Democratic Deschutes County Commissioner candidates speak at forum

Three Democratic candidates are vying for a seat on the board of Deschutes County Commissioners.

County commissioners are three elected people who serve four-year terms and oversee county-wide policies.

Phil Chang has been a Central Oregonian for 16 years and is an employee of the Oregon Department of Forestry. He’s a former staff member of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.

“I offer a collaborative approach to problem solving that includes and respects everyone, and an understanding of how all levels of government work, and how to get things done within the public sector,” Chang said.

Greg Bryant is a retired Vietnam war veteran who volunteers on the Bend City Transportation Advisory Committee and is president of a neighborhood association.

“I think the coronavirus is going to be a big hit, and with my experience, I think I can help guide the county through the problems we’re facing,” Bryant said.

At a forum organized by City Club of Central Oregon and the League of Women Voters on Wednesday night, candidates spoke about what they see as the biggest challenges facing Deschutes County.

“We’re going to have big budget constraints because of the coronavirus,” Bryant said. “Also, transportation and wildfire preparedness. We’re going to have water shortages because of the water shortages we’re seeing.”

“When I started this campaign, I would say that the greatest challenge facing our community is rapid growth,” Chang said. “Now, in the time of COVID-19, I would say responding to this public health crisis and responding to the fall out is the most important thing our officials need to be talking about.”

Democratic candidate Ron Boozell was not present at the forum.

Whoever wins the primary will run against Republican Comissioner Phil Henderson. No other Republicans have filed to challege him.


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