Guest Column

I don’t live in Bend, but I do follow local politics, especially since some of the policies made in Bend affect many of us, e.g. parking issues, homeless issues, etc. I suspected after the last election the residents of Bend made some questionable choices for their City Council.

I saw the quote in The Bulletin on Sunday, Nov. 21, from city Councilor Rita Schenkelberg in an article about a possible homeless shelter in Juniper Ridge. The statement was, “Listening to people in our community not be able to put their privilege aside to serve the greater community is embarrassing as a leader.” I find her statement despicable, disgusting and arrogant. I view it as a slap in the face to the residents of Bend.

People have every reason to be upset at the thought of a tent city/shelter in their neighborhoods. They shouldn’t be made out as the bad guys. We all know the homeless issue is complex, but these should not be in the backyards of our neighborhoods. We have all seen the photos of Hunnell Road and have driven pass the former ODOT camps along 97 and other areas around town. They look like dumps. Garbage and junk everywhere. They have not been good neighbors. I have read multiple stories of businesses near the camps having problems with vandalism, theft and crime. The notion that these camps are to be managed doesn’t give me much confidence. Who in their right mind would want this in their neighborhood? She wants to put these camps in your neighborhood for the greater good? It certainly won’t be good for your neighborhood! She seems to think she knows what is better for you and your family more than you do. The arrogance! I can’t believe she would say such disparaging things about her constituents.

In regard to Ms. Schenkelberg’s comments about “privilege”, I am sure many of the hard working people of Bend are not too happy about this. “Privilege?” Most people bust their butts every day going to work to provide a nice life for themselves and their families, for now and in the future. It is their “privilege” to pay taxes to keep the government machine operating. It is their “privilege” to maintain a nice home, making sacrifices for their families. It is their “privilege” to want their kids to live in safe neighborhoods and go to good schools. Her comment about privilege is noting short of insulting.

She said she is embarrassed as a leader. She is an elected official but to say she is a leader is quite a stretch. Unfortunately the residents of Bend are going to have to live with their choices for now. I certainly hope they remember this statement from Ms. Schenkelberg at the next election. The political pendulum tends to swing back and forth. I hope it swings back closer to center next time there is an election. Look what the so-called “progressives” have done for Portland. Let’s not repeat those mistakes. Bend is a beautiful and unique city. Let’s keep it the way.

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Scott Erwin lives in Redmond.

(7) comments

kindergentlerbend

Councilor Schenkelberg reacted to demonstrably hateful comments from one or more of the public commenters. Just review the tape; it was truly astonishing the amount of vitriol some folks can summon when talking about the vulnerable people in our unhoused community. Cheers to Rita for her truth; it needed to be said. Others in the visitors section chose a more reasonable way to express themselves, but--unfortunately--it is always the loudest and crassest who get the attention.

A guy

Bend Ed board, who is this dude and why should we care about his opinion? Final sentence, "...let's keep it that way" implies some degree of skin in the game, which Councilor Schenkelberg has. Does Mr. Erwin?

Richard/s

102572: Thanks for volunteering to host a homeless camp near your house. Make sure you buy extra food to feed them also.

102572

This piece is truly disappointing. The non-resident author sees a single quote in the paper and launches on an angry self-centered rant without having the discernment to appreciate that the councilor’s comments were based on her very real first-hand exposure to a flood of non-empathetic, unhelpful and frankly un-Christian comments from some very vocal members of our community. Councilor Schenkelberg and the rest of the council are rolling up their sleeves and trying to figure out some solutions to this very difficult and multi-faceted problem that is impacting fellow human beings in our community. Sounds like leadership to me.

RTCC

There was nothing said by community speakers at the November 17 meeting that was disrespectful or un-Christian.. Schenkelberg, however, was extremely disrespectful. The councilors seem to refuse to work with the county in order to come up with a workable solution. They are determined to put these camps next to neighborhoods. There are alternatives, but the council won’t consider them.

Skittish

How have we determined that it is an issue of "privilege"? We all have privileges and disadvantages. Who is she to determine who has how much of each? Arrogant and entitled she is. She should be embarrassed by her own statements.

Stig

You get what you vote for ...

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