2016 Elections

As a group, we got something of a late start to really get to know the candidates and make strong recommendations, so what we’re going to do is list what we think are the housing “pro” and “con” aspects of candidates in local elections.  These opinions are based on what we’ve heard and read in the news, and on a survey that we sent out to try and gauge candidate sentiment towards various ideas regarding the housing crisis.

Doug Knight and Bill Moseley

This seems like the most heavily contested election, with both candidates being qualified, competent, successful people.

  • As the incumbent, Doug Knight was a proponent of making ADU’s (accessory dwelling units, or “granny flats”) slightly more complicated by requiring notification of neighbors, rather than simply allowing them.
  • Bill Moseley, as the head of a local company, seems to have a very real sense for how bad the housing crisis is for some people: “I had an employee who lived in a tent for a month with her children because she could not find a place to live”.
  • In answer to our survey, Moseley supports
    •  Streamlining and shortening permit processes and timelines.

    • Eliminating minimum parking requirements – with the possible addition of a permit system for on-street parking in some areas.

    • Allowing accessory dwelling units (ADU’s).

    • Allowing high density and multi-family construction.

  • Knight declined to respond to our survey, suggesting we look at his web site for information.  His site says he voted in favor of several things: “I voted for cottage code, density bonus, and well as System Development Charge (SDC) exemption legislation”.
  • From various letters to the Bulletin and other things I’ve heard him say, it appears that Knight takes “the character of the neighborhood” more seriously than the housing crisis.  “Character of the neighborhood” arguments seem strange in Bend: 40 years ago, most neighborhoods were woodlands, and the neighborhoods that did exist were mostly full of middle class people working in the wood products industry.  Things change.

Sally Russell and Wade Fagen

An interesting race, Russell is the incumbent, challenged by Fagen.  From the information we’ve been able to gather, the two seem quite different.

  • Russell emailed us an extremely detailed response to our survey about housing policy, including statistics on the current situation, and her voting record, which favors housing.
  • She comes across as being very knowledgeable about the local situation and various policies in place.
  • Fagen was kind enough to dedicate some time to talk on the phone, and explain his passion for Bend (he’s a lifelong resident) and some of what he’d like to see.
  • He seemed less informed about the details of Bend’s current situation and policy details, but very open to discussing ideas, which is appreciated.
  • A couple of his ideas that seem sensible include
    • a look at “Transect Development” and
    • reworking the Visit Bend budget to make their promotion of Bend more countercyclical: when rental vacancies are tight and tourism is booming, perhaps ease up promoting the town some, and save the money for a rainy day.
  • Fagen is also a resident of the underrepresented east side.
  • Russell is a known quantity, who has voted in favor of housing, and is also a stable voice on city council with a history of calmy listening and weighing issues.

Justin Livingstone and “Rondo” Boozell

With Livingstone being more of a “mainstream” candidate with what is likely significantly more financial backing, he’s the likely winner of this race.   Unfortunately, he did not respond to our survey.  Having served on the affordable housing committee it’s a given that he’s aware of housing issues in Bend.  His campaign web site does not give a good sense of what policies he’d enact to make housing affordable for all.

Boozell did respond to our survey, with an emphasis on “slow, smart growth”.  The problem is that if the city enacts policies to slow growth, it will not deter people with money from moving to Bend, it’ll simply squeeze supply, causing prices to raise.

Knute Buehler and Gena Goodman-Campbell

Neither candidate was able to respond to our survey with much detail, and local regulations are more important than statewide regulations, but from reading about the two candidates, Buehler seems interested in loosening the state rules regarding cities’ UGB (Urban Growth Boundaries) that limit Bend’s expansion eastward.  There are good and bad aspects to this – it’s a complicated issue.  What is much more straightforward is the support for rent control by some Democrats in the state legislature.  This is a terrible idea that will not solve the housing crisis.  Goodman-Campbell has voiced her support for it.  We appreciate the thought, but it’s bad economics and will not resolve the underlying issue.

Author: davidw

http://www.welton.it/davidw

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