Rick Johns, a downtown business owner, is running for mayor of Bend.
Johns, 61, is one of three candidates to have officially filed to run for mayor as of this week. He joins the race with City Councilor Melanie Kebler and former Councilor Chris Piper. Luke Richter, leader of the activist group Central Oregon Peacekeepers, announced his intention to run for mayor last year, but has not filed for the race as of Wednesday.
Johns said he is running because he is “disgusted” with the direction of the current City Council, and that elected leaders don’t listen to residents.
“I don’t feel like we have a voice,” Johns said, referring to taxpayers and business owners.
In particular, Johns takes issue with how money has been appropriated in the city’s transportation bond, which passed in 2020. He believes too much money is going toward transporting “everything but vehicles.”
He also does not see the value in a pedestrian bridge over U.S. Highway 97 that is being contemplated at Hawthorne Avenue. The bridge is currently being studied to see if it could be feasible.
“We are dealing with a sizable amount of congestion,” Johns said. “Enough is enough.”
Johns also is against House Bill 2001, a state law that mandated cities update their development codes to be less restrictive in residential zones in order to encourage more housing development. The city of Bend had no choice in whether to adopt these rules, but Johns believes they should be challenged in court.
He believes the rules adopted by the City Council may destroy the way of life for himself, and other homeowners, that he believes makes Bend attractive. Johns doesn’t believe a housing crisis exists
“The market will affect the real estate cost. I really wanted to live in Laguna Beach, but I couldn’t afford it. That’s America. It’s capitalism. People live where they can afford,” Johns said. “Because these people can afford to live on the northwest side and others can’t, well if they work hard they’ll get there. But don’t destroy all the neighborhoods and bring them down to the same level.”
If elected, Johns said he would want to get rid of parklets in downtown Bend, which he believes use up too many parking spaces. He also said he would have a goal to not allow homeless people to camp anywhere in the city of Bend.
A federal court case, Martin v. Boise, prevents cities from banning camping outright unless the city can provide some form of housing or shelter for people.
Johns moved to Bend 14 years ago. Before coming to Central Oregon, Johns said he lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, working a variety of jobs related to architecture and construction.
Johns briefly worked selling RVs when he first moved to Bend. Now he owns and operates a furniture store in downtown Bend with his wife.
“I love Bend, and that’s why I’m (running),” he said.
The Bend City Council has three seats, in addition to the mayor’s post, up for election in November. As of Wednesday, no one has filed to run for any of the three council seats.
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Rick Johns is a moderate who we need to turn around the mess current radical Bend city council is making of this great city! We need council members and a mayor like Chris Piper who will listen to the people instead of pushing through their own personal radical agenda of the current council.
If you want Bend to continue its descent into being nothing but a playground for the rich and old and to encourage sprawl and untamable traffic congestion, Mr Johns is your guy!
He's likely got my vote. He wants the City to be more responsive to what (I think) most residents care about and want.
Johns said “ and that elected leaders don’t listen to residents.” What he meant was elected leaders don’t listen to people like him. Obviously they listen to enough residents to get elected.
Johns sounds like an “Delphi group of one”.
Is this an Onion article?
Sounds like a good man. Someone who will make the interests of taxpayers and citizens his first concern, produce real solutions to the problems facing Bend, and keep our city from becoming another Seattle, or Portland, or San Francisco. Exactly the kind of man we need for mayor here.
Always nice to have a retro candidate to remind us how wonderful things once were. He's Chris Piper, I guess, but without the ability to express empathy. But, maybe, cruelty is the point.
If by retro you mean someone with common sense, you’re spot on. Bend residents are tired of preening politicians who adopt fashionable (but unsound) positions in order to feel better about themselves.
Hence why trump was voted out. On the local front it appears that more people don't feel that his ideas are good enough for all.
'The city of Bend had no choice in whether to adopt these rules, but Johns believes they should be challenged in court.'
TI....remember who wrote this article. as I've called her out on numerous occasions, she drinks the same Kool-Aide as the rest of city council, might as well be on their payroll, and at the same time possess a similar level of ignorance and hubris as sitting council members without a clue about the truth or facts or the emotional intelligence to know better.
While I like his idea about the parklets, I'd have to agree with TI.
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