(Photo courtesy of Envision Bend)
Poll: Strategies Tackling Growth & Social Needs Rank as High Priorities for Greater Bend Residents
Greater Bend area residents view several strategies meant to tackle rapid growth, serve those most in need, and protect and enhance quality-of-life attributes as high priorities for the community, according to a recent poll conducted by Envision Bend.
The online poll completed by 933 residents was conducted in February and March to test potential strategies intended to ensure Bend remains livable in the future. The strategies were derived from ideas provided by residents during Envision Bend’s community outreach work in 2022. The poll listed 15 potential strategies in each of four focus areas and asked respondents to choose their top five in each focus area.
Seven of the potential strategies received majority support from poll respondents. Those strategies include:
- Ending Homelessness — 66 percent of poll respondents chose this strategy, which calls for adopting a nationwide program to ensure houselessness is temporary and transitional for people
- Apprentice Trades Program — 62 percent of respondents chose this strategy, which would increase the number of construction workers needed to build more housing
- Strategically Planned Growth — 60 percent of respondents chose this strategy, which aims to discourage urban sprawl or development that encroaches on forested or recreational areas
- Expanded Child Care Facilities — 56 percent of respondents chose this strategy, which aims to Integrate child care in new housing developments and encourages major employers to provide or help subsidize child care for working families
- Urban Trails Network — 52 percent of respondents chose this strategy, which calls for investing in an interconnected system of urban trails, including dedicated bike lanes that are totally separated from streets
- Walkable Neighborhood Centers — 51 percent of respondents chose this strategy, which would promote walkable neighborhood centers citywide by encouraging improved streets and sidewalks, shops and services for daily needs, a mix of housing, small parks and playgrounds, and easy access to public transportation
- Urban Forest & Nature Trails — 51 percent of respondents chose this strategy, which would conserve and protect mature trees in the city and promote the planting of native trees in all new residential and commercial developments and publicly-owned areas
Several of the other potential strategies were chosen by 40 to 49 percent of respondents. A full report on the poll findings is available at envisionbend.org/reports.
“Many of the top ranked strategies from the poll were not surprising. Ending houselessness and strategically planning our city’s growth have been prevalent themes in our community for a long time and will continue to be priorities as we move forward with the Bend Vision Project,” said Presley Quon, Envision Bend secretary and executive assistant at Mount Bachelor. “It was interesting to see ‘Apprentice and Trades Programs’ as the frontrunner in the ‘Building an Economy for Everyone’ Focus Area, and I’m curious to see what kinds of opportunities and outcomes will emerge from that.”
The poll results are helping inform four Envision Bend Vision Action Teams that are now meeting to develop final strategies for a five-year Vision Action Plan for the greater Bend area.
Open for three weeks, the poll attracted a disproportionate number of older residents (41 percent said they were 60 years and older) and those with higher incomes (about 38 percent said their annual household income is $125,000 and above). Overall, 84 percent of respondents identified as White; eight percent identified as Latino, Black, Native American, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or two or more races, and eight percent preferred not to disclose their race or ethnicity. About 80 percent of respondents live inside the Bend city limits and another 17 percent live in Deschutes County outside the city limits.