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Business Advocacy

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Providing dedicated resources for business needs

Ben Hemson, Business Advocate for the City of Bend.

Your Business Advocate

Ben Hemson has served as the City of Bend’s Business Advocate since 2016. The third Business Advocate at the City of Bend, Ben is the first point of contact for business owners seeking to address issues or questions with City processes; keeps the local business community up to date with news from Bend City Hall, and provides staffing support to the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board (BEDAB).

Prior to joining the City of Bend, Ben worked on Pacific Northwest energy policy for five years. He has a B.S. from Oregon State University and an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Florida.

The Business Advocate’s work is guided by the BEDAB and their three-year Strategic Plan. You can read more about the BEDAB’s work here.

You can contact Ben directly with questions or feedback Ben via email at, by phone at (541) 388-5529, or on Twitter @BendBizAdvocate.

Updates from the Business Advocate

Keeping Bend Businesses in the Loop

Communicating with Business Registration holders via a regular online newsletter is a key way to engage with Bend’s 7,000 businesses and generate feedback on relevant policy. See the below chart to track the Business Registration Newsletter’s reach and reader engagement:

Business Advocacy Newsletter Engagement Chart 

Identifying Business Friendly Policies

The BEDAB brings forward policy feedback and recommendations on issues relating to Bend’s business climate and continued economic development. Here are some notable recent accomplishments:

  • System Development Charges (March, 2019): BEDAB urged Bend City Councilors to coordinate with the Bend Parks & Recreation Board, a separate agency, holding off on a planned Parks System Development Charge increase while the city identified transportation infrastructure priorities for 2020-2040. You can read the full letter here.
  • Juniper Ridge Next Steps (September, 2018): A working group of business representatives developed a proposal to move forward with development at Juniper Ridge, a 500-acre city-owned industrial site in NE Bend. BEDAB and working group members developed a memo outlining a path forward and presented the conclusions to the Bend City Council in September 2018. You can read the memo here and view the slide deck here. Council adopted these recommendations via resolution in December, 2018, forming the temporary Juniper Ridge Management Advisory Board
  • Bend Map Alignment Project (September, 2018): BEDAB weighed in as supportive of a successful effort to align the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Maps, reducing development costs and planning timelines. You can read the full letter here.

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