Tag Archives: Redmond Oregon

Redmond Oregon Needs More Police – NO FEES

Below is the Guest Opinion column I authored that was published in the Bend (Oregon) Bulletin September 29, 2017 and the Redmond Spokesman earlier in the week.

A public Hearing on this matter is scheduled for Monday, November 13, 2017 at  5:30 pm at City Hall in Redmond, Oregon:

On Tuesday evening September 19th, 2017 The Redmond City Council proposed tacking on a “public safety fee” of $6 a month to residents’ monthly utility bills ($72 per annum), raising the cash to add more Police officers to the Department. This is a terribly slippery slope. No City of Redmond resident vote is required to implement this fee.

Cities in Oregon are under siege to address increasing costs and stagnant revenues. While population growth in Redmond is projected to be flat in the near term, City law enforcement resources are, and have been, stretched beyond reason.  While a few Oregon cities have resorted to this type of fee to address resources for public safety, most have done so as a last resort – to avoid debilitating cuts in public safety and emergency services.  Yet, an aggressive leap into levying fees across the board in Redmond without voter approval, where no cuts in public safety resources are anticipated, demands dialog. A prudent person would ask the following:

Where can the City make cuts in the current budget? Have the City and the Police Department exhausted all available grant opportunities to provide funding for additional officers? Has our Congressional delegation in D.C. been consulted regarding available grant resources? What was their response? Are there other revenue streams that might be created whereby the non-resident population of the City of Redmond whose activities demand City law enforcement resources been considered and thoroughly exhausted? What percentage of City of Redmond law enforcement resources are expended on non-residents of the City of Redmond? What is the “sundown date” on such a fee? Are Redmond residents and the business community insulated from any future fee increases and/or fee levying activity by the Mayor and the City Council of this nature?

Utility fees are just that. They are also usage fees based upon actual consumption. The proposed public safety fee tacked onto utility bills is not a usage fee. Furthermore, to relegate community law enforcement staffing resources to a vehicle where wastewater and sewage fees are assessed is down right stinky…this suggestion simply does not pass the smell test.

Maybe Redmond should get out of the golf business…Redmond businesses and residents have borne City utility rate increases of 2%, as identified in the 2015/2016 budget and 3% effective July 2017. When one examines the 2016/2017 City Budget one thing jumps out: Golf Course debt at the beginning of the 2016/17 budget year was $4,812,778 with $419,611 of annual  debt service. Furthermore, the budget reveals: “Over the last several fiscal years, the General Fund has needed to cover the payments on the majority of these debt obligations. The FY 2016/17 budget assumes the General Fund will need to cover about 100% of the bond payments associated with building the golf course over a decade ago.” (p.50. of Redmond 2016/2017 Budget . 2017/2018 Budget is HERE).

Redmond, like many Oregon cities has and continues to have an addictive affection for urban renewal funds. However, there’s a downside to a fiscal focus of this nature – earmarking future property tax revenues to address the urban renewal debt already on the books. Thus, when the Police Department requires more officers to protect the community properly, City management is at a loss for where these funds will be derived. This is shortsighted.

The merit of the need for additional Police Officers for Redmond is unequivocal (although I need to be persuaded about the legitimate need for a “downtown foot patrol”). Yet, proceeding down this slippery slope of assessing fees to utility bills to provide adequate funding for the essential and fundamental public safety resources the community and the Department deserve – well – like I’ve said – demands dialog.

City of Redmond  financial resources have an uncanny inertia for expenditures designed for embalming the past (Evergreen Elementary School acquisition/renovation and ongoing expenditures attempting to re-invigorate a “downtown core,” and an urban renewal funds addiction) vs. planning for the absolute fundamental necessities of the future. The men and women of The Redmond Police Department deserve more personnel, resources, and vastly better financial planning from the City. So do the residents of the City of Redmond, Oregon.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Dahl

A public hearing on this matter is scheduled for Monday, November 13, 2017 at  5:30 pm at City Hall in Redmond, Oregon.

The Central Oregon Apoc-Eclipse of 2017

Here are my thoughts following the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse that visited the Central Oregon region this past weekend.

 

This writing was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Redmond Spokesman on Wednesday 9/30/2017 and the Bend Bulletin on Sunday September 3, 2017 (common ownership of the two newspapers)…

Well, it’s over. The path of totality crossed the skies of Central Oregon.
 

A Redmond church had a sign out front that welcomed all to “Come worship with us Sunday at 10 am.” This sign was behind two large white barricades and some cones that blocked the ​two ​entrances to the parking lot with a sign attached that stated boldly “NO ECLIPSE PARKING!” Redmond had signs in front of the dog park in the Spud Bowl declaring “No Camping.” Yet, cheezy signs for the Redmond Brewfest were prominently displayed at the Highway 97 entrances to Redmond during eclipse weekend.

