Vote Yes on Measure 9-135, Bend’s Transportation Bond

For two years, City staff, consultants and a 22-member Citywide Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) worked on a long-range plan for Bend’s transportation future. With your help, we worked hard to make sure this plan emphasized moving people rather than just moving cars by prioritizing safety, walking, biking and transit improvements.

Now, we need your help to translate the plan into action by voting Yes! on Measure 9-135, Bend’s Transportation Bond, when you receive your ballot in the mail this week

If approved by votes, Measure 9-135 will invest over $60 million in improving safety, walking, biking and transit over the next ten years. That’s the biggest investment in these parts of our transportation system in Bend’s history.

Here’s a few examples of Bendites who will benefit.

  • A 5th grader on their way to school or a friend’s house for some afternoon play.
  • A solo parent who can’t afford a car and needs to be at work on time.
  • A retired couple on their early morning walk, trying to cross a busy road because the sidewalk ends abruptly on their side of the street.
  • A young professional who lives in mid-town, works downtown, and rides their bike to work.

How will Measure 9-135 help these folks?

It will improve over 20 intersection bottlenecks that are currently unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. It will build new sidewalks and safe road crossings near schools and bus stops. It will complete 12 north-south and east-west walking and biking routes, including new crossings over the parkway and railroad tracks in Bend’s core. And it will provide $8 million for the Neighborhood Safety Program, where local neighborhoods get to choose new safety investments in their part of town.

Equally important, all of these investments will help reduce climate pollution. Transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in Oregon. When people feel safe they are more likely to start walking and biking and reduce how much they drive.  And improved traffic flow means we’ll spend less time in our cars when we do drive. Together, that means less miles driven and less fossil fuels burned.

The bottom-line is that Measure 9-135 will make needed investments that are good for all of us, whether we drive, ride a bike, walk or take a bus. And they’re good for the environment too.

Please vote YES on Measure 9-135.

And The Environmental Center isn’t the only nonprofit organization who endorses measure 9-135.  These other organizations do, too!

  • Central Oregon LandWatch
  • Bend Bikes
  • Central Oregon Conservation Network
  • Central Oregon Wheelers
  • Oregon League of Conservation Voters
  • 1000 Friends of Oregon
  • Juniper Group, Oregon Sierra Club
  • Oregon Environmental Council 

Please vote Yes! on Measure 9-135.

Learn more about Measure 9-135 here: 

Accessory Dwelling Units: A Sustainable Housing Solution

Guest post from Mary Hearn, ADU Enthusiast & Advocate

Learn more about the ADU Lab here

Allowing homeowners to add accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to their property is one of the most promising infill development strategies we have for increasing our supply of housing within the existing fabric of our community.

Many communities across the country are experiencing a severe housing crisis due to a lack of housing inventory that is causing prices to rise and leaving many residents completely priced out of their local markets.  This market reality tends to force large scale development to the urban fringe, which then increases traffic and greenhouse gas emissions as people travel to and from their homes and businesses.

There are numerous community advantages to infill-type developments such as ADUs.  They distribute less expensive housing throughout the city while having less visual impact on neighborhood character.  They can provide flexible space for a home office or on-site caregiver, housing for family members, or provide additional rental income to a homeowner.

Since these units tend to have a smaller footprint, ADUs by design contribute to a more sustainable and livable community.  We must begin to reimagine our urban landscape in a way that preserves and respects our Urban Growth Boundary and creates more affordable housing options close to common destinations like schools, jobs, parks, and retail.

By restricting urban sprawl and building in the core, we alleviate lengthy commuter traffic, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoid the added cost for new public infrastructure and maintenance, preserve open space and natural resources, and contribute to a healthier community.

If we as a community desire to thrive in good health and create a high quality of life for all of our residents, we must continue to advocate for more infill development that allows for a variety of housing types to meet a variety of family sizes and incomes.  ADUs are one small, but mighty solution.

ACTION ALERTS: Big Agenda for Bend City Council This Wednesday

Support Funding the Core Area Plan

The vision for a vibrant, sustainable mixed-use neighborhood in the Bend Central District with safe east & west connections depends on the Core Area Plan to be funded through Tax Increment Financing (TIF). On August 5th, Bend City Council will vote to create an urban renewal area so that they may use TIF to provide funding for projects including transportation and affordable housing.

Tell the City why you support the Core Area TIF Plan! Email Matt Stuart, City of Bend Urban Renewal Manager, at . Suggested talking points can be found here from Central Oregon Landwatch.

