Building permit boom means new jobs in Bend

City restoring some positions cut during recession

City of Bend will hire more staff

BEND, Ore. - If you're looking for a job, the city of Bend may be hiring. It plans to add a handful of people to deal with rising demand in building permits.

Bend city councilors will talk about adding six new employees at their meeting on Wednesday.

Three of the new hires will help in the permit processing. The other three are administrative positions that were once cut.

Along with the new positions, city officials tell us they're starting to refill the positions left open.

Since January 2008, the city of Bend has laid off a total of 60 employees. Of those 60 employees, 10 eventually were hired back in a variety of positions.

Now the city's looking to bring back three more.

"Those are more reorganization positions, they are not necessarily new positions," said Bend City Manager Eric King. "We had them at one time, and we are bringing some of those back."

The city is also hoping to add three positions in the Community Development Permit Center.

"We want to make sure we are not adding any more delays for folks who want to get going on construction," King said.

All this coming as the city saw a 65 percent jump in building permits over the past fiscal year.

"I think we are following the national trends and that there is an overall improvement in the housing market," King said. "So Bend is just seeing part of that."

The addition of six new full-time employees isn't the only upbeat news the city will look at.

A positive community survey will also be presented.

"The purpose of the survey is to give the city council what the citizens think is important," said City of Bend Communications Manager Justin Finestone.

About 60 percent of the 400 residents polled in the phone survey gave the city an A or B grade -- that's up 11 percent when the last survey was taken in 2007.

More than 90 percent of the residents said funding for the three city services: public safety, infrastructure, and economic and commmunity development, are very or somewhat important.

"Many cities use this to poll their residents and see what they are thinking about many issues," Finestone said. "We chose to do it at budget time, to help the council prioritize the budget."

Along with the phone survey, the city's doing an online survey with the same questions.

You can take part in it by going to this website:

It's open until the end of February.

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