Proceed with the water project

I heard a wonderful political admonition years ago from a senior legislator to a rookie: “When you have the votes, vote. When you don’t, talk.”

Opponents of the Bend City Council’s previous decisions on the Bridge Creek drinking water project believe there hasn’t been enough talk. They will likely continue to feel that way until they have the votes to scuttle the project, at which point there will have been sufficient “public input.”

The Central Oregon Association of Realtors has supported the city’s decisions on the water project despite our concerns about the impact on ratepayers. The city’s primary responsibilities are infrastructure and public safety.

One of Bend’s great competitive advantages is safe, high-quality drinking water that also provides adequate gravity-fed fire protection flows. It only makes sense that we preserve the flexibility of two sources of water and replace the aging infrastructure we need to accommodate future growth and attract the job creators we so desperately need.

Regrettably, the city is being pressured by an unforgiving federal mandate and a narrow window of opportunity presented by the reconstruction of Skyliners Road. We agree with former Mayor Jeff Eager’s description that the city is making the best decision from bad choices.

Councilors Jodie Barram, Mark Capell, Victor Chudowsky and Scott Ramsay deserve the public’s appreciation for their resolve on this difficult issue and for resisting the pressure of a concerned, vocal minority. It’s time to proceed with the water project and make the other infrastructure investments necessary to ensure Bend’s economic competitiveness and future prosperity.

Bill Robie,

Government Affairs Director, COAR

Bend