Making Investments in Bend’s Transportation System:
Tell the Council to Let Voters Decide in November

Last Spring, Bend was poised to vote on a bond measure to invest $190 million in their transportation system.  But in the chaos of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Council decided to postpone the vote and pulled the measure from the May ballot.

Now, the Council is actively considering placing the bond measure before voters on this November’s ballot.  It’s the same package of needed investments in improving safety, traffic flow, walking, biking, and transit, and the same amount of investment, $190 million, as the original proposal from last winter.  The bond measure reflects the hard work that The Environmental Center and many others have put into drafting Bend’s new transportation system plan—but we can’t make that plan a reality without additional funds.  We simply have too much catch up work to do, especially on safety improvements and walking and biking infrastructure.

That’s why The Environmental Center supports placing the ballot measure before voters in November.  We know that despite the pandemic, we still need to make these investments—they are essential to preserving and enhancing quality of life and sustainability as we continue to grow.

We are also sensitive to today’s challenging economy.  So we are joining with the Chamber of Commerce and others in asking the Council to ensure that property owners will not see an increase in their taxes until fall of 2022. That will give our economy time to recover and unemployment time to improve.

This Wednesday, the Council will decide whether to place the ballot measure before Bend’s voters.

If you agree with us that Bend needs these investments and that voters should be able to decide if now is the right time, please let the Bend City Council know ASAP.

Bikes at TEC

A safer, more walkable, bikable, transit-friendly Bend

Your voice is needed!

After more than two years of hard work by Environmental Center staff and other local activists and citizens, the effort to pass a new Transportation System Plan (TSP) for the City of Bend is entering the home stretch this summer. We need you to engage now and likely one more time later this summer to help pass this plan.

Background

The TSP is important because it will guide Bend’s transportation infrastructure investments, programs and policies over the next 20 years, as well as a funding plan. The draft TSP, which won approval from a twenty-five member citizen advisory committee (that our Executive Director Mike Riley co-chaired) last month, calls for meaningful changes to the future of Bend’s transportation system.

Rather than continue being a city reliant on expensive and dangerous infrastructure that primarily serves cars, the draft TSP plans for more safe and convenient bike paths, sidewalks, transit service and roads. It ensures no new five-lane roads will create barriers through our neighborhoods. It calls for large employers to manage the demand their employees put on our roads. Implementation of the TSP’s projects and programs will reduce the amount of driving the average Bend resident has to do on a daily basis. And it plans for right-sized investments that won’t burden taxpayers with unnecessary, expensive megaprojects.

A crucial final task of the citizen committee was to develop transportation performance targets. They approved targets that will ensure the TSP delivers real outcomes beneficial to all of Bend’s residents, and include the following:

  • A new transportation equity program
  • Double the percentage of trips taken by walking, biking, and riding transit
  • Build 12 new key routes for safe walking and biking across town by 2030
  • A pedestrian network master plan
  • No increase in vehicle miles traveled per capita
  • No deaths and a 50% reduction in serious injuries on our roadways
  • A new speed monitoring program
  • Reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions by 29%

It takes good planning to create a city that is walkable, bikable and vibrant. It won’t happen overnight. But if we adopt and then implement this draft TSP, traveling around Bend will be a more safe, equitable, and convenient experience by 2040.

What you can do

The TSP has two more steps to be adopted. First, the Bend Planning Commission must review and approve it and forward it on the Bend City Council.  Then, the City Council must hold public hearings and vote to adopt it.

The planning Commission hearing takes place next Monday July 27, and possibly July 28 too if more time is needed.

Please send the planning commission an email telling them that you support the TSP and it’s vision for and plan to create a safer, more walkable and more bikable and more transit friendly Bend that meets the needs everyone, not just those who can afford to drive cars.

Send your email to the following addresses:

Karen Swirsky , Senior Planner:
City Planning Commission:

July 23rd, 11:30am: The contact information above was updated from the original post to reflect feedback/clarification from City staff. Please send to both email addresses. 

Want to learn more?

Visit the links below to learn more about what’s included in the draft Transportation System Plan (TSP) before the Planning Commission Hearing on July 27th.

Get involved with Bend’s climate future

The City of Bend is actively recruiting nine positions for the Environment and Climate Committee (ECC) until July 31, 2020.

During the June 17th, 2020 City Council meeting, Bend City Council voted to establish the Environment and Climate Committee. The committee’s primary focus is to provide input and recommendations to the City Council on topics related to environmental stewardship and to oversee implementation of the Community Climate Action Plan, adopted in December 2019.

