City of Bend Mayor Candidates

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(Photo left to right, Charles Webster Baer, Michael R. Hughes, Brian Douglas, Joshua Langlais, Sally Russell, Bill Mosley) 

CHARLES WEBSTER BAER
Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
I am running for Mayor of Bend because I think that the city of Bend is in an exciting and unique position to lead the state of Oregon and the country and the world in the two most important political issues of this millennium. Number one, fiscal transparency in government and number two, female reproductive rights.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
One, I am the founder of www.globalinternetgovernment.com. Two, I am willing to talk to anyone about anything at any time and this will be my open-door policy if I am elected Mayor. Three, I am willing to make the tough decisions for the future of Bend, like use eminent domain to get road and traffic issues resolved.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
As Mayor I will use eminent domain to create major parking structures on both sides of the parkway between Greenwood and Franklin. I will concentrate growth and infrastructure towards the east on Alfalfa Market Road. I will have a ten-year phase out plan to ban motorized vehicles from downtown in a three block area on Wall and Bond between Franklin and Greenwood and I will put a bridge over the highway in Tumalo.

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
I will turn Alfalfa Market Road into a six or eight lane super highway all the way to Prineville Reservoir and that will create the space we need to expand on everything from affordable housing to industrial and retail.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future?
I love the arts and would promote murals and statues, more parks, larger parks and would attempt to promote environmentalism throughout the city and Central Oregon. Environmentalism has always been my focus and priority and always will be. If Mayor of Bend, I would attempt to get the entire community galvanized and excited to save the earth’s environment.

BRIAN DOUGLAS
Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
I have been a Volunteer Disability Rights Advocate, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist in Bend since 1990. As an advocate I have worked with virtually every City Manager, Council and many City staff over this time period. In short, I understand how Bend City government works first hand. The position was created last May, and I decided that I should run. I am a visionary and that is what Bend needs to plan for the next 25-50 years.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
My advocacy, as a business owner I founded and created the Cascade Lakes Relay which has donated nearly $300,000 for Bend and La Pine charities. As a philanthropist, I created the Boy Scout Christmas Tree Recycling Program that since 1990 has raised more than $1.25M for Scouting programs in Central Oregon.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
First the trust of citizens must be regained. My proposed $100M GO Bond would pave seven miles of city streets, infill 300 miles of non-existent sidewalk, install 4,850 non-existent curb ramps, provide traffic calming techniques in our neighborhoods (slowing down the cars) and a number of other infrastructures neglected for the past 30 years. Community support comes from a good plan, well executed and meaningful to citizens.

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
DESCO County Commissioner DeBone says there is a great deal of land available in South County that should be reclassified and could be developed for “Starter Homes”. I am confident that the same situation exists to some degree east of Bend as well.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future?
Economic has been explained above. Culturally it will evolve as Bend develops into the future.

MICHAEL R. HUGHES
Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
I am running for Mayor because I love Bend and I want to give back to the community as I feel public service is important. I am a quick thinking, skillful communicator and commonly work to bring opposing sides together. As an attorney I have helped business clients navigate the difficult landscape of local land use issues which requires working with city and county officials. I understand what businesses and entrepreneurs must go through to become successful. I also solve complex problems by examining issues from every perspective before setting a plan of action. Most of the issues facing the city of Bend have legal components. The mayor needs to be able to analyze these issues not only from a legal perspective, but also with the diverse opinions of the citizens in mind and common sense. I have worked in farm fields, as a welder in a motorcycle factory, on a road construction crew, as a security guard, in a lumber yard and stocking shelves in a grocery store. My diverse work background and legal expertise allows me to understand and articulate issues from a multitude of perspectives and these skills and strengths make me uniquely qualified to lead the City of Bend as Mayor into the future.

