Biz, environmental and community groups join forces to support Bend transportation bond

A partnership of business, environmental, and community groups has joined forces to support a $190 million transportation bond measure on the May ballot.

The GoBend2020 coalition will hold a kick-off event at 5:00 pm March 16th at Embark NWX on Lolo Drive.

“Bend’s economic vitality and community livability depends on a well-functioning transportation system that is safe, gives people choices, and improves traffic flow” said Katy Brooks, President and CEO of the Bend Chamber and co-chair of the coalition.  “We believe that this measure is a strong and reasonable response to the transportation challenges we face,” she added.

Bend City Councilors earlier this month voted to put the measure on the May ballot, outlining dozens of projects it plans to complete with the money.

Some of the groups that have signed on the coalition include The Bend Chamber of Commerce, Brooks Resources, Central Oregon Builders Association, St. Charles Health Systems and Central Oregon LandWatch.

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) will 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.

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 City of Bend worked to identify needed transportation upgrades across the city through community focus groups and surveys over the last two years.

“This measure will help keep our families safe and protect our quality of life for years to come,” said Mike Riley, co-chair of the coalition and executive director of The Environmental Center.  “We urge all Bend residents to join us in voting ‘Yes’ in May.”

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