This committee is a big deal! The ECC will help the City of Bend establish direction and implement sustainability goals and will help shape the future livability of our community. 

Committee expertise

The City is seeking individuals who have experience or expertise, professional or lived, in the following or other related subject matters: energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy efficient building, environmental justice, equity in environmental stewardship and sustainability, alternative transportation and mobility, energy policy, environmental policy, forestry, water resources, ecology, other life sciences, carbon emission reduction, and other related areas. They seek inclusive membership of diverse and varied perspectives and experiences.

This committee will help fulfill current and future Council goals and projects related to environmental stewardship, and provide a resource to Council when relevant community issues arise. The ECC will:

  • Develop recommendations and build partnerships to advance implementation of the Community Climate Action Plan;
  • Provide input in the City’s review and development of plans, ordinances, actions, and policies as relevant
  • Provide advisory input to the City Council during Council goal setting and budgeting processes; and
  • Provide input on adopted Council goals as they relate to natural resources and the environment.

Commitment

This will be a permanent City committee just like the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board (BEDAB) or the Affordable Housing Committee, among others. Nine members will be appointed to the Environment and Climate Committee with initial terms being two or four years so that the committee doesn’t replace all of its members at once. Subsequent terms will be four years. 

Committee members will be expected to actively participate in monthly meetings, generally 1.5 – 2 hours. Committee members will determine the regular schedule that works best for the members.

Application

The Advisory Committee application is available at bendoregon.gov/committees. Applications are accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020. 

For questions on serving on the Environment and Climate Committee, please contact Cassie Lacy at 541-323-8587 or .  

Information about the committee is available at bendoregon.gov/sustainability.

Action Alerts: Speak with local leaders this week

1. Bend’s New Transportation Plan Enters Final Stretch

 Let local leaders know you support it.

After two years of hard work, Bend’s Citywide Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) recently held their final meeting. A big thank you to all 21 CTAC members—including our very own Mike Riley, one of the co-chairs, and Board Member Glenn Van Cise—for their hard work and commitment to creating a better transportation future in Bend!

Background
CTAC’s charge was to develop a new Transportation System Plan (TSP) to guide Bend’s transportation investments, programs, and policies through 2040. The draft TSP, which now has CTAC’s stamp of approval, calls for real changes to Bend’s transportation system. Here are a few examples:

  • The new TSP calls for a significant increase in investments in safe and convenient bike paths, sidewalks, transit service and roads.  
  • It ensures no new five-lane roads will create barriers through our neighborhoods. 
  • It calls for large employers to manage the demand their employees put on our roads.
  • It will reduce the amount of driving the average Bend resident has to do on a daily basis.  
  • And it includes a list of right-sized investments that won’t burden taxpayers with unnecessary, expensive megaprojects.

CTAC’s most recent task was to develop transportation performance measures and targets (Chapter 7 of the TSP).  The targets approved by CTAC will ensure that the TSP delivers real outcomes beneficial to all of Bend’s residents:

  • A new transportation equity program
  • Double the percentage of trips taken by walking, biking, and riding transit
  • Build 12 new key routes for safe walking and biking across town by 2030
  • A pedestrian network master plan
  • No increase in vehicle miles traveled per capita
  • No deaths and a 50% reduction in serious injuries on our roadways
  • A new speed monitoring program
  • A 29% reduction ins greenhouse gas emissions from transportation

It takes thoughtful planning to create a city that is walkable, bikeable and vibrant. It won’t happen overnight. But if we implement the new TSP developed by CTAC, traveling around Bend will be less carbon-intensive and a more safe, equitable, and convenient experience by 2040.

CTAC’s final action was to forward all chapters of the City’s new TSP to the Transportation Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is comprised of City Council plus one Bend Planning Commissioner, one Deschutes County Commissioner, and one ODOT representative. It is up to them to approve the draft TSP so it can be formally adopted by the City Council later this summer.  

What You Can Do

The Steering Committee’s final meeting is this Thursday, June 18, from 1-4pm and will be held remotely (online).

Tell the Steering Committee that you support all of CTAC’s recommendations, including the Chapter 7 performance targets, and that the Steering Committee should adopt the draft TSP as proposed.

They are only taking email comments. Emails must be received by by 10am on Thursday, June 18. 

2. Bend City Council to Establish a New Environment and Climate Advisory Committee

Let them know you support it.

The Bend City Council is considering creation of a new Environment and Climate Committee. The committee’s focus will be to provide input and recommendations to the City Council related to environmental stewardship and to oversee implementation of the Community Climate Action Plan, adopted in December 2019.

