Politics
<p>A member of the audience asks a question of the candidates during Bend's first mayoral debate Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.</p> 
    Slideshow Icon 2 slides
Enlarge Icon

A member of the audience asks a question of the candidates during Bend's first mayoral debate Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

Bend's First Mayoral Debate Focuses On City's Growth Issues

Bend saw its first-ever mayoral debate Tuesday.

In May, voters approved a measure to amend the city charter and shift Bend away from having a City Council-appointed mayor to a directly elected mayor.

And now that it’s an elected office, the candidates are squaring off.

Four contenders debated in front of about 150 people. They agreed on many of the problems linked to the city’s rapid growth and development, like a lack affordable housing, few transportation options and infrastructure shortcomings.

But where they differed was in the solutions proposed.

Bill Moseley is one of two sitting city councilors in the race to become mayor.

When asked about Bend’s growth needs, he said, “We are oversaturated on the single-family homes,” and suggested more multi-family housing.

Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell said the greatest opportunity for urban growth was building up Bend’s central district.

Brian Douglass responded to the same question by urging Bend to look to other towns in Deschutes County, like La Pine. Charles Baer echoed that sentiment but suggested heading another direction down the road, east toward Alfalfa.

Other local sore spots got attention during the debate, such as deciding event permits and what to do about downtown parking. 

Since Bend has a city manager, the elected mayor’s role remains about the same as other city councilors, except that person will get to make committee appointments, run the meetings and be the face of the city. [Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting]