Bend’s $190 million transportation bond could go to voters as soon as November.
In mid-March, Bend Mayor Sally Russell said COVID-19’s impact on the local economy and the uncertainty of what was ahead made removing the measure from the ballot the right thing to do.
City Manager Eric King discussed the issue again Wednesday during a City Club of Central Oregon forum with all the region’s city managers, saying the need for the projects remains.
“In order to make a decision for November, the council would need to make that decision in August to meet the November timeline,” King said. “So, that might be a bit premature to think that just in two months we’ll have a better picture of the economy. It probably will be a little bit better.”
In February, the council voted to put the bond measure before voters to pay for an array of transportation improvement projects throughout the city.
The estimated cost to property owners would be about 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
According to the city, a home with a real market value of $415,000 and an assessed value of $220,000 (Bend’s citywide average) would pay about $170 per year.
Among the key projects slated for the bond are $36.5 million for work on Reed Market Road, including a railroad overpass; $10 million to build a northbound on-ramp and southbound off-ramp on Highway 97 at Murphy Road; $5 million to build a roundabout or improve the traffic light at 3rd and Wilson and $1.4 million to widen Empire Avenue to five lanes near the Highway 97 interchange and add a traffic light at the southbound ramp.
It’s the largest bond measure the city has ever asked for.
The most likely scenario is next year, but November is a possibility.