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‘Trees are what makes Bend, Bend’: City’s new tree regulations advisory committee holds first meeting

(Update: Adding video, comments from committee)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A city of Bend citizen committee focused on the future of trees in Bend held its first meeting Wednesday.

The appointees make up the Tree Regulation Update Advisory Committee. The group will look for solutions for preserving more trees while Bend's housing expands.

More than 50 people applied for the dozen positions on the panel.

"Trees are what makes Bend, Bend in so many ways," Bend Mayor Pro-Tem Megan Perkins said Wednesday.

Bend's new tree advisory committee is made up of people from varying backgrounds. 

The committee members represent neighborhood associations, the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, the Environment and Climate Committee, arborists, developers, engineers, architects and the public at large.

"Ponderosas are being clear-cut," committee member Karen Johnson said.

We talked with Johnson, a retired attorney, in May when she was asking the city to form such a group. She's concerned with the impact of building on trees.

"Pahlisch development on 15th and Reed Market, there were 284 trees on the property," Johnson said. "There are four remaining."

Perkins is one of three non-voting members of the committee.

"They (trees) provide us with so many benefits," Perkins said, "We also know that we need to continue building houses in our community. So I think people just really feel passionately about this." 

At Wednesday's first meeting, committee members reviewed the Bend Development Code. The group will be having two meetings in July and two more in August, with a possible meeting in September. 

Perkins added, "The project goes out into the community for community input and public hearings. We're hoping that the Planning Commission will take a look at it in November." 

At their next meeting, members will begin to look at what trees to preserve. The goal is to get the plan to the council by the end of this year. 


City info:

The Bend City Council appointed these 15 members at last Wednesday evening's council meeting after receiving more than 55 applications. The city said committee members were chosen to reflect a wide variety of viewpoints and experience related to balancing natural resources and development.

  • Kathy Austin – Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, architect
  • Kavi Chokshi – Environment and Climate Committee
  • Manoj Alipuria – Human Rights and Equity Commission
  • Gina Franzosa – River West Neighborhood Association
  • Brett Huett – Arborist
  • Chris Madison – Arborist
  • Cory Bittner – Pahlisch Homebuilders
  • Morgan Greenwood – Central Oregon Builders Association
  • Erik Huffman – Civil Engineer
  • Geoff Harris – Solaire Homebuilders
  • Kristin Sabo – Central Oregon Land Watch
  • Karon Johnson – Old Farm Neighborhood Association
  • Jim Roberts – At Large
  • Mitch Lex – Master’s degree from Oregon State University in Natural Resources
  • Dan Jenkins – Landscape architect

In addition, there are three non-voting members that will serve as liaisons to the committee:

  • Bend Mayor Pro-Tem Megan Perkins
  • Sara Anselment, Bend Parks and Recreation District
  • Sue Gordhammer, Bend Planning Commission

Committee meetings will be held in Council Chambers and online. The first meeting will be held 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28.

To watch recordings of previous meetings or learn more about tree regulation, visit the Tree Regulation Code Update webpage.

To receive regular updates on the process, email Pauline Hardie to be added to a mailing list.

Article Topic Follows: Environment

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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