A pandemic. Racial injustice. The economy. These topics have dominated community conversations lately. In addition to work that aims to protect our community's safety, we are still working to improve transportation and sewer systems, provide award-winning drinking water, support businesses and affordable housing programs, and much more.
The COVID-19 pandemic slapped down our economy, but there is hope of a comeback as Deschutes County begins to reopen. Earlier this month, the Governor announced that Deschutes County could enter Phase 2 of reopening, which relaxed some restrictions. Oregonians can get more information about the reopening process at coronavirus.oregon.gov. Specific Phase 2 guidelines for industries and businesses are available via the Oregon Health Authority's COVID-19 Updates page.
The death of George Floyd sparked rallies and protests around the world. Peaceful demonstrations in our community call for racial justice and equity. If you haven’t read it yet, see the Police Department’s statement on the death of George Floyd on its Facebook page. The Bend City Council made a statement too, expressing heartbreak and anger, pledging to work to improve the foundation of our community and our society.
The Bend Police Department has earned national recognition for the way it does business, particularly for its programs that promote wellness within the department. The department has embraced diversity, equity and inclusion training opportunities, and has used crisis intervention training, which is evidence-based, de-escalating training, to reduce the use of force. The department's force response is available online: 2019 Force Report. It shows that 1 in 1,342 contacts -- or .07% of contacts -- resulted in a force response.
Chief of Police Selection
Police Chief Jim Porter announced in January that it was time to retire, but he has stayed a little longer than planned due to the uncertainty related to COVID-19 and recent unrest. However, the City is progressing through the selection process for Bend’s next Chief of Police. The values of diversity, equity and inclusion are forefront in this selection. And, the community is invited to participate. On June 19, a captioned video recording of a community stakeholder virtual town hall will be available at bendoregon.gov/police-chief. We invite the community to watch the town hall video to learn more about each candidate. After watching the video, members of the community can take an online survey to provide feedback on each candidate. We are also providing the webpage, subtitled town hall video and feedback survey in Spanish at bendoregon.gov/policia. Feedback surveys are due by Monday, June 22 at 5 p.m.
Celebrate the Fourth of July Safely and Legally
We need the community’s help to keep our neighborhoods safe when celebrating this Fourth of July. Illegal fireworks can cause serious injuries and devastating fires. Illegal fireworks include devices that fly off the ground more than 12 inches, move across the ground more than six feet and explode. Here is what you can do:
Only collectively, as a community, can we keep our community safe.
CITY OF BEND VIDEOS:
Even when fireworks are legal, we all need to be careful. Last year Bend Fire & Rescue responded to two structure fires that destroyed both homes due to the improper disposal of LEGAL fireworks. To use legal fireworks safely:
We are going to start enforcing parking rules downtown again July 1. When COVID-19 dramatically decreased activity downtown, we paused parking enforcement temporarily. With the Governor’s recent approval to enter Phase 2 of the State’s reopening plan, we anticipate traffic and parking demand in the Downtown Parking District to increase gradually in the coming weeks. For information about parking permits, parking enforcement or other parking related matters: bendoregon.gov/parking or call Diamond Parking at 541-317-2805.
WELCOMING WEEK PLANNING BEGINS
The City has started planning for Welcoming Week, a series of events bringing together neighbors, immigrants and long-term residents in a spirit of unity. Community groups are invited to participate in Welcoming Week by hosting public events between September 11 and 20, when hundreds of other cities across the U.S. join in celebrating Welcoming Week.
In support of the City Council's diversity, equity and inclusion goal, the City will have event sponsorships this year. Any community group wishing to host a Welcoming Week event must submit an online application by July 17. On the application form, groups can indicate whether they are also requesting event sponsorship from the City. To learn more about Welcoming Week or complete an online application, visit bendoregon.gov/welcomingweek.
15TH STREET DETOUR
To build the Desert Woods and Neighborhood Extension Project, the first construction phase of the City’s Septic to Sewer Conversion Program, the City will close southbound traffic on 15th Street between Reed Market Road and King Hezekiah Way from approximately June 10 through November. Read more here.
ANNUAL DRINKING WATER QUALITY REPORT
Learn more about the award-winning water provided by the City of Bend, where it comes from and what lab tests on your drinking water show in the Annual Water Quality Report. The annual report, a consumer confidence report, is required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and provides customers with important information about Bend's drinking water, water sources and water testing results for 2019. View it at bendoregon.gov/waterreport or request a paper copy.