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Decision 2022: Get to know the three candidates for Bend City Council Position 6

On the ballot: Julia Brown, Rick Johns and Mike Riley

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The three Bend City Council candidates for Position 6 include a newcomer to politics, Julia Brown, Bend business owner Rick Johns and environmental advocate Mike Riley.

Retiree Julia Brown moved to Bend a few years ago to be near her son.

"My accent is South African, and so when I meet people, that's what makes an impression. I know that's not a pillar to stand on, but that's what people remember me by," Brown said during an interview in downtown Bend.

Her move to politics was inspired by a school board meeting where she felt people weighing in on issues were mistreated.

"I spent many decades working in the technology world and we never conducted business like that," Brown recalled.

She says her business background has also given her a skill set for City Council: "I've been involved in organizing, leading and mentoring people, and that includes stakeholders. People investing money in a cause."

If elected, she'd turn her attention to Bend's homeless problem.

"I would categorize them, including those people who've lost jobs in the lockdown and haven't managed to recover. Another category would be veterans, and then those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Programs would target the specific groups and provide hope for the homeless."

City Council Candidate Rick Johns has called Bend home for more than a dozen years, having moved here from the Bay Area. He owns furniture store Haven Home Style on Bond Street in downtown Bend. 

"I would like people to know I have a vested interest in the community," Johns said during an interview at his business. "I pay a lot of taxes, and I think they're being misappropriated, especially with the transportation bond. The transportation here is being compressed, instead of increased. The planned right of ways are more focused on bicycles and pedestrians than they are on cars,"

Johns believes his years of work in architecture and construction give him a solid background.

He says the change in code allowing the homeless to camp is wrong, and as a city councilor, he'd prioritize solutions.

"That could be a collaboration effort between myself, other city councilors and the public and increasing law enforcement. Giving them the funding they need. That is something City Council can do."  

Johns describes himself as data-based and believes the council should study what other cities in the country are doing to successfully deal with homeless issues.

"I said on the ballot statement I don't want this to turn into Portland," Johns concluded.

Avid cyclist and now City Council candidate Mike Riley has made Bend home for 25 years.

He co chaired the effort to get the 2020 transportation bond passed.

"We got $190 million to invest in projects to help with bottlenecks to make traffic flow better and make it safer for people who walk and bike," said Riley during an interview near bike lanes recently installed in a Bend roundabout.    

Riley has been the executive director of the Environmental Center since 2008 and believes he'd bring a solid grasp of the issues to City Hall. 

Growth would be his No. 1 concern as a city councilor.  It shows up, he says, in transportation, a lock of affordable housing and an increasing homeless population.

He recommends a clear camping code and more enforcement once it's in place.

"We have to look at more long-range affordable housing solutions and where we can have managed camps," he said. "People don't want them in their backyards, but it's part of a set of solutions we need to move forward with."

"People should know I will work with everyone across the community and listen to them," he added.      

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Cathy Marshall

Cathy Marshall is an anchor for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Cathyhere.

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