(Photo courtesy of Central Oregon LandWatch)
City Club of Central Oregon has nominated four finalists for its newly minted Conversation of the Year award. Central Oregon LandWatch, a land use advocacy nonprofit, played a key role in two of four of the nominations – for the UGB agreement that led to the Westside Transect and for the restoration of Whychus Creek.
Central Oregon LandWatch has built a reputation for pragmatic and effective defense of our natural resources, taking a judicious approach to every issue over the past thirty years. The Conversation of the Year nominations recognize these qualities as important to building a conscious and civic minded community through dialog, education and research that results in responsible civic engagement.
Throughout Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary planning process, LandWatch was the leading public interest group advocating for a limited expansion to prevent urban sprawl, encourage cost-effective growth, protect wildlife habitat, and foster affordable housing. City Club’s Conversation of the Year nomination recognizes LandWatch for forging compromises with local developers that allowed the community to come to a consensus around the future shape of the city.
Following up on that success, Central Oregon LandWatch and Brooks Resources Corporation launched the Bend Central District (BCD) Initiative on Thursday, October 12 with more than 150 community members in attendance. The BCD Initiative is a grassroots effort to build momentum and support for the Bend Central District’s transformation into a vibrant and healthy mixed use neighborhood with safe connections between East and West Bend.
City Club of Central Oregon also recognized LandWatch for its role in the restoration of Whychus Creek. In the 1980s, Paul Dewey led the efforts to stop plans to pipe Whychus Creek and log its banks. He also worked to have the upper creek designated as a Wild and Scenic River. That was followed by collaboration between irrigators and conservation interests who have worked together to restore stream flows, riverbanks and habitat. Once again, LandWatch is recognized for its contributions to civil conversation, credible advocacy and problem-solving.
Central Oregon LandWatch’s pragmatic method to protecting our quality of life is reflected in its double nomination for the Conversation of the Year award, which celebrates the quality of the conversation itself and recognizes the community as the true winner.
The winner of the first annual Conversation of the Year award will be announced on Tuesday, October 24 at the City Club Member Mixer.