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‘We need more land’: Bill in Salem would expand Bend’s urban growth boundary

(Update: Adding video, comment from local leaders)

Final version of bill still being amended; Bend City Council gives input

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- For the first time in five years, Bend’s urban growth boundary may be expanding.

But the call isn’t coming from the city. It’s actually Rep. Brian Clem of Salem introducing House Bill 2282.

The potential land to be added is part of the Stevens Road Tract, a large parcel of land just outside Bend's city limits, east of 27th Street. Half of it is already within Bend’s UGB.

State Rep. Jack Zika, sponsor of the bill, told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday, "We need more land to build on."

The Redmond Republican's House District 53 encompasses the section of the tract in the legislation.

Former Bend city councilor Justin Livingston said the bill corrects a wrong the state made by taking away development rights more than 10 years ago for a potential resort in Metolius.

"What the state is doing is making that developer whole for taking away his development rights," Livingston said.

He added that the bill was first introduced last year, but died when the session ended abruptly after Republican lawmakers' walkout.

If the bill passes, the 261 acres of the remaining section of the Stevens Road Tract would be absorbed into the Bend UGB, and the development rights would carry over.

But, usually those decisions begin at the local level.

Old Farm Neighborhood land use chair Karon Johnson said, "Oregon land use law dictates that land use decisions be made by the local people."

She said the neighborhood, which borders the tract, is concerned with control over how the land can be developed.

The Bend City Council has proposed amendments to the bill that call for more affordable housing in the tract.

Councilor Anthony Broadman said, "If Bend is helping the state solve a problem that the state has, then Bend's interests are paramount."

The final draft of the bill is not available yet, but Broadman hopes to see it later this week.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

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