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Bend sewer debate: Emotions still running high


Another listening session took place Wednesday evening for the controversial Bend septic to sewer project.

It was yet another packed house, this time at the Bend Senior Center, where tensions ran high over the potential price tag to homeowners.

Many said they feel they are being taken advantage of, in a sense, by the city.

A citizen advisory panel has proposed a plan to hook up hundreds of southeast Bend residents and have them pay up to $25,000 to hook up to a nearby sewer line.

The area was annexed into Bend nearly 20 years ago, but with some septic systems failing, the city is trying to come up with a plan to hook those homes up to sewer.

Susanna Julber, a senior project and policy analyst with the city, said from the city’s perspective, hooking up all of the houses at one time will save money for homeowners.

“It’s not a cheap project,” she said. “it’s an expensive area to serve sewer with but doing it in one fell swoop will make it cheaper for each property owner in the long run, rather then them having to deal with stuff as they fail and connect on their own.”

As they did earlier this month at City Hall, homeowners got another chance to air their views with city councilors and other city officials.

All spoke against the proposed $25,000 cap on each homeowner’s bill for a sewer hookup. Many called on the city to find other options.

“A planning mistake that was made 20 years ago is just squeezing a group of us, a whole socioeconomic group of us, out,” one homeowner said.

Another added, “What we were told, if you lived on King Solomon (Way), and you trenched in front of my house and I put up with the hammering for a year and a half, that it would cost me nothing (to hook up to it).”

Some said they were thankful for the opportunity to speak and share their opinions, but still want answers to the problem.

“You’ve listened clearly, you’ve had two of these sessions, it’s been fantastic,” one man said. “But listening isn’t enough. You guys have got to do something.”

Many who spoke were are clearly frustrated with how this process is playing out, and are pushing for other answers.

The issue is set to go back before city councilors at a series of work sessions, where they will review what they’ve heard and what options are on the table.

The first work session is set for the city council’s meeting next Wednesday night.

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