Housing agency gets extra dollars for rental assistance

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: August 06. 2007 5:00AM PST

Housing Works, the Redmond-based nonprofit that helps families obtain affordable housing, has unexpectedly received an extra $427,000 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The 8 percent increase in Housing Works’ annual allocation from HUD allowed the organization to issue housing vouchers to all 350 people who applied for one last month, said Keith Wooden, Housing Works’ director of housing.

The federal government caps the number of Section 8 vouchers — rental assistance for low-income families — that Housing Works can give out at 1,026 per year, Wooden said. But before the extra allocation, the organization’s funding would have allowed it to provide only about 940 vouchers this year.

“We were at the level where we were spending as much as our contract allowed and as people dropped out (of the program) we were able to issue more. And so when they gave us this extra money, we’re just putting it on the street where it’s supposed to go,” Wooden said. “With this extra money, we can actually fund all of them, so we’re playing a little catch-up and looking forward — hopefully they’ll adjust it like this again, maybe in January of next year.”

The vouchers are awarded through a lottery system and average about $475 a month per family. Last year, Housing Works was not able to issue any new Section 8 vouchers between May and December because of a lack of funding, Wooden said. He added that it is normal for about 350 people to enter the lottery for vouchers every time the organization opens up the list.

Wooden said he found out about the extra funding in June. It was a surprise because Housing and Urban Development’s budget runs on a calendar year, and in January it cut the amount of money going to Housing Works by 3 percent.

“They gave it to us in July, which means that we have until the end of the year to spend it, so that’s what we’re doing right now,” Wooden said. “For the rest of the year it will definitely help out the people who need it. The big question mark is every year they change it, so who knows what will happen in January of next year.”

Wooden said that HUD originally allocated about $5.1 million to Housing Works for this year. He added that he wasn’t given any explanation for the recent bump in funding.

Martha Dilts, deputy regional director for HUD in Seattle, wrote in an e-mail that the U.S. Congress recently “changed the funding formula” for Section 8 housing vouchers, which allowed HUD to increase funds for organizations like Housing Works. All of the public housing authorities in Oregon received similar increases, Dilts said.

Tim Cox, Housing Works’ chief financial officer, said the organization’s total annual budget is about $8 million.

“Those housing assistance payments make up about $5 (million) of that — it’s a big portion of our budget that just flows right through,” Cox said.

In addition to handing out the vouchers to residents throughout Central Oregon, Housing Works has spearheaded about a dozen affordable housing developments in its 30-year history. For this year, it is working on one project in northeast Bend and one in Madras. The apartments are usually rented to families who earn 60 percent or less of the area’s median income, Wooden said.

“Those are affordable properties and unlike Section 8 where (the amount of rent covered is) based off your income, everybody in a three-bedroom pays the same amount,” Wooden said. “Section 8 is for the lowest segment of income — this is more for the middle section of the work force.”


Principal’s online profile pulled for religious content

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: August 04. 2007 5:00AM PST

A visitor to Powell Butte Elementary School’s official Web site used to see a profile of Principal D.C. Lundy under the link titled “Administration.”

“He has been teaching and inspiring youth and staff alike at Powell Butte since 1979,” the text read. “When asked what he likes best about his job, he answered, ‘It allows me to do what God wants me to do in public — serve. …’ In his spare time, Mr. Lundy loves playing tennis, playing and writing music, studying Creation research and studying the Bible.”

On Thursday, the Crook County School District removed the biography. Superintendent Steve Swisher said he had never looked at the profile before this week and, after reviewing it, decided that it could be “misleading.”

“I’m not sure it’s inappropriate for a person to describe their own beliefs and who they are, but I did think that it was confusing because a person might be led to believe that’s our school curriculum, which it’s not,” Swisher said. “I thought we should pull it until we really review it.”

Lundy did not return repeated calls for comment made over several days.

The incident has raised questions for school officials about the gray areas of the church-state separation. In recent years, discussing creationism in public schools has been a hot topic of debate across the country and in Central Oregon. In March, a part-time teacher at Sisters High School was fired for presenting materials in biology class that deviated from the district’s curriculum on evolution and included information on the Bible and creationism, according to earlier Bulletin reports.

