Bend City Council candidates
Name: Andrew Davis
Profession: Student life director at Central Oregon Community College
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Oregon State University-Cascades and master’s in business administration from Eastern Oregon University
Name: Gena Goodman-Campbell
Profession: Public lands coordinator at the Oregon Natural Desert Association
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College
Name: Victor Johnson
Profession: Musician and support provider for adults with developmental disabilities
Education: Associate degree in audio engineering from Full Sail University and bachelor’s degree in English literature from Guilford College
Bend’s next city Councilor will be a community college administrator, an environmental steward or a musician.
Andrew Davis, Gena Goodman-Campbell and Victor Johnson are running to fill a seat held by Councilor Nathan Boddie, who’s running for the state House.
Davis, 34, has lived in northeast Bend his entire life. He studied business administration at Oregon State University-Cascades and Eastern Oregon University, served on the board of the Orchard District Neighborhood Association and works as Central Oregon Community College’s student life director.
Davis said he frequently hears from COCC students who have trouble finding housing they can afford while attending school and struggle to find jobs in the area after they graduate.
“They’re underemployed or they’re taking that intellectual talent and going somewhere they can afford to live,” he said. “I would like to see us be able to retain those folks.”
He said his priority is to annex and provide services for the 2,380 acres in Bend’s urban growth boundary — the state-approved line around cities that determines where they can grow — as quickly as possible to provide more land for homes and high-wage industry.
The city moved a step closer earlier this month to annexing about 400 acres in the northwest portion of town by signing an agreement with four developers, and it’s seeking applications through Friday for a committee that will help develop a plan for about 500 acres southeast of town.
“What’s most concerning to me is the gap between median household income and median household price,” Davis said. “I think there are a lot of people here who are trying to do all the right things, and it’s getting expensive to live here. To me, that’s because we can’t build homes fast enough to keep up.”
The city should encourage a broader mix of homes, including duplexes, townhomes, small single-family homes and apartments, he said.
Davis said he wouldn’t support efforts proposed by several mayoral candidates to limit spending on tourism promotion because tourism is a significant part of Bend’s economy. Tourists who decide to move to the city also contribute to Bend’s economy, he said.
“Tourism is an important part of our economy, and there’s a lot of people whose jobs depend on it here,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to see us do something that harms people’s current jobs or businesses.”
Goodman-Campbell, 34, said she’s long wanted to serve the community. A close but unsuccessful campaign against state Rep. Knute Buehler in 2016 convinced her the City Council was the right place to serve because many of the concerns she heard from voters were local issues: housing costs, transportation and quality of life.
“I knocked on 4,000 doors over the course of eight months in 2016, and that experience really changed my perspective on Bend and the challenges people were facing,” she said.
Goodman-Campbell moved to Bend 12 years ago to lead a campaign to protect the Badlands Wilderness, an effort that succeeded in getting Congress to designate 30,000 acres east of Bend as a protected wilderness area in 2009. Since, she’s worked as the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s public lands coordinator.
She said she wants the city to continue its affordable housing policies while looking at ways to build homes as soon as possible in urban growth boundary expansion areas and areas targeted for more dense development in the city. The city should offer incentives and subsidies to developers to make sure they can build the types of housing Bend needs, she said.
“One of the challenges right now is that the cost of construction and the cost of development is causing local builders to mainly build homes that are not affordable to the vast majority of people who work here,” she said. “We actually have a couple thousand homes on the market at any given time that are available, but those homes that are available are affordable to people making over $150,000 for a family of four.”
Bend’s transportation planning should focus on ways to move people more efficiently across town, she said. One way to meet a state requirement to reduce the number of miles vehicles travel is to build complete communities where people have access to jobs, stores and restaurants through a short walk, drive or bike ride.
Bend should work with Visit Bend, the company that contracts with the city to provide tourism promotion, to mitigate tourism’s negative effects on traffic and overuse of trails, she said. The city should consider shifting funds from tourism marketing to paying for tourism facilities, such as urban trails, Goodman-Campbell said.
Johnson, 49, is a musician who moved to Bend four years ago to take a job as a music director at a pre-school. After being laid off two years ago, he dedicated himself to helping people through his music and his work as a support provider to adults with developmental disabilities.
He said he wants to bring a focus on music and arts to the City Council.
“I really believe it’s the heartbeat of Bend,” he said. “People can have widely varying political views and beliefs but they can come together through music.”
The City Council provides a platform to address societal issues like bullying and violence, Johnson said. He’s written songs about a white nationalist’s 2017 attack on a Portland train and a local high school student’s death by suicide but said he hasn’t been able to reach as broad of an audience as he wants to.
Johnson has rented the same home in southwest Bend since moving to the city four years ago, and he said he can’t afford rent without help from his family. The City Council should encourage different types of homes to provide options that residents like him can afford, he said.
Bend needs to create safer roads for bicyclists and pedestrians, Johnson said. He said the city should add bike lanes and consider painting bike lanes in bright colors. Johnson supports alternative modes of transportation, including the summer Ride Bend shuttle.
He said Bend doesn’t need to increase spending on tourism promotion, and Visit Bend should consider changing what it promotes. Johnson would like to see more promotion of small local businesses and artists, and he said the city should look at spending some of its tourism budget on supporting small events with local artists.
The community should share the cost of connecting homes with septic systems to the city’s sewer, he said.
“It’s important to support everybody and spread out costs,” Johnson said.
Overall, Johnson said his campaign is based on caring about the community and making sure Bend approaches issues with compassion.
“I’m really passionate about getting involved and making a difference,” he said. “I really want to bring unity.”
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