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Bend councilors OK Climate Action Plan in split vote

(Adding video, councilors' comments)

Vote was 5-2 despite rollback on controversial element; transportation bond measure taking shape

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After years of work and a recent controversy, Bend city councilors on Wednesday night adopted a Climate Action Plan for the city, a wide-ranging blueprint aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and the community's carbon footprint.

But despite a recent move to drop the disputed mandatory element of a "home energy score" that was to be conducted when any homes are sold, the vote on the Community Action Plan was still not unanimous, as councilors Bill Moseley and Justin Livingston voted no.

Livingston voted against the plan, saying he feels climate change is not just a city issue.

“I don’t believe that is a core city function, to really get into how people live their lives," Livingston said. "Climate change is an issue that is better dealt with at a state or federal level, or as a globe.”

Moseley also tried to get councilors to make a late change, proposing the plan's accompanying findings be amended to move from the home energy score to instead state a direction for the city to help owners of older, less energy-efficient homes get those renovations done. Some agreed, but thought such steps could happen as part of the work still to be done, and the amendment failed on a 4-3 vote.

Councilman Bruce Abernethy said he voted in favor of the plan because of its variety.

“From an individual level, anything from composting, electrical cars or even solar panels," Abernethy said. "There is something in here for everybody.”

On another big topic, councilors and a special council-citizen subcommittee again dove into the lists of projects and dollar signs as they worked at how to best craft a successful transportation bond measure likely headed for the May ballot.

The goal is to hit a better balance than a gas tax that went down to defeat a few years ago, with a mix of major projects at intersections and on key corridors to ease congestion, improve east-west connectivity and boost safety across the city.

There are so many projects and ways to balance them, the discussion took some time. There are concerns among councilors that too much (or too little) attention to alternative travel modes -- from bike lanes and sidewalks to a new transit hub or hubs -- could cost voter support. But there is consensus emerging on improving key "midtown crossings," for example, and moving ahead with projects to improve safety of neighborhood streets.

City Manager Eric King said that along with a brief, unscientific online survey now underway, a more formal survey will be conducted of voters in coming weeks on two options -- a shorter, roughly $150 million list of work and a broader package that gets more done and originally was pegged at $250 million, but might instead be closer to $275 million.

Armed with the survey results, councilors are expected to decide in January whether to go to the May ballot, and for how much.

Councilors also hope to make sure voters understand that there are many other projects, with other funding sources, that are underway or will be coming -- in other words, that the long list of work needed to fix and expand roads in the fast-growing city doesn't hinge solely on property owners' wallets.

"We have so much work to do on our streets," Mayor Sally Russell said. "And as you know, we have no consistent funding stream for the things our community needs, has needed for a long time. So it's a step-by-step process."

Environment / News

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

Comments

41 Comments

  1. Oh good. Now Bend is on the “reduce our carbon footprint” B.S… I’m sure they will eventually find a way to sell local carbon tax credits, to increase revenue.
    After all, it’s okay to pollute as long as we get paid for it. The carbon footprint is nothing but a scam and hypocrisy,whether it’s locally or anywhere else. Hey,maybe they could pay the clueless eco-activist kid to come and speak, and share her great insight and vast knowledge
    about how we can achieve greatness in our quest to reduce our carbon footprint….

    1. You are spot on. All these climate activists that have zero feasible solutions and do NOTHING to address their supposed claims that the world is going to end, while they consume the very product they claim is destroying the planet.
      Believe me…if they could live but just one day without fossil fuels they would be changing their tune.
      Pfffffff

    2. Yes, coal is really the answer. LMAO!!! Luckily for us your dear leader, little lyin donnie has totally failed to “save the coal industry” and plants continue to be closed while coal production is on the decline. Soooo much winning !!! Since you enjoy carbon pollution so much you would no doubt be more comfortable in India or China. Two places where people who hate clean are can thrive !!
      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. you sound pretty angry – and you seem to have developed a lot of evil doing enemies in your scenario – must love that lifestyle of yours a whole hell of a lot…

  2. So…what is the “Climate Action Plan”? Only mention of it is that Bend now has one and that the asinine home energy score isn’t part of it. The story is more about transportation.

  3. Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county or city law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

  4. I feel sooo much better now, our life will be sooo much nicer with this idea in place. That was the goal, right? We all know that this won’t change climate change – but it does pave the way to levy new and “better” taxes, fees, assessments, charges (whatever they want to call it) so that we can give more of that excess money we all have to our government at the local level as well as the state level.

  5. Climate change is just another excuse for government to grab more tax dollars.

    Follow the money…..If it were a real threat, oceanfront properties would be tanking. They aren’t tanking because the threat of rising sea levels doesn’t exist.

    1. It’s not surprising that liberals still believe all the garbage the Dems feed them,
      and don’t have the common sense to see through their lies. Very slective…
      Yes you are right the climate is changing but I hate to tell you this, it’s a
      continual cycle that has been going on since day one and it will continue to
      do so until the world no longer exists.

    2. The deniers greatest hits!
      In the 60’s they said we were heading for an ice age.
      It is cold outside so how can it be warming?
      There is nothing we can do.
      Liberal elites trying to push global governance.
      Brainwashed young people.
      The increase in forest fires is because of environmentalist.
      Also, throw in the word lib**** somewhere.
      In the meanwhile the world just passes all of them bye.

  6. I assume the 5 walked to city hall. Oh wait. I assume the 5 didn’t use plastic water bottles. Oh wait. I assume they held the meeting to candle light. Oh wait. I assume the citizens of Bend will vote on this. Oh wait.

  7. Money?? Perhaps the city of Bend needs an audit! This town spends MILLIONS of dollars to promote Bend through the “Visit Bend” project. Do we really need to advertise Bend all over the country as a great place to live and move to? Perhaps we could funnel that money into important projects, like, I don’t know maybe have proper streets and sidewalks for all these people we are advertising to. Do any of these city councilors actually drive in this town and see the back up of traffic on virtually every street? Do they see the sidewalks that don’t exist in alot of areas? I mean my God, talk about stupidity.

  8. I just read through most of the GHG emission report by Good Company. The assessment of how much co2 and the sources seems reasonable. The primary sources locally are electricity and natural gas associated with buildings. The second largest source comes from vehicles. However, co2 emissions used to produce fuels and household items such as meat, furniture, clothing etc are roughly equal to locally produced emissions and demand must be addressed as the production of emissions is beyond the citie’s control. Aviation, agriculture, boating, etc are also included in the 2016 baseline. We are to reduce emissions 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. There is an element of “social equity” somehow in all of this.

  9. So to clarify. Californians move to C.O. in droves to get away from their high tax liberal state. Then they vote in policies that create the exact same environment they ran away from. Couldn’t be dumber….

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