Gene Evans, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education, said administrators and teachers have to be careful when bringing their personal religious beliefs into the school setting.

“The fine line that schools have to walk is when does talking about religion become promoting religion, and so that’s what we’re talking about here, and that’s a decision that the local communities have to make,” Evans said. “It sounds like he said these are his personal activities away from school. That’s the kind of thing, sure, that’s a description of the person, but you have to be sure that you don’t then become promoting or advocating for a religious belief on school grounds or school time, and that’s what we’re watching out for.”

Swisher said the district is in the process of revamping its Web sites, which were created more than 10 years ago. As part of that process, the information that appears about principals at the different schools in the system will be standardized.

“Some basic information about the principals (should be included),” he said. “…degrees they have and experience they have and perhaps a little bit of educational philosophy, I think that’s all very appropriate. I don’t know how appropriate who my favorite football player is, or how I like to go hunting, or what my own personal religious beliefs are — I’m not sure we should personalize it to that degree.”

Swisher said he asked Lundy about the profile, and Lundy said he wrote it eight or nine years ago, when he was a teacher at Powell Butte Elementary. Lundy told Swisher he was not aware it had been moved into the administration section of the Web site.

But the first line of the biography read, “D.C. Lundy is Powell Butte’s principal,” indicating that it was revised at some point. Swisher said he has asked the district’s technology department about Powell Butte’s Web site, and no one is sure when, why or by whom Lundy’s bio was posted.

“That was probably on the Powell Butte Elementary Web site then 10 years ago as a bio of one of the teachers, then at some point when that same teacher became the principal then probably one of the tech guys most likely — I don’t even know who — was making corrections and basically just slid it under the administration (section),” he said. “And right now as I ask questions, no one here actually knows how that occurred.”

Crook County School Board Chairman Jeff Landaker said he has asked Swisher to look into who created the Web site.

“I will know how it got posted — I’ve requested that information to be given to me at the next school board meeting (on Aug. 13),” Landaker said. “I want to make sure that is something that it doesn’t fall through the cracks or loopholes or anything else in the future.”

Landaker said he thought it was correct for the school district to remove the site as soon as officials became aware of it.

“I feel that’s something that D.C. Lundy was doing on a personal basis — it’s not a reflection of any curriculum that the school district has really adopted,” he said. “If I was an outsider and I pulled this up, I can see where it could cause some controversy. It’s probably not an appropriate thing to have posted on any district Web site.”

Evans said the state Department of Education has not heard any concerns about the biography.

“We get involved if there’s a complaint and there hasn’t been a complaint about Powell Butte or about the Web site,” he said. “We don’t go out and surf the Web and look at people’s bios and do that, but we certainly follow up if somebody makes a complaint and says, ‘I was offended or I felt uncomfortable sending my child to Powell Butte because of the principal’s statements.’”

According to state law, if the Department of Education receives a complaint “that on its face is colorable that a school district or public charter school sponsors, financially supports or is actively involved with religious activity,” the superintendent’s office will start a preliminary investigation of the facts in the case. If the investigation finds a “substantial basis” to believe there is a legitimate concern, the Department of Education will immediately withhold all state school funds due to the school, and schedule a hearing to further investigate the complaint.

Swisher said the school district does not have policies specifically addressing principals and teachers discussing their religious beliefs “outside of the classroom.”

“We do have policies about teaching controversial topics,” he said. “The whole piece up there about creationism and stuff, of course, that’s not in our science curriculum — we follow the state laws in that particular area. … We do have not as a policy, but just a practice, clarity and making sure that we’re not confusing people.”

Swisher added that he has not heard from any parents about the site.

“In this case I hadn’t had any complaints and, frankly, wasn’t aware of it,” he said. “I’m not sure how many people have even seen it. As far as I know, it’s not one of the hot topics in town.”

Rebecca Walker, who has a sixth-grader at Powell Butte Elementary School and two older children in the Crook County school system, described Lundy as an “upstanding, aboveboard, do-things-right guy.”