Local governments ​ and  their departments ​and personnel ​frantically prepared for the onslaught in the weeks prior to the eclipse. Public officials made statements that the “estimates” for the influx of eclipse observers into Central Oregon could be between 300,000 and 3 million visitors. Stores and restaurants stocked up accordingly. Gas lines and shortages were touted ​ (they never happened)​. Public safety agencies staffed up. Garbage collection companies advanced their schedules for garbage pick-up in Redmond anticipating traffic clogged roads on Monday. Redmond City Hall was locked on Monday with some staff inside carrying out their duties. Many companies and public agencies either closed or recommended clients/customers arrange their schedules to avoid Monday.

What happened? Well, the hype played out as just that…hype. ​Now we have overstocked stores and restaurants. The anticipated Armageddon with the estimated human migration to Central Oregon simply didn’t happen. The fear factor that spurred much of the advance preparation was just that…fear.

I wonder what the ​actual ​cost ​s incurred in the Tri-County area and major cities will come in at ​for all ​this defensive preparation? ​Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from this non-event in Central ​O​regon. Here are a few that come to mind:

1. Predicting an influx of visitors for a major once-in-a-lifetime event is a difficult task. However, the source of the estimates and the process used to derive the same need to be re-evaluated.

 

2. Central Oregon has a cultural history ​of succumbing to hysteria and speculation. This is particularly true for the estimated economic impacts…particularly perceived, prospective positive ones.

 

3. The fear factor that served to guide local governments to prepare defensively is understandable – and laudable. Public safety requires the same. However, this preparation could also have been infused with some creative, offensive, positive outreach to create a vastly more welcoming environment for visitors to our region.
Perhaps our local elected officials might pause and reconsider what we can lean from the Apoc-Eclipse of 2017, share those with the public, and become more measured, and even-keeled in their preparation for the next major event that will descend upon the region.

 

My fear is we won’t learn some of the important lessons the shadow of the 2017 Eclipse has left us with. Such is fear. My hope is we might embrace a learning opportunity here, that will benefit all concerned in the future. Such is hope – the antithesis of fear.

 

This writing was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Redmond Spokesman on Wednesday 9/30/2017 and the Bend Bulletin on Sunday September 3, 2017 (common ownership of the two newspapers)…

 

Bill Dahl
Redmond, Oregon

Solar Eclipse Images by Bill Dahl

The following are the images I captured of the total solar eclipse in Redmond, Oregon USA on Monday morning August 21, 2017;

These are VERY large files NOT intended to be viewed on a cell phone. They are copyrighted and ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please use a monitor, your HDTV or a tablet to view. You will appreciate them much more if you do so.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE BELOW to ENLARGE:


 

Redmond Athletic Club – Beulah’s Place Fund Raiser

The following are links to the photographs I captured at a fund raiser for Beulah’s Place at the Redmond Athletic Club in Redmond, Oregon – Saturday October 22, 2016.

CLICK on one of the two the LINK(s) below – then – click SLIDESHOW (FLICKR Photo Album – upper right corner) or click on the first image you see (Google Photo Album) then click the arrows to move to the next image. These images are VERY high quality and are NOT intended to be viewed on a mobile phone – use a computer monitor, your HDTV, Mac, iPad, notebook, or a laptop.

  1. Redmond Athletic Club Beulah’s Place Fund Raiser -October 22, 2016  – FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM 
  2. Redmond Athletic Club Beulah’s Place Fund Raiser -October 22, 2016  – Google PHOTO ALBUM

Bill Dahl is a commercial photographer residing in central Oregon. His photographs have over 2 Million Views on FLICKR and over 3 Million +1’s on Google. Photography Awards are too numerous to mention here – but see the Photography Awards tab at the top of the main page of this site to see a number of them.

ENJOY!

Central Oregon Sunsets

I have had the opportunity to capture some amazing sunsets in Central Oregon recently.


 

Terrebonne Oregon sunset
Terrebonne Oregon sunset

I have created two photo albums for these images:

CLICK on one of the two the LINK(s) below – then – click SLIDESHOW (FLICKR Photo Album – upper right corner) or click on the first image you see (Google Photo Album) then click the arrows to move to the next image. These images are VERY high quality and are NOT intended to be viewed on a mobile phone – use a computer monitor, your HDTV, Mac, iPad, notebook, or a laptop.

  1. Amazing Sunsets 2016  – FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM (Go to Pages 3-7 for the sunsets)
  2. Amazing Sunsets 2016 – Google PHOTO ALBUM

Bill Dahl is a commercial photographer residing in central Oregon. His photographs have over 2 Million Views on FLICKR and over 3 Million +1’s on Google. Photography Awards are too numerous to mention here – but see the Photography Awards tab at the top of the main page of this site to see a number of them.

ENJOY!!!