Editorial: Bend should focus on potholes before fancier digs


Some of the potholes in Bend are big enough to hold a city council meeting in.

Well, probably not. But driving along Bend’s streets can be a menace to tires, suspension, safety and wallets.

The point is, when we read that council is trying to find a bigger space to hold its meetings, our mind shifted to potholes and the city’s many other priorities craving money.

Council chambers can get cramped. While the chambers can typically handle the smattering of attendance, some topics bring a crowd.

There is no place for them to sit. The crowd overflows into the hallway.

That makes it difficult for them to participate. It’s not very welcoming. It also can make it difficult to hear inside the chambers, because of people chatting in the hallway.

The council has rightly asked staff to hunt around for some options. It might be possible to renovate the existing chambers. The municipal court on Northeast 15th Street may be a reasonable solution.

But before the council spends a dime on fancier digs or moving, let’s get some priorities straight.

The cramped council chambers are an occasional problem.

Bend has an everyday pothole problem. Its roads are estimated to need $16 million a year in maintenance for the next five years to get them to an optimal level. The city says it spends about $2.2 million a year to maintain streets and at that rate, they will continue to get worse.

Bend has an everyday fire and ambulance response time problem. We urge you to support the May fire levy to help.

There are also funding puzzles with the police, and water and sewer. And it should make its sidewalk ramps accessible.

Stacked up against those everyday problems, throwing money at renovating or moving the council chambers doesn’t seem as important.