“He does not hide the fact that he is affiliated with the church, yet he doesn’t use that as being principal of the school,” Walker said. “I think he’s aware that he has to be very careful because of state regulations that mix the school with the church — he doesn’t do that at all.”

Walker said she had not ever seen Lundy’s profile, but she doesn’t think it was improper for the principal to include information about his religious beliefs.

“It’s kind of a tough row to hoe because it is a part of him, yet it doesn’t overtake his role as being principal,” she said. “I think that Mr. Lundy has found (that line) very well.”

Lundy’s biography on the school’s Web site was not unique only in its content. Only one other Crook County principal, Jim Golden, of Crook County High School, has posted personal information about himself on the school site. Golden’s profile mainly features information about his educational and professional background, but also mentions his wife and two sons and concludes, “We love outdoor activities including skiing, rafting, fishing and mountaineering.”

All of the Web sites for Crook County’s schools are accessed through the main district Web site, http://www.crookcounty.k12.or.us. Swisher said there has not been general oversight of the individual school sites since they were created, but some staffers in the information technology department are now working on unifying the sites.

Some of the Web sites in the Bend-La Pine Schools include a “message from the principal” describing the individual schools. High Desert Middle School Principal Gary DeFrang is the only one who has a personal statement, which includes information about his professional experience. Swisher said that reworking the Crook County School District’s Web site to have a more consistent format will help avoid confusing situations in the future.

“It will give us the ability then to go in and revise the content easily without having a lot of technical skill, without having Web design skill and that kind of stuff,” he said. “Right now the Web site is a conglomeration, I guess I would call it, of probably more than a dozen years of bits and pieces.”

Tricky Prineville intersection may be in line for help from resort; plan worries ODOT

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: August 03. 2007 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE — Drivers tired of the long waits at the intersection of Third and Main streets in downtown Prineville could be in for a measure of relief.

A planned resort development near Meadow Lakes Golf Course could involve the addition of left-turn arrows in the north-south direction on Main Street, one of the main routes through the city.

The Prineville Planning Commission in June approved RiverGate Resort, which is expected to include 291 condo and hotel room units, on the condition that the developers either install the left-turn lights or pay $30,000 to the city and about $9,000 to the Oregon Department of Transportation. But ODOT appealed the decision, saying it had not had time to evaluate the proposal and was concerned the wiring at the intersection would not support the weight of the extra lights.

Third Street is also U.S. Highway 26, and ODOT has jurisdiction over the intersection.

Josh Smith, a senior planner with the city of Prineville, said the work will include removing and reconfiguring the lights to reduce the weight on the span wire. An engineer for RiverGate Resort has concluded that the wire can support the extra weight, but ODOT has not yet agreed with that analysis, Smith said.

“We said, ‘It either works or it doesn’t, so we’ll give an option — if it doesn’t work, they’ll just give us the cash,’” Smith said. “(ODOT) wanted to have all the information on the table before we approved the application. That’s understandable, but the city was under the impression that it’s either going to work or it’s not and you can’t make that intersection any bigger — the museum is in the way, historic buildings are in the way.”

According to a letter from ODOT to the city community development department in June, ODOT is worried about the effects of future growth in Prineville on the transportation system.

“ODOT is concerned about the projected operational deficiency of U.S. 26 at Main Street — irrespective of the proposed development,” wrote ODOT Senior Planner Devin Hearing. “Serious discussions need to take place to identify a funding mechanism that will ensure the transportation system is capable of supporting the level of growth anticipated in the city.”

Attempts to reach ODOT officials were unsuccessful.

RiverGate Resort was OKed after the approval of Angler’s Canyon, another development that could add 877 homes south of the Crook County Fairgrounds. Because the Planning Commission approved Angler’s Canyon first, Smith said, the projected car trips for RiverGate Resort would have pushed the intersection at Third and Main over capacity. Adding the left-turn lights is a way for the developer to “mitigate” for those impacts.

The congestion at the Third and Main intersection affects traffic throughout the downtown Prineville corridor, Smith said. The corner already has left arrows in the east-west direction, but Smith said cars trying to turn left from Main Street onto Third often create problems.

“It is the main intersection in town,” he said. “Everyone stops at Third and Main, and one of the biggest problems is that turn lane — one car juts out and waits until all the traffic gets through and then goes through.”

