Seriously Consider the Governance Structure of the City
Bend 2030, the Bend Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Central Oregon will partner to host two interactive public input forums on charter review on September 20 and November 1 at the Central Oregon Collective on Bend’s Eastside.
The two forums will feature educational presentations from the League of Oregon Cities and regional experts providing an opportunity to make our views known on electing and paying city councilors and changing the current tradition of having the councilors appoint the mayor.
Four years ago Bend City Councilors decided they wanted to keep the long time tradition that councilors appoint the mayor among themselves. However, the growth and challenges in Bend are enormous and it’s long overdue to rethink the leadership format for the City.
Bend is the largest city in Oregon with an appointed mayor. An appointment that comes from a vote of the elected councilors leaving the residents of Bend no say in who serves in that important role. Why should a few people sitting on the council decide the leader of the City?
The mayor’s position has several duties above and beyond serving on the council including setting the council agendas, acting as a figure head for the City and conducting council meetings.
Bend residents should have an opportunity to elect their own mayor, not because other cities our size do it, but because this City needs a vision. And the person serving as leader of our City should answer directly to the voters. Every day Bend is faced with new issues from traffic and tourism to infrastructure and murals.
It would be nice to hear what the top elected official saw as the primary goals of the city: how to solve affordable housing, taxes, transportation, handicapped access and a myriad of other challenges facing Bend. We should be able to choose a leader who best fits our views of the current challenges as well as a vision for the future.
A report of the public input collected at the forums will be presented to the Bend City Council early next year along with recommendations from participants on how a formal charter review process might be best structured. Any charter review changes would require approval by vote of Bend residents. Ballot measures may be brought to voters by the city council directly or through a public petition process.
Please take the time to weigh in on these critical questions.