Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bend doesn't know its limitations

To paraphrase Dirty Harry, a city's got to know its limitations.

The city of Bend does not.

Bend wants to dramatically increase the size of the city limits, but the state, which approves such plans, says not so fast, punk.

Currently, Bend cannot offer sewer service to more than half of the households within the urban growth boundary.

Also, the city cannot handle the traffic generated within its limits right now. There are about $200 million in projects needed yesterday and, with the city $17 million in debt, it has no feasible plan in place to ever address these road problems.

And, not that anyone's noticing, but Bend needs between $17 million and $73 million in upgrades to its water system.

So, the question the state should ask: Why does Bend need to expand to almost double its size when it cannot provide basic services to the city as it is?

Well, city planners are adopting the builders' union mantra that a limited urban growth boundary increases the cost of land which, in turn, makes homes, and business expansion, less affordable.

Of course, home prices in Bend have been plummeting for more than two years now and further declines into next year are forecast. In fact, defaults are on another record pace this year.

The office and retail vacancy rate shows little sign of abating anytime soon.

With this backdrop, city planners should know that a drastic expansion of the city will not improve the situation, but likely make it much worse.

Bend's limitations are obvious. The city needs to accept them. It then needs to solve its shortcomings (water, sewer and roads) instead of extending these deficiencies further into the High Desert.

The state should continue to prevent Bend from destroying itself because city and business leaders here are incapable of doing so.

No comments:

Post a Comment