▶️ ‘Bitter’ Bend woman looks to boost neighborhood association interest

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

This is Jennifer Sawyer.

“I’m bitter about what’s happening to my town.”

But you may know her best as Jen from Bend.

“I’m out here doing my own thing, but really trying to bump up that engagement with the local community,” Sawyer said. 

Sawyer, a lifelong Bend resident, frequents the roundabout on 15th and Reed Market.

There you’ll see her giving a big smile to drivers while holding an even bigger sign featuring the hashtag #bitterbenditesunite.”

“But you know part of it is my fault, I wasn’t engaged enough in what was happening here,” she said. “And so I’m trying to pick up the ball and really change the direction of growth and development here in this town.”

Sawyer believes this change is possible, but not until residents become more engaged in their neighborhood associations.

She herself serves on the Old Farm District’s board.

“You have to catch it before they start breaking ground, and before it gets the stamp of approval,” she said. “So getting on those neighborhood association boards or getting involved, signing up for the emails, will get you ahead of the game.”

The most recent Old Bend Farm District meeting saw about 40 people in attendance, she said. That’s up from the usual handful of folks who sow up.

Sawyer says while she understands that Bend is growing, the community should try to meet housing demands in a more eco-friendly way.

“We’re not balancing the wild life with the development, and I think there’s ways to do it, there’s way better ways to do it and also meet the guidelines for adding affordable housing and density.”

To find the neighborhood association near you visit https://www.bendoregon.gov/community/neighborhood-associations

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