Monday, January 17, 2011

Lawmakers out to ruin Bend's livability

If you like the north end of Bend, with its traffic lights, choking traffic and plentiful accidents, you'll love what your legislators want to do.

They want to share this dangerous section of roadway with the rest of Bend and Central Oregon.

Or more precisely, they believe all of Central Oregon should look like this, but current ODOT rules prevent such terrible planning from happening again.

Bend city planners showed such ineptitude when the Parkway was finished earlier this century, that the state had to come in and create the new rule that requires road improvements be done concurrently with growth, not decades later.

But, our local Republicans legislators claim this rule is hurting business growth and economic development.

Of course, there is absolutely no evidence that the state's common sense approach to road safety and efficiency is preventing Central Oregon from climbing out of its economic crater.

Quite the contrary. We already built it all and they didn't come.

Bend and Central Oregon depended so heavily on new construction during the boom years, that there are thousands of homes needing buyers in the region. Also, businesses are closing every day here.

There is no demand in Bend to add more homes or more big-box retailers or other business buildings.

By approving any and all development during the frantic Aughties, the city of Bend was left with inadequate infrastructure including clogged, decaying and dangerous roadways.

This is most evident on Bend's north end that now includes the most congested and perilous section of highway in Oregon east of the Cascades.

Consequently, Bend's and Central Oregon's quality of life has suffered because of such poor planning.

Ironically, Bend uses the "quality of life" issue to attract new businesses and residents.

The city went out of its way to try and kill the goose that laid the golden egg of "quality of life."

Now, local legislators want to kill that goose for good.

In doing so, these numskulls will ruin what made Bend and Central Oregon special in the first place, i.e., "quality of life."

Let's hope the state has the good sense not to let this happen.

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