Bend is at a cross-road, what we do now will directly affect those that live in Bend 25, 50, 75 and 100 years from now. I still want those residents of the future to say, “Wow, the past leaders in Bend really got it right and did something amazing.” We cannot afford to sit on our laurels because we all feel Bend is great now. I feel if we Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Smart and Be Bend we will continue to build an even better Bend. Allow the community to dream big. Drake Park is beautiful and iconic; however, make it even better perhaps creating a river walk like Austin or St. Louis. Fire prevention and planning is a necessity to prevent what happened in Redding this year. Evaluation of our fireworks policy should be on the agenda. We have such an eclectic community, it would be fantastic to hold regular town hall meetings to move this community forward and bring the community together with pride. We have the opportunity to lead in many issues such as homelessness. Let’s be visionaries and take a stand for those which are vulnerable in our community.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
Though personal goals and accomplishments are important, I prefer to highlight some accomplishments that required a coalition of people to be successful. These better articulate how I am ready to be a consensus builder for the City of Bend as its Mayor. First, I am on the executive committee for the Cannabis Law Section of the Oregon State Bar. For the last two years we have been working to develop a section of the State Bar for an entirely new practice area of law. There are currently only two states with Cannabis Law Sections, though it is one of the fastest growing areas of the law. I was nominated and appointed because of my previous work with cannabis law reform and as one of the earlier attorneys to specialize in cannabis law. I helped steer an annual Cannabis Law Institute to Bend that will premiere in 2019. Second, I supported and campaigned for Measure 91 which brought cannabis under a statewide tax and regulated system and ended cannabis prohibition in Oregon. After helping to change the laws at the state level, I served on the City of Bend’s Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee to help draft proposed rules to regulate cannabis businesses within the city of Bend. This industry has brought millions of dollars of economic growth to Bend and Central Oregon and will continue to do so in the future. It has benefited many ancillary businesses in the community such as realtors, accountants, electricians, contractors, security companies, engineers, software designers, etc. Third, I have been working to bring back the industrial hemp industry for over 25 years. I served on the ODA’s Industrial Hemp Rules Advisory Committee to help draft rules for the hemp industry in Oregon. I am also one of the pioneers of hemp production for flower. The hemp industry is back and will soon be another multi-million-dollar industry that is spurring economic growth in Central Oregon. All these efforts show my ability to collaborate with others and succeed in achieving difficult goals.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
There was an excellent presentation at the Tower Theatre last month by Jeffrey Tumlin about transportation. There were members of the land use and planning staffs from the county and city there. I am not sure if any City Councilors were there, but they should have been. This presentation was very educational about transportation issues in general. He talked about determining what “values” were important to a city before setting transportation policy. Thus, the most important step in building community support for a transportation plan is establishing those values. This will require extensive and exhaustive discussions with the citizens. Currently, the city is building around hubs and this is a good idea, as it creates neighborhoods where shopping and other amenities are within walking and biking distances. This should continue as it will reduce some street traffic. The city should also explore safe bike, pedestrian and scooter only corridors. However, we also need to build into our transportation plan ways to reduce traffic caused by tourism. Oregon State University should build a large parking garage and make it included as part of tuition, so the students do not have to pay extra for its use. The downtown area should also build an additional parking garage to eliminate parking congestion. Additionally, the city should reserve several parking spaces in the downtown and Old Mill districts for bus and trams from hotels. These drop-off and pick-up areas would encourage hotels and their guests to use the hotel’s group transportation and help reduce traffic during peak tourist season. Another way to cut down on tourist traffic is to have a city owned trolley, paid for by TRT, that would shuttle tourists from the hotels to the hotspots of Bend on a frequent schedule making it a viable option for the tourists to go and get back to their hotel with ease. We need citizen input to truly build community support for our future transportation plan.

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
First, the current UGB will need to be filled in to increase the workforce and affordable housing options in the city. This may require the city establishing a requirement that at least 10-20 percent of future developments will be for workforce and affordable housing. This will require high-density developments in most circumstances. However, these developments will only work if they are accepted by the surrounding neighborhood. This will require developers to present plans that mitigate neighborhood concerns and integrate the development into the surrounding area. This will require an open and honest notice and comment period for developments. Currently in Northwest Crossing, there is some multi-family housing mixed among the community and it looks terrific and residents of NW Crossing seem very accepting. As Mayor, I would strive to bring developers and neighbors to a consensus so more affordable housing can be built. Second, we need to approach our future UBG with a collaborative approach involving the county. There is potential land available to increase the UGB, but there are potential legal hurdles that would need to be addressed. If accomplished, it could provide land in the UGB that could be used for workforce and affordable housing. Additionally, we should make it a priority to create more mixed-use zoning paring commercial and residential. Developing a tiny home community hub (Juniper Ridge maybe) that could vary from affordable housing to those who just are looking to live a minimalist footprint. This would require a lot of land use changes; however, I believe it is something that could be accomplished and would reward our entire city and all its residents.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future?
Economically, the city needs to keep fostering a business-friendly environment. We also must attract new businesses, especially manufacturers and high tech. The cannabis industry will continue to see growth but will soon be surpassed by the hemp and hemp product industry. Bend has a chance to attract large-scale, international CBD businesses, including those from the pharmaceutical sector. I would work to bring a public/private collaboration to conduct Impaired driving research with the Bend Police Department, OSU-Cascades and private companies developing systems for accurately determining cannabis impairment. As Mayor, I would work diligently to attract businesses from all sectors to locate in the city of Bend.
Culturally, Bend has much to offer. As a fan and supporter of Bend’s arts and entertainment scene, as Mayor I would be an ambassador to artists and entertainers and always welcome these visitors to our city. My family and I have seen so many great performances in Bend. I would work with Councilor Moseley to find a way to finance the building of a fine arts center. Bend lacks the type of fine arts performing center that its citizens deserve. A state-of-the-art performance center would benefit local and traveling artists alike, including the local schools and university. Certain performances and artists that are too big for the Tower Theater would be able to use a new fine arts center. I would support looking for various ways to fund this project including TRT, cannabis taxes and private funding. A modern fine arts center is the last piece of the puzzle for continuing Bend’s cultural vitality in the future.

