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Redmond councilors appear ready to hike RDM parking fee to $24 a day

Council also approves homeless-camping rules for public property, agrees to buy 'cinder pit' for housing

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Redmond city councilors got an update Tuesday night on efforts to control the cost of a multi-phase expansion of Redmond Airport, and at the close appeared ready to support a boost of the parking fee from the current $15 to $24 a day to help pay for it.

Airport Director Zachary Bass said the airport had over 1 million passengers in 2022 , more than double the count of less than a decade ago, and even with a recent parking-lot expansion is still in overflow parking at peak times.

Two rounds of refinements ("iterations") to the first, rough draft of big expansion plans have trimmed an over $200 million project in eventual total estimated costs to about $143 million, with about $96 million available. The airport also is competing for a share of some $63 million in funds, hoping to receive $20 million to $25 million.

As Mayor Ed Fitch and Bass noted, no city general fund revenues go to the airport and never have, so it is self-sustaining from its own revenues and sizable FAA funding for projects over the years.

Bass said airport parking fees are one of the few things in their control and fund one-third of operating revenues. A chart showed the current $15 fee is among the lowest of Northwest airports. People park for an average 3-4 days, and the fees are expected to raise nearly $6 million this year.

They also were given statistics that show most people who park at the regional airport are not from right in Redmond but from Bend and Sunriver.

City Councilor John Nielsen said he supported the $1-an-hour figure, and most councilors agreed. A resolution will be brought back to the council at their next meeting on March 28.

On other issues, councilors heard a third and final public-hearing round of intense public testimony about planned regulations governing the time, place and manner of homeless camping on public property, then voted unanimously to approve them, facing a state-law deadline of July 1 to enact such rules.

Roberts said, “We think it’s just a guide to more effectively manage and enforce camping regulations on public property. It’s a starting point.”

He noted that the city has identified over 50 “sensitive areas/assets” where camping would not be allowed, as well as a 1,000-foot buffer from school zones and a ban on camping in the Dry Canyon area.

Mayor Ed Fitch said the city is working with Deschutes County, nonprofits and other partner agencies to find safe parking locations and working to ease residents’ fear of becoming like Portland or Eugene.

Councilors also approved a $240,000 purchase from Deschutes County of the 8.3-acre site known as the “cinder pit,” across SW 31st Street from Redmond Memorial Cemetery, using the city’s share of annual federal Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds. In fact, staff said HUD told the city in December it needed to invest its CDBG funds, or face returning the funds to the agency.

The city will seek requests for proposal to choose a nonprofit as master developer, to create owner-occupied moderate-income and workforce housing on the site.

The CDBG rules require at least half of the units house those living at or below 80% of the area’s median income, which for a family of four in Redmond would be $71,900 a year or about $34 an hour. They could afford a home priced at about $300,000, or $1,608 a month in rent.

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