Some residents displeased with growth
BEND — As Bend's economy and population continue to grow some residents are displeased with some of the side effects.
As Bend looks to expand its urban growth boundary and fill in unoccupied parcels residents have been outspoken that they don't want their neighborhoods to change, The Bulletin reported.
In one example, hundreds of people showed up at a Bend Planning Commission meeting opposed to proposed multifamily housing development on land owned by Central Oregon Community College, with many people opposing the planned density.
Others opposed to change have been spotted with bumper stickers reading "Bend sucks, don't move here."
"They may have lived in a neighborhood for 40 years, and they're not happy with the changes," said Bruce Abernethy, a former Bend mayor who's running for City Council. "Or they may have moved here fairly recently and bought in a neighborhood where they thought would be only single-family housing, and an apartment complex goes up down the street."
The irritation isn't new. Bend's population has been growing steadily since the 1990s. In 2000, Abernathy and two other City Councilors were elected as part of the "slow-growth" platform. However Abernathy said he quickly learned there isn't a lot to be done to limit urbanization.
Ben Hemson, Bend Business Advocate, estimates that six people have moved to Bend each day since 1990, when the town had a population of about 20,000. Now Bend is home to about 80,000 people.
"I think it's scary for some folks, but it's certainly a huge opportunity with this increased growth," said Hemson. "It's giving people the chance to live here and work here and actually maybe let their kids grow here."
Councilor Sally Russell said some residents are likely more upset because summer tourists and infrastructure upgrades have made traffic thicker and other areas more crowded.