JOSHUA LANGLAIS
Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
I decided to run for mayor because I am dissatisfied with the current state of our political scene and hoped that I could change the discourse and turn the conversation towards one more community and socially minded. I am a very curious person and an excellent listener, and I currently use those traits in my photojournalism pursuits through my community-building project, A Community Thread. I envision using those same skills in the mayoral role.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
One, I am exceptionally dedicated to tasks I put my mind to. You can see direct evidence of this most obviously in my photojournalism projects. Take a look at iheartstrangers.com and acommunitythread.com. Two, I work very hard to keep an open mind while simultaneously living up to my own standard of values. I am willing to listen to another’s point of view and consider things from their perspective. I consider this a daily accomplishment or, at the very least, a daily effort. Three, I’ve worked very hard to live a life I am proud of. I have very few regrets and have never sacrificed my core values for the sake of getting ahead.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
Listen. Listen. Listen. The people of this community have a good sense for not only what they want but also how they want to get it. I plan to listen to all the folks with something to say and bring that collective wisdom to the table when it comes to casting my votes on transportation and every other issue. I also plan to maintain a very high level of transparency and discuss matters openly, offering the rhyme and the reason to the community I will be working for.

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
My heart is truly in line with this issue as it directly affects me and people I am close with. I plan to gather brilliant ideas from within our community and implement them in ways that best suit us all. We should make severe adjustments to the systems currently in place to encourage building more workforce housing and use the successful examples that already exist globally as we continue to grow. We also need to celebrate our workforce instead of looking for ways to “solve the problem”. The problem may be in our outlook.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future? Perhaps this is more of a hope than a fact. Bend wants to be known for this and should be known for this and can be known for this. But we get to decide whether we will be known for this. We must decide this together as an entire community. I want to hear from every person, representing every walk of life, regarding this issue. What do we want to be known for? My plan is to really listen to the community and then represent our collective voice as we grow and mature and set the example for communities all around us.

BILL MOSLEY
Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
We are loving Bend to death. Bend is a beautiful community filled with friendly and enterprising people. Our pristine wilderness, thriving downtown, growing economy and neighborhood livability would be the envy of any city. Consequently, Bend is among the fastest growing cities in the U.S. with twelve new residents moving here every day. We need to manage our growth. Managing our growth means growing only as fast as we can meet our needs for housing, transportation and livability. Bend is not doing that. We are always behind on growth and consequentially reacting to problems. Our lack of strategic vision creates problems like extreme housing scarcity, needless traffic congestion, and a degraded quality of life. My experience growing my software company over the last 20 years taught me to set goals, make plans, execute and measure results. Bend needs a strategic, heartfelt leader who can help us protect the Bend we love and create a future for our children.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
In two years as a city councilor, my leadership on Council resulted in:
1. Catching up on Roads: contracting to complete Empire and Murphy Road and fixing our roads — with no new taxes.
2. Addressing Housing Costs — Creating a comprehensive strategy to build more housing; setting goals for workforce housing; establishing a tourism-rainy day fund to reduce demand.
3. Preserving Neighborhood Livability: Creating a livability committee; mediating conflicting land uses; enhancing the safety and cleanness of downtown.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
People will naturally support a transportation plan with realistic and accurate goals that reflect voter desires. I will end the war on cars, because voters despise such efforts. Our transportation plan should:
• Make obvious street connections like Purcell
• Fix broken intersections like Franklin and 3rd, and Wilson and 15th
• Maximize existing capacity with actuated traffic signals and turn lanes
• Design roads to meet actual traffic demand
• Plan using real numbers, instead of assuming there are no tourists driving in Bend like our current model does
• Improve neighborhood safety by fixing intersection of Wells Acres and Butler Market and providing simple fixes like crosswalks
• Fix failed bus system by innovating until we find something that works
in Bend
• Plan for the future with an east-side parkway, for example

