Sunday, June 6, 2010

News alert! Bend is in Oregon, afterall

City staff and cheerleaders at the local daily are indignant that the state is telling Bend how it can grow. Their collective panties are in such a wad, they can barely sit down and listen to what the state has to say.

We are "different!" city staffers shout. We are "special," the daily's pontificators' scream.

And, being that different and that special means we deserve special rights that are better than anyone else's in the state.

Specifically, the city believes it should be able to expand its urban growth boundary by 40 percent to accommodate future growth.

Never mind that the city can't even supply sewer service to at least half of its homeowners. Or that the city cannot supply a storm drainage system to any of its citizens. Or that the city cannot create a grid system to safely accommodate Bend's modest traffic. In fact, the city can't even patch its potholes in a timely matter. Why would anyone think this mess should expand?

City planners are shocked that the state would question Bend's inability to manage growth at the most basic level. The daily newspaper is outraged that anyone outside this city would have any standing to question anything the city wants to do.

Well, news for them all: Bend is part of Oregon and must abide by Oregon's laws.

In the daily newspaper's Saturday edition, the editors reprinted an op-ed piece from a state land-use board member titled by the editors: "Bend should embrace 'positive change' and develop more densely."

The author argues with a measured, reasoned essay about Bend's terribly flawed plan to expand. (Warning: The Bulletin is a pay-per-view site and, of course, isn't worth a pay per view.)

In response, the daily newspaper wrote a long, hysterical diatribe in its customary arrogant tone titled "LCDC member's insulting lecture." The editorial resembled a petulant juvenile's response to an adult's temperate advice. No wonder that state leaders wonder what the hell is going on over here.

Check here for another critical review of the daily's position.

The city has plenty of undeveloped land, foreclosed homes and unbuilt subdivisions to last at least 20 years, which is the state's minimum number of years for expansion.

What the city doesn't have is any feasible plan to extend the sewer system to even 55 percent of its citizens or a storm drainage system to serve even 10 percent of its citizens. The greatest public safety hazard is the city's own road system and it has no realistic way of fixing this dire public safety hazard.

Thank god we have the state to slap some sense into the city planners' heads. Too bad the state can't slap any sense into the daily's editorialists' heads. Not that they would bother.

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