The BNC steering committee joined representatives of several neighborhood associations (NAs) in a recent meeting with three city councilors (Roats, Livingston, and Moseley) to discuss forming a standing committee to address the impacts of growth on livability.
Many in the room favored the proposal by Councilor Bill Moseley. He was involved in forming the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board, which reports to the Council. He thinks Bend should have a comprehensive, strategic approach to livability concerns and believes a structure like BEDAB would help move policy alternatives to the Council for deliberation.
Others in the meeting thought the city didn’t need another committee, but should further empower the NAs. One way to do this would be to give official recognition to the Neighborhood Association Round Table (NART), which is only an ad hoc group at this time. NA representatives serving on NART would then do some of the work envisioned for a livability committee.
Whether either idea will be acted on remains unclear. Mayor Roats seemed to prefer recognizing NART, but expressed a concern that neighborhoods across the city have different priorities, and might have trouble separating immediate problems from what’s best for long-term citywide policies.
BNC favors both empowering neighborhood associations and forming a standing committee
BNC believes there doesn’t have to be a choice between empowering the NAs and having a better structure for getting livability issues before the Council. To be effective, the NAs need some additional support from the City and clear direction on what is expected from them. They also need to know that they can and should take positions on issues before the City. At the same time, a group appointed by the Council (including NA reps), with a standing parallel to BEDAB, would facilitate access to the Council regarding livability issues.