Your weekly(ish) update on business, law and politics from Bend, Oregon.
One quarter (!) of Bend residents are considered “rent-burdened,” which means they spend more than 50% of their income on housing. The city’s Affordable Housing Committee held a hearing this week about solutions for that problem. There is something like a consensus that additional supply is needed, at least in the abstract. The consensus crumbles when neighbors object to building in existing neighborhoods, which occurs regularly and increases the cost and time associated with developing more affordable housing in Bend.
Is there a (federal) constitutional right to a clean environment? That’s the claim being made by a group of 21 young people in Oregon. The answer is, no, there is no such constitutional right. It’s not to say that having a clean environment is not a good thing – it clearly is – it’s just not a right enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Sometimes people try to use the court system when they should use the political system.
Bend, along with many other parts of Oregon, went pretty hard left in the 2018 election. One reason why is places like Precinct 3, which encompasses much of the far western part of the city including Northwest Crossing. In 2014, the last midterm (non-presidential) general election, 1,048 registered Democrats cast ballots in Precinct 3, compared with 388 Republicans. In 2018, 1,691 Dems voted versus 567 Republicans. That’s 643 additional Democrat voters compared to only 179 additional Republican voters.
In the category of subjects we here at BBR find interesting but are not smart enough to really understand is space. (True story: I thought I was going to be an engineer until I took Intro to Calculus my freshman year at Willamette, so I really do know that I’m not smart enough). Anyway, NASA recently released actual sound recordings of the Martian wind recorded by NASA’s newest lander. Or so they say. It sounds a lot like Earth wind to me and this IS the agency that some very credible and intelligent people believe faked the moon landing . . .
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