Gordon Gillespie is a city councilor and the director of the Bowman Museum, which occupies a nearly 100-year-old building on the southeast corner of Third and Main streets. Gillespie said he sees traffic backed up at the intersection “on almost a constant basis.”

“I’ve experienced where I’ve been trying to get out of town and I want to turn left at that light, and I’ve sat there for three or four lights,” he said. “I think an arrow is going to help a lot.”

The city is looking at several options to relieve traffic on Third Street in the long term. Preliminary work has started on what planners call the “Second Street egress,” which would provide an alternative east-west route from the intersection of state Highway 126 and U.S. Highway 26 through downtown, Smith said. Another idea is to create a “couplet” system, with two parallel one-way streets, like in downtown Redmond.

“(Third and Main) is still going to be a clogged intersection. What’s really needed is a bypass which Second Street should provide,” Smith said. “What ODOT would really prefer us to do now is the couplet system.”

At its last regular meeting, the Prineville City Council set a date of Aug. 14 to hear ODOT’s appeal of RiverGate’s approval. But Smith said both sides have been in communication and are hoping to avoid the appeal.

“They need to figure out basically will the span wire hold all four lights — if it does, they’re happy,” he said. “The city and ODOT are still hoping for a compromise that keeps it from going to an appeal.”

Cascade Healthcare will run Prineville’s hospital

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: July 31. 2007 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE — The membership of Pioneer Memorial Hospital voted Monday night to accept a lease agreement that would hand over responsibility for running the hospital to Cascade Healthcare Community, the parent company of St. Charles Medical Centers in Bend and Redmond.

The deal leaves Pioneer Memorial with ownership of the hospital’s land, buildings and equipment. Cascade Healthcare will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the hospital, including employing the staff.

Cascade Healthcare has had a management agreement with Pioneer Memorial since 2001, meaning that it employs the hospital’s top administrators. It has a similar arrangement with Mountain View Hospital in Madras.

The company’s monthly rent will be equal to what Pioneer has to pay each month for its long-term debt liability, according to the terms of the lease agreement. That number will fluctuate, but a consultant for the hospital said Monday that the figure is currently a little less than $100,000 per month. Cascade Healthcare also agreed to a minimum $200,000 capital investment in Pioneer Memorial each year. The lease runs for a 23-year term.

Mark Severson, chairman of Pioneer Memorial’s board of directors, said before the meeting Monday that the deal will provide more support for the small, rural facility. Pioneer Memorial has federal designation as a critical access hospital, which means it gets more Medicare dollars, and it will retain that designation under the new agreement.

“Pioneer Memorial Hospital is having a difficult time keeping up with technology and services to our local community because it’s just so expensive to provide that, so we’re looking for a way to keep PMH healthy and keep it providing the great health care it has in the past to the community,” Severson said. “This would create more of a regional health system, which is good for the patient and is good for the community.”

After the vote, Severson said he doesn’t think that patients will notice big changes right away. He said he doesn’t know whether fees will increase, but he thinks they will “stay competitive.”

“I think they’re going to see business as usual at first, and I think as time goes on there will be gradual transitioning, but I firmly believe what we’re doing here is going to improve health care,” he said.

Jim Diegel, CEO and president of Cascade Healthcare, said the level of services should stay the same in Prineville.

“Our intention is to maintain services that are currently in Prineville,” Diegel told the members.

“Some of you may have heard that services in Redmond have been reduced as part of the merger (in 2001) … actually, there are more services that are offered now in Redmond than there were pre-merger.”

The hospital’s membership approved the agreement by a large margin, 51-15. Anyone who pays a $250 fee can become a member of Pioneer Memorial Hospital, and many of the members are hospital staff.

Under the terms of the agreement, the membership will stay in place and continue to elect the hospital board, which will act in an advisory role to Cascade Healthcare’s board.

All of Pioneer Memorial’s staff will be given jobs with Cascade Healthcare with at least their current salaries, according to the lease. Pioneer Memorial Hospital also will retain its current name, unlike when St. Charles Medical Center-Bend acquired the former Central Oregon Community Hospital in Redmond.

