State Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and state Reps. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, and Jason Kropf, D-Bend, just sent a clear signal about their priorities.
Knopp had $4 million to spend. Zika and Kropf each had $2 million to spend. It was money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Knopp told us they coordinated to try to get the most out of the $8 million for the area.
Knopp put $1 million toward a new well in Redmond to keep up with water demand. He put $1 million toward early learning and child care at the Little Kits Early Learning and Childcare and Center at Oregon State University-Cascades. And he put $2 million toward improving crossings across U.S. Highway 97 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in Bend, making travel safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, cars and trains.
Zika put $1 million to Redmond’s neighborhood revitalization program that includes sidewalks to make it easier and safer for people to get around. He put $800,000 toward NeighborImpact’s efforts toward child care and for a food bank. And the remaining $200,000 toward Redmond’s REACH program and the Redmond Early Learning Center to expand child care.
As we have already reported, Kropf put his $2 million toward Bend being able to acquire and renovate a low-barrier homeless shelter.
If you were to sum it all up, transportation safety, fighting homelessness, child care and water supply were all winners.
Knopp, Zika and Kropf were hired by voters to pick priorities and make such decisions about how to spend taxpayer dollars. Maybe you voted for them. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you don’t like their positions on some issues or the party they are associated with. They did here, though, work together and in good faith on solving some of the region’s problems. Here, they made good choices.