Bend has long had permanent citizen committees that advise the council on economic development, affordable housing, accessibility, its budget, and more. But this is the first time such a committee has been established to address what we consider to be a pillar of Bend—our natural resources. We think it’s long overdue and are thrilled to see this moving forward.  

What You Can Do

If you agree that this committee is good for Bend, let the City Council know. The Council will hold the first reading and a hearing on the proposed ordinance to establish the committee (see item 10 on the agenda) at its regular meeting this coming Wednesday, June 17, at 7pm. Send them an email at , or phone lines for public comment open at 6:45 pm at 1-855-282-6330, Access code: 146 187 2633##.  (But keep in mind if you call in, you may have to wait a long time—COVID is making live public comment challenging. Email may be more convenient.)

3. Police Reform in Bend?

City Council to discuss this on Wednesday, June 17th. 

Like many in our community, we are outraged at the ongoing murder of unarmed Black Americans by local police. The deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and now Rayshard Brooks—and so many before them—have laid bare that systemic racism persists in our nation and that there is much work to do to ensure justice for Black Americans and other people of color.

We need to do that work in every community in America, no matter the track record of our local police. This week, the Bend City Council will be discussing—we assume with a representative of Bend’s police department in the room—what steps could be taken to ensure that all Bend residents experience fair and non-violent treatment by local police.

What You Can Do

We encourage you to listen to the work session this Wednesday at 5:30. Work sessions are for learning and discussing, not decisions, but you can also share your thoughts on the topic with the Council later during the visitors section of its regular meeting at 7 pm. Phone lines for public comment open at 6:45 at 1-855-282-6330 Access code: 146 187 2633##.  (Keep in mind if you call in you may have to wait a long time—COVID is making live public comment challenging. Email may be more convenient, at .)

Charging an electric car at home

What does my house need to charge an Electric Car?

Whether you already own an electric car (EV) or are considering one in the future, when you are looking at new homes it is important to consider what it takes to charge an electric car at home. Depending on how the house is set up, it could limit the speed or cost of installing EV charging.

When you look at a new home it is important to look for two things: Where you plan on parking your car, and where the electricity will come from to charge. From these observations you can estimate the cost to install Level 2 electric car charging and what your options are. See”Other ways to charge” below because you may not necessarily need Level 2 charging capacity at home. 

Great charging

Many new homes are built with the ability to charge an electric car. If you don’t see a charger on the wall, take a look and see if you see a wall outlet that looks like a dryer or RV outlet. This is likely pre-wired for you to be able to plug in your current or future EV.  Many vehicles such as the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 come standard with a EV charger that can plug directly into these NEMA 14-50 outlets. You are good to go!

Good charging

If a home has an electric panel within 10-20 feet of where you plan to park, you are in luck! You just need an electrician to come out and connect a charger or 220v outlet for you to plug in. The next step would be to see if there is going to be an additional 32 amp capacity in your electric panel to add the charger. If there is, then an install is as simple as running a new dryer plug and should cost between $400 – $700 to install. A more detailed set of instructions on determining your electricity can be found here.

OK charging

Don’t worry if you have a longer distance to your panel or an undersized panel. Longer electric runs may cost a little more, and an undersized panel may need upgrading.  You can still install an EV charger.

Other ways to charge an electric car

Many people don’t bother installing a dedicated EV charger for Level 2 charging. If you don’t regularly drive over 50 miles per day, all you need is access to a regular wall outlet for Level 1 charging. It’s best to have your outlet within 15 feet of where you plan to charge. If your home doesn’t have a garage, you can still run your charging cable from an outlet on the outside of your home. 

Another great option is encouraging your workplace to offer charging where you could get some regular miles added to the “tank” and effectively double your daily range.

Don’t forget about incentives

Check with your utility for incentives for EV charging. Through 2020 you can also get a federal tax credit for EV charger installs.

Please reach out to Neil at or call him at 541-385-6908 x12 for more information.

4 things you need to know about the EV Charging Tax Credit

In a late December session, congress passed a bill that extended the electric vehicle charging tax credit that will cover 30% of the cost for residential or workplace charging. Because the EV charging tax credit got passed right at the end of 2019, there has been very little information available for you to file your 2019 taxes. Here are the details that may help you get a bigger tax refund, or help you afford EV charging in 2020.

Please consult with your tax professional to see how these credits apply to you. This information does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties.

  • Tax credits are available for EV charger hardware and installation costs.

Install costs can account for the majority of the total cost of installing EV charging especially for commercial installations. This importantly covers both components on charging costs.

