Providing dedicated resources for business needs
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.
Each week, the Business Advocate shares timely updates with BEDAB members and other local business leaders. Catch the most recent update here every Friday:
Date: August 2, 2019
First Council Subcommittee Meeting
On Tuesday the first of two Council subcommittees, the Stewardship Subcommittee, held their kickoff meeting to take an initial look at the Climate Action Strategies. Kip Barrett sat in for BEDAB at the meeting and we’ll report back on the discussion at the next BEDAB meeting on Monday, August 19th.
Along with the Stewardship Subcommittee, another three-councilor subcommittee will take a look at the Development Code and other community development related areas. While BEDAB isn’t assigned as a liaison to the Community Building Subcommittee, these meetings are all open to the public and members are welcome to sit in.
Stay tuned for the schedules for each of these meetings, the Stewardship Subcommittee will meet again in late September, I don’t yet know when the Community Building Subcommittee will meet.
Bend Among the National Leaders in Job Growth
A couple of days ago Bend landed at number two in a USA Today list of cities nationally that have added the most jobs over the past five years. The article, available here, spotlights the addition of more than 18,500 new jobs in the Bend MSA when compared to five years ago plus a rising median income, low unemployment, and economic diversification.
For some perspective on this, a look back almost exactly ten-years ago turns up a story in The Oregonian touting Bend’s “poverty with a view” reputation and a more dubious honor for the Bend MSA: the fourth fastest rising metro in the Associated Press Economic Stress Index.
BEDAB Schedule Reminder
After having July off, BEDAB will get back to regular meetings on Monday, August 19th at noon. A reminder to give me a heads up if you won’t be able to attend so I can ensure there’s a quorum.
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:
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.