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
I envision a Bend where my children and Bend residents experience the pride that comes from home ownership. Bend’s housing crisis threatens our way of life. The dramatic imbalance between supply and demand promises a future where home ownership and even renting lies beyond the reach of our children and most working people. Without affordable homes, our economy will stall as employees cannot afford to live here.
I propose the following common-sense solutions to Bend’s housing crisis:
• Implement the Urban Growth Boundary — Bend adopted a UGB plan two years ago. Despite two years since the implementation, the land still lacks roads and sewers; without the necessary infrastructure, the land remains undeveloped, with no housing built to date! We need to build roads and sewers to support our growth and ability to build homes.
• Plan for the future — Getting a UGB expansion requires years of a lengthy process. We need to plan now for future growth by starting the next round of the UGB process.
• Reduce regulatory costs — Regulation costs up to 28 percent of the price of a home. We need to provide an effective permitting process and examine the regulatory requirements that add costs to each Bend home.
• Train tradesmen — Work with high schools, COCC and other training organizations to increase the number of carpenters, framers, and other tradesmen.
• Slow tourism growth — Most new residents visit Bend as a tourist and then decide to move here. Currently, about nine new people move to Bend each day. The $2.9 million the city spends each year on tourism advertising just adds gasoline to the fire.
• Planning Compatibility — Allow density consistent with the density of existing neighborhoods.
• Prioritize housing land — Increase the supply of housing relative to employment lands to moderate economic growth and decrease housing land scarcity.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future?
Our economic and cultural vitality comes from the residents of Bend, not our city government. We can protect the vitality of Bend by providing essential services, like public safety, transportation and water infrastructure, and land use regulations. Bend’s vitality is threatened by the city’s inability to manage growth. The mayor can keep the city focused on getting the basics done. Bend’s residents will do the rest.

SALLY RUSSELL
Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
I’m running for Mayor because I care deeply for this community. I believe in working hard for our community, and that the best work is done by leading and listening, bringing people together, and working collaboratively. Bend is at a pivotal moment in its history. The decisions made by this next Council, led by Bend’s new Mayor, will shape the City we enjoy, work and live in for the next 100 years. My extensive business background and MBA, together with my ongoing planning and Council work, have prepared me for this job. And as Mayor I will work hard for our community.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
1. Raising my amazing daughters by teaching them to welcome change but to value tradition, how to set the groundwork for their future, by supporting them while letting them learn how to manage life’s lessons, by teaching them how to adjust direction, and how to value the intrinsic benefits of working together.
2. Bend Planning Commission: For eight years I served on Bend’s Planning Commission, working on formative projects like the Old Mill and Northwest Crossing. We incorporated new ideas, transitioning from the past to an economy for the future; we changed the vision of Bend. As part of that, we developed a plan to build a series of neighborhoods instead of suburbs – complete communities where folks don’t have to go a long way to get services, groceries, work or even for a coffee or an evening out.
3. COTA (Central Oregon Trails Alliance) – When mountain biking was new, and Bend was emerging from the timber economy, I worked with others to create a partnership with USFS, and organized local shops and mountain bikers to build and take care of the new trail networks. These partnerships are still going strong today.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
To reach public approval for any transportation funding plan, my colleagues on Council, community members, taxpayers and Neighborhood Associations will need to work together. Together we must create a plan based on transportation needs throughout our community and put safeguards in place to ensure the dollars will be used wisely and efficiently. A long-term solution could be a combination of tourism funding, a bond measure, a gas tax, and possibly one or more other options — such as public/private partnerships — which are currently being evaluated. The funding subcommittee of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee has been working hard on viable options. I believe any solid transportation plan for Bend must allow people in Bend to move safely, and in a way that is affordable and meets their schedule.

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
Since I joined Council, I have voted over 15 times to make it less expensive to build housing at the middle- and lower-income levels. Rents have recently stabilized. Clearly, we have work yet to do: housing prices remain high in relationship to area income. Bend’s next opportunity for workforce housing is to create a robust private/public partnership with growing companies for their workforce. As Mayor, I will bring together experts in our community to inform the best way to get more of this much needed housing built. I will advocate strongly for a “concierge” service at the City of Bend for smaller builders, owners and developers to move more easily through our complicated planning and building departments.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future?
Bend’s economic and cultural vibrancy distinguishes us from other places. I will continue to focus on jobs development which create and keep living wage jobs compatible with Bend’s sense of place. Our value of entrepreneurship, and the emerging/growing tech, outdoor, bioscience sectors add diversity and resiliency to our other economic sectors. Bend’s Enterprise Zones encourage more living wage jobs. Culture and the arts must remain as a fundamental component to Bend. This includes allowing outdoor music venues to operate during our very short summer season. Finally, we all know that tourists make an enormous economic contribution to our community. Many of the businesses and amenities locals enjoy today wouldn’t exist without tourism. However, we do need to manage tourism impacts on our community.

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