Carolyn Eagan may be the advocate for Bend businesses, but she also wants to make sure they follow the rules.
“I want to stop rewarding businesses for not doing the right thing, and start rewarding business for doing the right thing,” said Eagan, whose city job title is Bend business advocate.
The city’s rules for issuing temporary liquor-serving licenses and special-event permits have not been properly followed, and some businesses have not obtained or renewed their annual business licenses.
By requiring businesses to meet the city’s timelines, she said, it will allow staff to properly assess the applications and ensure the city recovers its cost to process them.
Businesses were notified Tuesday that they must submit applications for licenses to serve and sell liquor at special events to the Police Department at least two weeks before the event.
Efforts to increase the number of businesses who register and renew their business licenses have been underway for about a year, according to The Bulletin’s archives. Licenses cost $50 annually, and businesses that fail to obtain a license could be subject to a $500 fine, but Eagan said it hasn’t been enforced.
During a Bend Economic Development Advisory Board meeting earlier this month, she suggested raising the licensing fee to $75 to fully recover the city’s cost to process licenses.
Eagan also would like better enforcement of the rules for obtaining special-event permits. Bend hosts more than 400 special events annually.
The city plans to require businesses to apply for the permit 30 days in advance, as outlined in the ordinance, pay the $175 application fee upfront and submit plans to address accessibility, traffic diversion and sanitation. Eagan said some businesses weren’t submitting complete applications.
Interim Bend Police Chief Jim Porter said the department, which processes special-event permits, is being overwhelmed by last-minute applications.
“When we go back over the past 10 years, depending on the amount of permits coming in and the other staffing assignments, there’s a possibility that we could take them in and process them in under seven days,” Porter said. “But we’ve seen such an increase in activities within Bend, that we really no longer have the extra staffing hours to be that flexible.”
He said he hopes the process will be formalized, as well as have it start in the Community Development Department.
Eagan said she plans to hold a public meeting next month to discuss additional changes for special events.
Teague Hatfield, the owner of FootZone on Northwest Wall Street, said as the community grows, it’s going to be important to play by the rules when using city infrastructure to put on events.
FootZone puts on an annual Thanksgiving Day run and walk on the First Street River Trail, but Hatfield said he doesn’t anticipate enforcement will have an impact.
“I do understand the city has to balance out the needs of the whole community, not just the business community,” Hatfield said. “The city is always balancing that fine line of keeping the community healthy economically and keeping it livable, and that’s what they should be doing.”