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Bend councilors to consider ban on feeding deer, elk

Bend city councilors agreed Wednesday evening to hold a work session in coming months and discuss whether to impose a ban on feeding wildlife — deer and elk, to be specific — due to the problems that arise, including negative impacts for the animals.

Police and code enforcement would be part of those talks.

The wildlife feeding ban would attempt to ban the feeding of wild deer and elk that wander Bend streets.

Councilor Chris Piper, who with colleague Bruce Abernethy proposed considering such a ban, said the plans were brought to him and other councilors by neighborhood associations.

As more deer wander onto residential streets to feed in yards, the danger of them getting hit by cars rises. According to Piper, there were 50 to 80 deer vs. car collisions last year.

Piper said neighboring cities, including Sunriver and Sisters, have seen positive results from similar wildlife feeding regulations.

” Well, it’s a problem, ” Piper said. ” I see it in my neighborhood, and I see it in other neighborhoods. There are other regulations in place currently in Sunriver and in Sisters and they have seen great benefit from that. ”

There is a current similar ban on feeding geese in Bend that can result in a $372 fine. While that ban is isolated to Mirror Pond, the potential deer and elk feeding ban would be citywide.

Resident Brad Elkin agrees with the proposed ban.

“If you’re going to feed the deer, it’s not going to be wild any more and it’s going to depend on you for food, ” he said. ” And when you’re not there, it isn’t going to be able to eat.”

Piper told fellow councilors Wednesday evening, “It’s really unhealthy for the deer,” changing their eating habits and interfering with their natural seasonal migration. Then there are the secondary impacts: More deer in neighborhoods can bring coyotes or cougars into closer contact with humans.

Asked about what staff time it would take to consider such a move, City Manager Eric King said it would be less if Bend pretty much copies the regulations imposed in other communities. But he also noted that with a timeline to try to put a transportation bond measure on the May ballot, it likely couldn’t come to council before late winter or early spring.

Mayor Sally Russell said, ” The overall message to the community is that feeding wildlife does not benefit the wildlife, nor does it benefit the residents. It can be counterproductive, even though it may be fun in the moment . ”

City Attorney Mary Winters stressed that police and code enforcement will have information to share and a voice in what takes place, due to the issue that usually arises for such laws: enforcement.

“The code itself is easy,” Winters said. “The expectations of citizens, where you would fine people, whether that is really the right mechanism.”

KTVZ 2019

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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