  • 30% tax credit up to $1,000 for residential and $30,000 for commercial.

You use form 8911 to apply for the Federal EV charging tax credit. It covers 30% of the costs with a max of $1,000 credit for residents and $30,000 tax credit for commercial installs.

  • You can still apply for installs as early as 2017.

Did you install charging in  2017 or 2018? Not to worry, you are still eligible for the tax credit! It retroactively applies for installs in 2017 and doesn’t expire until the end of 2020. If your install happened before 2019 you will have to file an amended return to claim your charging credit.

  • Other business EV charging incentives are available.

We are seeing EV charging pop up all over Oregon. With the 30% Federal Tax credit and many other incentives and grants available from utilities and municipalities, 2020 is a great year to install. The list of opportunities for funding is always changing and we will do our best to keep you up to date. Right now, there are currently Level 2 chargers available for interested workplaces in Central Oregon as well as grants for installs in Oregon Electric Community Co-op Territories.

Please reach out to Neil at or call him at 541-385-6908 x12 for more information.

DC Fast Charging in Madras Oregon

CCS Charging comes to Madras

Central Oregon now has it’s first functional CCS combo charging thanks to Pacific Power’s installation of 4 DCFC stations located at the Madras Chamber of Commerce. With Madras sitting in an important highway junction it has been well suited to offer DC fast charging (DCFC) for EV drivers traveling through Central and Eastern Oregon.

Here is a guide to the different options in town:

Chamber of Commerce (Pacific Power’s installation on Chargepoint Network)

  • 4 x 50kw DC fast charging stations, each with dual heads to offer either CCS combo or Chademo style plugs to fit all modern EV’s (Teslas will need a Chademo to Tesla adapter.)
  • A double head J1772 to offer up to 7.2KW Level 2 charging.
  • This is on the Chargepoint network so the Chargepoint app, fob, or phone number can be used to charge.
  • DC Fast Charging- 17.7¢/ per minute off-peak, 28.3¢/ minute on-peak; Level 2 Charging- 0.6¢/minute off-peak, 1.4 ¢/minute on-peak ; On-Peak Period Summer- Monday through Friday 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; On-Peak Period Winter Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • If you wanted to add 50 miles of range to an average EV it would cost $3.82  off peak and $6.11 on Peak with DCFC and Level 2 charging would cost $0.77 off peak and $1.80 on peak.

West Coast Electric Highway (Dairy Queen on Webasto Network)

  • 1 x 50kw DC Fast Charger with a Chademo charging head only (works on older EV’s and Teslas with the Chademo to Tesla adapter.)
  • 1 x Single head J-1772 for up to 7.2 KW Level 2 charging.
  • As a part of the West Coast Electric Highway operated by Webasto. A Webasto key fob, phone call, or Pay with Plugshare will activate a charge.
  • Monthly plan is $19.99 or pay per charge at $7.50/session for DCFC and $4.00/session at Level 2

If you have any questions, please reach out to Neil at or call him at 541-385-6908 X12.

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Buying an EV at the end of the year

December is a great month to take advantage of the Federal EV Tax Credit.

If you have been on the fence about purchasing an EV, now might be the perfect time. End-of-year deals and the federal ev tax credit may be good enough to make the move. It is snowy outside and we love being able to pre-warm the cabin of the car in the garage with no emissions or idling!

Here are two reasons why December is a great time to buy one of the many EV’s available today:

Tax credit can reduce tax liability.

  • The Federal EV tax credit is still available and ranges from $1,875 to $7,500 depending on the vehicle. Buying in December means you can take full advantage of the tax credit as soon as you file your taxes!
  • As a reminder, if you don’t have a large enough tax liability, you can always lease the vehicle as a work around. The dealer will take the tax credit and reduce the base cost of the car. At that point you can continue to keep the lease, or buy out the remainder of the lease.

Tesla and GM loses their federal ev tax credit in 2020.

  • Although the tax credit is still in full effect for most automakers, Tesla and GM have hit the threshold where the amount they get to offer is reduced each quarter. This means that Tesla vehicles delivered after Jan 1st 2020 are no longer eligible for the EV tax credit.
  • For GM’s Chevy Bolt they are also in the ramp down of tax credits but are a quarter behind, so they will keep their $1,875 tax credit until the end of Q1 2020.
  • No other manufacture has hit the 200,000 vehicle threshold so they are all still offering the full $7,500 credit on new electric vehicles. You can see how close each manufacture is to their 200,000 threshold here

If you have any questions, please reach out to Neil at or call him at 541-385-6908 X12.