The Bend City Council on Wednesday kicked an appeal for an approved development at Brosterhous and Murphy Roads to a state appeals board, but not before hearing some heated words from neighbors who are vocally and passionately against the project.
The development includes a brew pub, food truck court and market. But what has neighbors most upset is a gas station.
Dozens of people showed up to the council meeting, some leaving no doubt during the public comment time.
“Who wants to hang out at food trucks positioned right next to a noisy, smelly gas station?” said one.
“Does that sound anything like neighborhood convenience? Does that sound anything like what the neighborhood wants?” said another.
“This is a defining moment for this council and the city. It may be the defining moment of the decade,” a third said.
Despite strong public opinion, the city council said it could not take anything said during the comment time into consideration before making its decision.
“We cannot consider any comments tonight. We cannot consider what is written on your signs,” said Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler. “We cannot consider a letter to the editor. We cannot consider emails that were written after the record was closed. We have to base our decision on what is in this case and that is what’s legally required.”
City staff gave a brief presentation before the council voted 5-2 to decline a review of the appeal. which now sends the matter to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.
After the decision, emotions were still running high. One woman stood up and made sure her voice was heard.
“We’re going to be stuck with a gas station polluting our neighborhood. Would any of you want that? Would you?” one woman yelled to the council.
“How dare you! How dare you not represent the citizens who voted you in,” she continued.
After the vote, some councilors had a brief message to those hoping for a different outcome
“Disagreement is a healthy part of democracy,” said Bend City Councilor Ariel Mendez. “So, it is not always how we agree all the time, it is how we move forward and we justify our positions to each other and to the rest of the community.”