“I think in retrospect that was not the right thing to do,” said Diegel, who was the CEO of Central Oregon Community Hospital. “What we learned when we changed the name in Redmond, and that was very painful to those of us in Redmond at the time, when you change the name, you change the identity, you take away the history, you take away the pride.”

Diegel noted that the agreement with Pioneer Memorial is a lease rather than a merger of assets, which leaves more control with the Crook County community.

Thomas Matheson, a doctor at Pioneer Memorial, called the lease the “lesser of evils.”

“I’ve listened to a lot of fears and worries on this. I feel this is the only possible successful alternative,” Matheson said. “This may be a way to live in a time of a lot of changes, and those changes aren’t going away.”

Habitat’s production to increase

Group partners with American Legion post

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: July 30. 2007 5:00AM PST

Bend Area Habitat for Humanity is hoping to more than double the number of houses it builds this year from last year’s total, and it is looking for families who are hoping to become homeowners.

The organization also is partnering with the Bend post of the American Legion to encourage veterans to apply for a home.

Habitat for Humanity built four houses in Bend in the last fiscal year, Executive Director David Love said. Now, the group has set a goal of building 10 houses by July 2008.

“As you look at the affordable housing crisis in Bend, typically right now a house costs $347,000, a median-price house, and if you take someone at the median income, there’s not a house they can afford in town,” Love said. “We are expecting a 500 percent increase in families applying for our homes only because incomes aren’t rising as fast as the housing prices are.”

Love said that Habitat for Humanity focuses on people who earn between 35 percent and 75 percent of the area’s median income, which in 2006 was about $58,000 for a family of four, according to Economic Development for Central Oregon.

“There’s a lot of things going on for people with less income and things going on for people who are little bit higher than that,” he said.

“We’re not a homeless (housing organization). We’re not emergency crisis. We build homes for people who are living in substandard housing. They might be in a one-bedroom apartment with three children, let’s say, and we build homes for people with jobs who are not able to keep up with it,” Love continued.

Cynthia Jurgensen, development director for Bend Area Habitat, said the organization has been talking with Bend’s Stevens-Chute American Legion Post 4 for a couple of months about working to help a veteran family get involved with Habitat.

The group won’t set aside a house for a veteran family, Jurgensen added. Rather, if one is accepted through the regular application process, the American Legion will be a partner in the process.

“If we get a veteran, then (the American Legion) will engage with us and help us raise the money and they will engage veterans in the community to come out and build the home with us,” she said.

Jurgensen added that Habitat has nine homesites on Daggett Lane in northeast Bend, six of which already have families chosen for them. One of the other three could go to a veteran family. Crook County Habitat for Humanity also is looking for one family for a to-be-built house.

“Once we finish these nine homes, which should be done by end of fiscal year ’08 next July, we still have 10 more homes that we’re in the process of looking to purchase land for or get donated land, and I’m raising money for those homes,” she said.

“The goal of this American Legion partnership is we are looking for legacy partners to build a home with us every year.”

Jeff Lightburn, Stevens-Chute Post 4 commander, said the partnership makes sense for both groups.

“The legion is the nation’s largest veterans organization, and Habitat is the nation’s largest home builder and provider for affordable housing,” Lightburn said. “We’re mentoring veteran families who come forward, and we will help them through this process to be considered for affordable homes, so that’s kind of the first part of this journey.”

Lightburn said he thinks this is the first time in Oregon and maybe the country that the American Legion and Habitat for Humanity have formed a partnership. He added that helping veterans with homeownership is a way of reaching out to many segments of Central Oregon.

“They’re teachers; they are nurses; they are construction industry workers; they are retail workers; they are rest service industry workers. You think of it, a veteran works in all these professions and employment areas, so we’re really touching the entire community,” he said.

“We’re really supporting the community, but are giving an extra boost to people who served our country unselfishly, and when I talk about veterans, it’s not only people who have served in the past, (but) it could include current active-duty people whose families live here, or (people in the) National Guard.”

Habitat for Humanity is holding orientation meetings in late August, which are mandatory for anyone interested in applying for a house. The group is looking for 13 to 15 families in the Bend area and one family for a house in Crook County, Love said.

