Published by Cascade Business News on October 11, 2016
Throughout Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary planning process, LandWatch has been the leading public interest group advocating for a limited expansion to prevent urban sprawl, encourage cost-effective growth, protect wildlife habitat, and foster affordable housing.
LandWatch forged compromises with local developers that allowed the community to come to a consensus around the future shape of the city. Together with Brooks Resources, LandWatch developed the Westside Transect to manage growth in sensitive areas and hired the Portland-based Director of GBD Architects to ensure the city’s plans for redevelopment around Third Street would be economically feasible. These partnerships between the private sector and Central Oregon LandWatch helped the city to successfully pass the Urban Growth Boundary plan this September.
LandWatch’s strong voice in the planning process helped to create a plan that will add more housing capacity to the city while reducing urban sprawl by 70% compared to the original proposal in 2008. By focusing density and redevelopment in several efficiently located “Opportunity Areas,” the plan avoids impacting established neighborhoods. These key urban renewal areas are ripe for investment and will complement existing neighborhoods so that more people have more options for economic services, grocery shops, and dining out closer to where they live.
Now that the plan for the Urban Growth Boundary has been adopted, it must be put into action within the planning window. Our city’s future hangs in the balance of this plan’s successful implementation. Central Oregon LandWatch, with its eight years of active work on the UGB and a legal department specialized in land use law, is the only group with the background and legal understanding to see that Bend’s visionary plan becomes reality. LandWatch will be watching and actively involved to ensure we are truly becoming a better Bend.