The Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) process will determine what kind of city Bend will become. Central Oregon LandWatch is at the table advocating for a limited expansion to prevent urban sprawl, protect wildlife habitat, encourage cost-effective growth, and foster affordable housing. The public interest group is committed to representing the community’s values in developing a boundary proposal that will pass the state’s requirements so that Bend can move forward with a clear plan for well-designed growth.
Central Oregon LandWatch has been concerned about the expansion of the UGB toward the Deschutes National Forest and other natural features such as Tumalo Creek and Shevlin Park. Important wildlife habitat and risk of wildfire in this area call for a careful consideration of how that land is developed. The initial proposals for the area west of Bend planned for 1400 or more homes - a level of density inappropriate for the Wildland-Urban Interface on the city’s edge.
Last month, Mayor Jim Clinton called for the Boundary Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to come to a consensus on a proposal for expanding the UGB. Paul Dewey, Executive Director of Central Oregon LandWatch and Kirk Schueler, incoming CEO of Brooks Resources took the Mayor’s request to heart. They met to develop a proposal using the planning concept of the “Transect,” which addresses development abutting permanent natural areas.
Dewey and Schueler worked with other westside landowners to come to an agreement dubbed the “Westside Transect,” which addresses wildlife, wildfire, and transportation concerns. This plan concentrates urban-level density closer to the city's core and near community centers such as schools. It creates zones that taper density as the city boundary nears the forest in order to protect homes from wildfire and preserve wildlife habitat. It also provides a higher level of certainty around how the western edge of Bend will develop.
The Boundary TAC overwhelmingly approved the Westside Transect proposal at their meeting on Wednesday, January 20th, along with other refinements to the map. This ground-breaking cooperative effort between Central Oregon LandWatch and landowners creates a vision for the future of Bend's western edge.