For more than a decade, Central Oregon LandWatch has been concerned about the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the forested area next to the west side of Bend. Most of this land would have been developed at urban levels had it come in with the City of Bend’s 2009 Urban Growth Boundary proposal to expand the city by more than 8,400 acres. Instead, our advocacy helped reduce the approved expansion by 70% by increasing densities inside the existing city boundaries.
Mountain lions (Puma concolor) have been in the news a lot recently as more sightings occur in Central Oregon and across the west. They are handsome and secretive animals, native wildlife, and elegantly adapted apex predators.
Thanks in large part to our advocacy, the Westside Transect is a new concept for Central Oregon that is being used to plan development on Bend’s western edge where we are at most risk of wildfire sweeping into town from the Cascade Mountain forests.
As development pressures grow in high-risk areas, we must consider every new development in the WUI carefully. Smart planning that takes wildfire risk into account will help avoid unnecessary loss of life and homes, risk to our health, and endangerment of firefighters.