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New Bend supermarket goes up amid housing crunch


A grocery store moving in south of downtown Bend has some NewsChannel 21 viewers and KTVZ.COM readers asking: Where are people going to move affordably to be able to shop there?

“People are always struggling to pay the rent and, you know, find a place they can afford,” one Bendite said Tuesday.

Construction has started off of Colorado and Arizona avenues. An Oregon grocery chain, Market of Choice, has been working with the city for about two years to move there. The land was zoned long ago by the city for commercial use.

“I, for one, am not particularly concerned another commercial ground is getting used up,” City Councilor Casey Roats said.

Roats said a new grocery store coming to town is not the issue.

“Why don’t we have more land that is zoned for residential?” Roats said.

Roats says the city of Bend’s urban growth boundary (UGB) was created in 1981. It was created 34 years ago, when Bend had 60,000 fewer people. A new proposed boundary line and the findings that led to it were sent back to the city (remanded) for more work years ago, a process still under way.

Until that big issue is resolved, “It’s a simple supply and demand issue,” Roats said.

“So far, the demand for residential ground has outpaced for expectations, so it’s time to address that,” Roats said.

The city council says the city does not have the money to fund affordable housing projects on its own and must partner with others.

“We really have to rely on the market to provide that,” Roats said.

There are moves afoot to change some rules and allow denser development — so-called “infill” that also can draw critics worried about the impact on their neighborhoods.

Roats said if the UGB expands, more land can be zoned for people to live on. He also said he hopes the new one will be approved by April 2016 (unless it’s challenged again).

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