Bend voters approve $190 million transportation bond

Bend voters on Tuesday appeared to have passed a $190 million transportation bond measure that will fund dozens of road infrastructure around town.

The measure was passing with nearly 60% of the vote.

The estimated cost to property owners will be about 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value – but the first payments won’t be due until 2022.

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) will pay about $170 per year.

The payments would be much smaller during the first few years of the bond issuance, increasing from $8 to $30 to $119 over the next five years.

“Passing this bond is a historic win for Bend–it will dramatically improve our transportation system as we continue to grow,” said Mike Riley, Executive Director of The Environmental Center and Go Bend 2020 Co-Chair. “This measure will improve safety for all of us, whether we walk, bike, drive or ride the bus, and protect our quality of life for years to come,” added Riley.

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.

New roundabouts or traffic signals also are in store for several busy east-west intersections including 4th and Revere, Olney and 4th, Ferguson Road and 15th, Wilson and 15th and O.B. Riley Road and Empire Avenue.

The money would also be used to improve sidewalk/bike path infrastructure in neighborhoods and along busy city streets to make it safer to walk and bike across town.

The council approved the ballot measure back in February and planned to put it before voters in May but delayed the vote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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