Editorial: Volunteer for city, county committees

Published Jun 28, 2014 at 12:01AM

At least two local governments, the city of Bend and Deschutes County, are looking for citizens willing to serve on public bodies. In Bend, it’s the planning commission and a series of urban growth boundary technical advisory committees; in the county, volunteers are needed for both the audit committee and the animal control board of supervisors.

The audit committee oversees internal and external audits at the county, while the animal control board decides the fate of dogs involved in chasing, wounding or killing livestock. The city planning commission conducts hearings and makes recommendations to the City Council regarding land-use matters; UGB advisory groups will provide information to the UGB steering committee.

These are not glory jobs, clearly, and the work can be downright uncomfortable from time to time. Deciding a dog must be euthanized is no doubt painful for all concerned, while planning commissioners often are the first stop for development that may be controversial.

Yet without members of the public, the city councils and county commissions could not do their work as well as they otherwise might.

We live in a society where ordinary citizens are given an extraordinary amount of say in how their government runs. We elect everyone from members rural fire protection boards to the president of the United States. Moreover, we ask volunteers to advise those whom we elect on a wide range of subjects, locally from Deschutes County’s behavioral health advisory board to the Bend’s transportation safety advisory committee.

If you’d like to get involved, now is your chance. As many volunteers know, when you give your own time to some worthy cause — and surely how well the city and county in which you live run are worthy causes — you’re likely to get at least as much out of the experience as you give.