Jurgensen said that families or individuals who apply go through a credit check and home interview, and the application is then reviewed by a selection committee and Habitat’s board of directors. The time frame between orientation and move-in is usually from 16 to 18 months, according to Bend Area Habitat’s Web site.

“We have a very rigorous process that everyone has to go through and we’re not playing favorites with anyone,” she said. “The families are selected on a need basis — either income or there’s too many people living in a small, substandard living space.”

Prineville rebuilds its staff

‘In spite of the difficulties,’ city manager expects an improvement

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: July 29. 2007 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE — The city is rebuilding its public works department in the wake of administrative restructuring that eliminated the public works director’s position.

Jerry Brummer, a 15-year city employee, has been promoted from sewer and water superintendent to the newly created position of public works superintendent. The city also has appointed an “engineer in training” and is in the process of hiring a community development director, a job that formerly was called assistant city manager.

At the same time, officials have announced that a new test well at the Prineville Airport is producing plenty of high-quality water, after the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on three wells that did not produce drinkable water.

City Manager Robb Corbett said the goal of the changes was to make city government more efficient for Prineville residents as its population continues to expand, and the public works department takes on more infrastructure projects.

“I would hope that as people work with the city of Prineville, they would continually notice an improvement in the service that they receive, and a part of that requires us to continually examine what we’re doing and improve upon it,” Corbett said.

The administrative changes follow the departure of Public Works Director Jim Mole in January. Mole and former administrative assistant Samantha Waltjen are now suing the city, saying they were fired for raising concerns about potentially illegal financial practices. Corbett has maintained that Mole was laid off in an overall restructuring of city government.

The shake-up put then-Assistant City Manager Jerry Gillham in charge of the public works department. Gillham, whom some Prineville residents criticized for his role in dismissing Mole, resigned in February. The soon-to-be-hired community development director will oversee public works and report to Corbett.

“Just like everything I’ve learned in my life is once you get through painful experiences, you’re always a better human being, and I trust that we’ll be a better organization in spite of the difficulties of the last six months,” Corbett said.

Pat Hepperle, a city administrative assistant, said updated salary information for the new hires is not available. Brummer made about $50,000 a year as sewer and water superintendent, she said.

Brummer, 58, said his new role will focus more on the day-to-day operations of the public works department. The department has 12 employees, including Brummer.

“I’m more just in charge of the public works department itself,” he said. “The city is in the process of hiring a community development person, and as far as contracts and a lot of the environmental issues and stuff, that (person) will handle that part, so my duties are going to be more just to make sure we review plans and make sure the infrastructure gets put in properly and maintain it as we go.”

Brummer, who used to be in charge of the city’s sewer and water system, said tests on a new well the city has dug at the airport show it should be a success. The well is temporarily hooked up to the municipal system for the rest of the peak irrigation season, after which the contractor will install a permanent pump house. It will be the city’s biggest well, pumping about 1,000 gallons per minute.

“We have a test pump in just to have it in case of an emergency,” he said. “It’s really good quality water, so that’s a bonus.”

He added that important upcoming public works projects include a bridge on Elm Street in Prineville and a new route through the city on Second Street.

Corbett said Brummer has been serving as interim public works director for about six months.

“Jerry is a great guy,” he said. “I just feel like we’re very fortunate that he was interested in taking the position.”

Corbett said the newly hired “engineer in training,” Eric Klann, will be the city’s first full-time engineer. In the past, the city has relied on consultants for its engineering needs.

Klann is still in training because although he has earned a degree in engineering, he must work with a qualified engineer for two years before he can take the engineer’s exam, Corbett said. Mike Wilson, an engineer who has been consulting for the city for about a year, will continue to mentor Klann. Wilson earns between $75 and $90 an hour working for the city, Hepperle said.

“We had been trying for over a year to hire a city engineer and were unable to find someone that we felt comfortable hiring as the engineer,” Corbett said. “So we made the decision, based on our research of the job market, that it might be easier for us to accomplish what we were trying to do, which was to get a city engineer, if we hired someone that had a degree in engineering but wasn’t licensed.”

