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Bend's State of the City focus: transportation, housing

Mayor Sally Russell, City Manager Eric King speak

Bend Chamber hosts State of the City event

BEND, Ore. - The Bend Chamber hosted a State of the City event Tuesday night, and it was a packed house where City Manager Eric King and Mayor Sally Russell spoke on several topics, including major efforts underway to address the city's transportation and housing needs.

The city is weighing how it wants to move forward with improving transportation across the city.

Ultimately, the city wants to see safety on the streets improved, as well as making sure congestion out on the roads is limited.

King said the next step is to take a hard look at what projects should be a priority, and then look at funding possibilities, including a possible bond measure next year.

"We need to hear that feedback of the projects that will help improve the overall experience of people that are trying to move around in Bend, whether its being stuck in traffic, it's missing pieces of infrastructure, a sidewalk or a bike lane," he said. "And it's about just improving safety and really making Bend safe and livable for everyone. And transportation is a big piece of that." 

Right now, the city leaders are still weighing if they'll go out for a bond measure.

They'll also look to find more federal and state funding to help improve transportation, and make tax dollars go farther.

Russell also spoke about housing in the city. She said that with continued growth across the city, leaders are working to make sure Bend can keep up.

Russell said the council has set a goal of adding 3,000 new housing units over the next two years.

"It's a lofty goal," Russell said. "We know it, but it really gives us reasons to try things we haven't tried before -- public-private partnerships, different ways of funding different types of housing."

Russell said right now, the city is on pace to add 2,800 new housing units in the next two years, which puts them on track to achieving their goal.

The mayor also said the city is going to continue to do more outreach to hear from the public about the future of Bend. She said councilors and city staff will be going to homeowner association meetings throughout the fall.


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