Deschutes County Commissioners on Wednesday rejected letting voters decide whether to make Mountain View an independent city in Deschutes County.
The proposal may have improved their chances of people living east of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness in getting improved county services.
Commissioner Tony DeBone says the proposal lacked an adequate population to warrant a vote on incorporation.
“There’s really no downtown crossroads area where there is density. There’s no rural commercial center with multiple houses and buildings,” DeBone said.
State law says the petition for the proposed city needs at least 150 residents. It’s why petitioner Andrew Aasen expanded potential city limits to 265 square miles — eight times the land size of the City of Bend.
“Also, the finances. Where do you come up with current existing taxable buildings or commercial activity. How do you start creating a tax base?” DeBone said.
Aasen said he wasn’t discouraged by the board’s decision.
“Taking this to the city today was my goal, and I followed through with my commitment to the community,” Aasen said.
He considers Wednesday’s discussion, which included two hours of public testimony, a step toward bringing more services to that isolated part of the county.
“I’m going to advocate for the community continually, and that means working with the city and city to ensure we’re creating a change out there,” Aasen said.
Fred Terry owns 80 acres of property within the proposed city. He testified at the meeting in support of incorporation, believing that the area just 20 miles east of Central Oregon’s hub has huge potential for growth.
“There’s lots of opportunity out here for everybody,” Terry said. “Let people enjoy this part of the country. The taxes will come in left and right. A highway will be developed, hospitals will be developed and the school system will have to be developed.”
Although the board rejected this proposal, DeBone is optimistic about the future of the former Millican and its surrounding area.
“We don’t talk about creating a new city very often anywhere in the state of Oregon,” DeBone said. “It’s exciting to be even able to dream about what’s possible.”
Aasen, the petitioner, told Central Oregon Daily he does not plan to appeal the decision. He says he will now focus his time trying to get grant money to improve fire and emergency services for the area.