Corbett said Klann’s responsibilities will include reviewing land use applications that involve public infrastructure to make sure they comply with city standards and working with the public works department on the installation of public projects.

The new community development director will oversee the public works department, the city engineer and planning staff, Corbett said. He added that he has made an offer on the position and is waiting for a response.

The main responsibility of the position will be “coordinating the efforts between planning, engineering and public works,” Corbett said. The position essentially is the same as what was previously called the assistant city manager, although Corbett said he has removed language from the job description saying that the assistant city manager is in charge in the absence of the city manager. Gillham had been Prineville’s first assistant city manager in a while.

“I think there might have been some concern about how the position was perceived in the public,” he said. “There were a lot of questions about whether or not the city needed an assistant city manager, and I guess I wanted to try and make a clean start as a part of the healing process.”

Multiple views at Bend UGB meeting

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: July 27. 2007 5:00AM PST

Hundreds of people packed a meeting room at the Deschutes County Services Center for a public hearing Thursday about Bend’s proposed urban growth boundary and urban reserve area expansion.

Representatives from Bend-La Pine Schools, Bend Metro Park and Recreation District and local irrigation districts, as well as local developers and residents spoke up to criticize and, in a handful of cases, praise the city’s proposals.

The city is proposing to expand the urban growth boundary by about 5,000 acres, almost exclusively in the area north of the current city limits. The concentration of property led some in attendance to pointedly accuse the city of drawing the UGB map to include 850 acres of the planned Juniper Ridge mixed-use development.

“It’s obvious by the size of the crowd in this room this is a matter of great interest to a lot of people. However, the appearance of the process is one of a preordained outcome and, because of that, it brings into question the lines on the map and whether the process falls under state statutes,” said Liz Dickson, the general counsel for the Central Oregon Irrigation District.

“It is of concern to COID that the appearance of the process is that the map was drawn before the analysis was done,” she said.

Juniper Ridge could eventually cover 1,500 acres northeast of Bend and include a university, research and development park, businesses and homes.

At the outset of the meeting, Deschutes County Planning Commissioner Mike Shirtcliff said he wanted those in attendance to understand the difference between the urban reserve and urban growth boundary. The public hearing was broken into two parts, with those interested in testifying about the urban reserve area speaking first and the UGB coming second.

“The urban reserve is a 50-year growth plan for the city,” said Peter Gutowsky, a senior planner with Deschutes County. “That is a noticeable distinction with the urban growth boundary, which is a 20-year growth plan for the city.”

About 10 years ago, Bend’s city limits expanded to fill out what was then its urban growth boundary. Officials have been working on expanding the boundary, which is intended to help the city manage growth, for several years.

Bend-La Pine Schools and park and recreation officials said they were worried that schools and parks were not taken into consideration in the urban reserve area and UGB process. John Rexford, an assistant superintendent of operations for the school district, said he was still “stunned and disappointed” with the UGB plans.

After an initial expansion proposal did not include land where the school district had intended to build a new elementary school, the city added about 80 acres on the west side of Bend to the UGB in order to meet the plans. But officials said Thursday the school is still up in the air because not all of the property is included in the proposed UGB.

In addition to various agencies’ officials, many residents in the affected areas questioned why their properties were or were not included in the urban reserve or UGB areas.

“I’m not in the (proposed) Bend urban reserve, and I’m not in the Bend urban growth boundary expansion, yet I border on both, so it’s sort of a unique situation,” Fred Boos said. “I’m kind of ambivalent which direction it goes, but the only thing I’m not ambivalent about is I want to make sure the property that’s surrounding my property is equivalent. I don’t want a subdivision on one side of me and an urban reserve property on the other side and I’m neither.”

D.C. Scofield added that he has been waiting for several years for his land to be brought into the UGB.

“I purchased in November 1991, 16 years ago, some property for the family — the intention was to make an investment property off of it so that they could have an education,” Scofield said. “I’ve waited 16 years for the UGB to come up, and I’ve been placed in the urban reserve area … I feel that we should be in the urban growth area so that we could develop our property a little bit.”

Another public hearing on the city’s UGB expansion will take place at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 6 in the Deschutes County Services Center.