City of Bend considers delay in $190 million transportation bond request

Bend City Councilors on Wednesday will discuss withdrawing a proposed $190 million transportation bond measure it planned to place on the May ballot.

City officials added the topic to the Bend City Council meeting agenda in light of the COVID-19 crisis and the financial stress already placed upon residents.

In February, the council voted to put the bond measure before voters to pay for an array of transportation improvement projects throughout the city.

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.

GoBend2020, the coalition of business, environmental, and community groups  that joined forces to support the bond has encouraged the council to remove the measure from the ballot

“With the impacts of the COVID-19 virus still uncertain, priorities are shifting in Bend. In this unprecedented moment, it feels prudent to take stock of the situation, marshal resources and  work together to help our neighbors in need,” said Mike Riley, co-chair of the coalition.

“It is hard to step back and pause. We know we will need the economic stimulus, job creation and the real transportation improvements this bond will address. Therefore, the Go Bend 2020 Coalition, made up of over 100 businesses, non-profit organizations, and community leaders, will continue to support the transportation bond when the City Council deems it time to ask the community for its support,” Riley said.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live at: https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/city-council/city-council-meeting-agendas-video

Due to the current status of COVID-19, the room will be setup to maintain social distancing. The Visitor’s Section will be limited to written comments only. The public is encouraged to watch from home.

 

 

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