A group of Bend residents is unhappy about the prospect of a four-story apartment building on Colorado Avenue near the Bend Park & Recreation District Pavilion, so much so that they had picketed along Colorado a few days.
A supposed lack of parking will be a problem, opponents of the plan say, and a four-story building there will ruin the neighborhood. If there’s any truth to those arguments — and we’re not convinced there is — the fault lies in Salem, not in Bend.
The development proposed by Evergreen Housing Development Group is part of the answer to the city’s housing needs. Bend cannot simply grow organically to solve that problem. The state’s land use planning laws, the first of which was adopted in 1973, strive to keep growth compact. Bend can’t grow out. That leaves growing up. The building will, indeed, be taller than buildings currently in the area, though that will change over time.
The state also pushes to get us all out of cars and into buses or onto bikes or our feet, which means developers need not include as much parking as they did in the past. The proposed building exceeds city standards where parking is concerned — there will be more on-site parking than the city requires. A total of 199 spaces are planned, both above and below ground. Given that more than half the proposed 181 units will be studio apartments, it’s reasonable to assume that most will be occupied by only one tenant with only one car.
Oregonians, including those of us who live in Bend, cannot have it both ways. We cannot have compact growth and ensure that no existing neighborhood, particularly one not yet fully developed, ever changes. Those who have a beef about that reality should take their complaints to Salem.