Russell has been leader in community's success

Al Tozer Jr. and Stacey Stemach /

Published Oct 28, 2012 at 05:00AM

Sally Russell deserves our vote. A tireless contributor to our community, Russell has proudly served the City of Bend as an outstanding planning commissioner and has participated in, organized and/or chaired countless civic committees and workshops over the past 25 years. Alongside her volunteer service to our community, Russell led the charge, as director of the Cascade Festival of Music for five years, to bring the highest level of classical music to Bend. She was part of the team that pulled the festival out of $100,000 in debt. Many of us recall wonderful evenings spent in Drake Park listening to musicians from around the world as a result of Russell’s dedication to bringing big city culture to small town Bend.

As a City of Bend planning commissioner, Russell played a leadership role in blending design and function to shape the Bill Healy Bridge into the scenic corridor we know today. And when you think fondly of the Old Mill District, you may thank Russell again. It was Commissioner Russell’s sensible, inclusive approach to developer Bill Smith’s vision that helped move the Old Mill project forward and make it a community-wide success.

It is Russell’s inclusiveness and willingness to listen that will serve her and our community as she takes a seat on Bend’s City Council. Currently leading efforts to revitalize the Galveston Avenue corridor, Russell has volunteered her time to make this emerging street a destination for shopping, dining and services. Russell has served on the Galveston Revitalization Task Force for nearly two years and was instrumental in helping develop a vision for Galveston’s streetscape. Russell sees Galveston Avenue as a place for friends and families to stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of a thriving neighborhood corridor. It is just this type of attention to place and local commerce that will continue to make Bend attractive to residents, potential residents and visitors.

Seeing Russell work with all of the different people and their interests and goals for the Galveston corridor and work to build consensus has shown us that she has the ability to listen, learn and find strong solutions to challenging projects. We feel these are necessary skills to be an effective member of the City Council.

Russell has lived in the heart of Bend for more than two decades and has watched the city grow from 15,000 residents to the 80,000 people who now call Bend home. Residing in Bend’s Historical District, she has a deep appreciation and respect for Bend’s past, present and future. Enthusiastic about the possibility of an urban four-year university, she understands the economic benefits the proposed Oregon State University campus on Bend’s west side will bring to this city. Access to education strengthens a community on many levels.

Without any question, my favorite part of Russell is her ability to think “outside the box.” Her talent to propose new perspectives and thoughtful solutions to the challenges at hand makes her an invaluable member of any group she has ever participated in. She is not shy to challenge a proposal if she sees a possibility to strengthen and broaden the vision.

Bend is poised to become one of the most cultured, learned and vibrant communities of its size in the United States. And Russell is determined to see this vision realized. Thoughtful, caring and eager to serve, Russell deserves our vote this November.