Editorial: More days go by as councilors debate funds for homeless | Opinion


Counseling. Job training. Housing assistance. Medical care. Those are all things homeless people need to lift them out of homelessness. There’s much more that could be done, if there was money to do it.

The city of Bend is teeing up a new tax to help provide more homeless services. It’s scheduled to discuss the tax on Wednesday.

Most of you would not pay it directly. It’s a construction excise tax. It would be like the city’s affordable housing fee of one-third of 1% of the valuation of building permits. Bend has had that tax since 2006. It brings in about $1.2 million a year. The city uses that money to help develop affordable housing.

The idea is the new tax would be a supplemental tax on top of the existing tax. A majority of councilors seem to be in support of an additional one-third of 1% on commercial and industrial properties. City staff estimated it might raise from $300,000 to just over $1 million a year. This tax does not require a citywide vote to pass. Councilors can implement it.

Bend hopes to be able to develop a temporary transitional camp at Juniper Ridge. It would need to have the money to pay an organization to run it. It hopes to help other housing projects for homeless succeed. It hopes to provide other services.

If this tax is not the answer, what is? How many more days will go by before the Bend City Council acts?


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